November 6, 2014

Saving My Hubby: See Jane Run, See Dick Drink, See Me Yawn

In my self-deceiving imagination, I honestly believe that before the digital age the only foreign movies that made it to the USA were the really good ones. A bad or even a mediocre movie from Europe, Asia or South America would never be exported because it wasn't cost efficient. Maybe a so-so movie by a famous director would occasionally sneak through but generally speaking if you stuck with foreign pics, your chances of seeing something worthwhile were greater. Not so anymore. Those days are unquestionably over.

Now when movies can travel (and even get translated) online, the ratio of good to bad is the same whether a film is homegrown or imported. Every country produces its proportionate fair share of junk and even South Korea, my favored nation for cinema, cranks out a fair bit of total crap. That's how I end up watching a poop of a movie like Hyeon Nam-seob's Saving My Hubby. Without the natural attrition caused by economics and with only a handful of directors' names to inform me, I'm taking pot shots at what to watch. Why I feel compelled to suffer through whole thing with movies like Saving My Hubby, I'm not sure. Call it optimistic masochism?

Bae Doo-na, who plays the hapless wife -- and former volleyball star -- running around the red light district in search of her husband, has been so much better so many times before: The Host, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Barking Dogs Never Bite... So has Kim Tae-woo,the actor who's portraying her drunken, on-screen spouse and who's helmed a number of Hong Sang-soo pics. Under Hyeon Nam-seob's direction, together their now completely charmless, and despite all the slapstick involving massive alcohol consumption and an overextended chase scene, exhaustingly unfunny.

It took me days to get through this one, days I'll never get back, and yes, I'm pretty annoyed about it. But it took irretrievable months of time from the lives of Bae and Kim and I can only assume that they're pretty annoyed about it too.

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