August 1, 2016

Miss Granny: Oh to Be Young (and Hilarious) Again!

There's something irresistibly sweet about movies such as Big and 13 Going on 30, movies where the main character is a child transported into the body of an adult, from where they look at the world through the most innocent eyes. Even so, for me, I prefer the somewhat jaded age-swapping comedies which go in the other direction, movies like Peggy Sue Got Married and Miss Granny, movies with lead characters who wake up to find that they're young again (at least physically) while burdened with the wisdom of age. Because the wisdom that comes with age really is laughable, isn't it? What do we learn? How little we actually know? The lessons of time may ensure that we don't make certain mistakes again but it won't save us from all of our erroneous ways. We're never free of our shortcomings, even when we're given a chance to do it all again. Contrary to popular belief, hindsight isn't always 20/20 after all.

Hwang Dong-hyuk's Miss Granny is funnier than Francis Ford Coppola's heartbreakingly nostalgic Peggy Sue however. For in Peggy Sue, the leading lady (Kathleen Turner) is caught in an emotionally raw flashback whereas in Miss Granny our heroine is a much older woman (Na Mun-hee) who while likewise gifted with the body of her teenage self (Shim Eun-kyung) is experiencing her transformation in current times. Literally born again, she pursues her long-abandoned dream of being a singer even as she works to help realize the dreams of her grandson (Jung Jin-yeong), a guitarist in a failed heavy metal band. Should she start a new life or mend the problems embedded in the one she escaped? It's not an easy choice. As for Shim, she's a revelation — her comic impersonation of a grandmother is physically and vocally astute whether she's reveling in neo "Audrey Hepburn" fashions or scolding a fellow bus passenger for having water-y milk in her breasts. But Shim isn't just a comic wonder, she can also sing like an angel. Her rendition of songs like "Raindrop" and "White Butterfly" especially make you think that Shim has an alternate career as a chanteuse if she ever tires of being an actress.

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