December 22, 2013

Finding Mr. Destiny: She Left Her Heart in Rajasthan

Must I eschew all stereotypes and accept that travel-agent-turned-matchmaker Han Gi-joon (Gong Yoo) is straight even though he plays with a fairy wand in his office, has a fabulous collection of cardigan sweaters, and hasn't dated any women his entire adult life? Must I dig a bit deeper to comprehend his attraction to Seo Ji-woo (Lim Su-jeong), a thankless stage manager who doesn't own a hair brush or an iron and who daydreams all the time about one chance romance ten years ago with a Korean guy in India? Worst of all, must I once again watch as the talented Jeon Soo-kyeong is relegated to a bit part, despite her kick-ass comic chops and Broadway belt of a voice? Well, if I'm streaming Finding Mr. Destiny, then yes, I really do.

Director Chang You-jeong's romantic comedy asks you to make an endless list of concessions outside of this too, probably the most difficult being that the flashbacks to India, involving Ji-woo and Gi-joon's doppelganger, actually have the makings of a pretty sweet little movie. Set in Blue City (better known as Jodhpur), these segments have a real freshness, in part because it's so rare to see a Korean flick with mainly non-Koreans as well as one set outside the mother country. You can easily imagine warming up to the slow-burn between Gi-joon's double and Ji-woo's younger self as they fall in love amid a swirl of colorful saris or under an ornate archway or across a plateful of steaming Pyaaz Ki Kachoris. If Finding Mr. Destiny were about these two summer lovers who Fate split apart then paired up again, I'd probably end up with a case of the warm fuzzies. You'll have to take a few tokes on a hookah to see that movie play out. This one is more about a child singer whose career took a nosedive when she grew up so she tabled her dreams and took a job backstage and is now about to settle for the cute guy who's been pursuing her. In the sequel, I imagine she'll eventually find her husband in bed with her single dad (Chun Ho-jin). I'm more than happy to help write that screenplay.

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