March 3, 2017

Queen of the Night: She's the Better Half

By the time you're 35, you know that any potential romantic partners are going to come with a luggage-rack's worth of emotional baggage so the question is simply: Are you willing to deal? When you're young, perhaps expectations of someone only bringing a psychic murse or a traumatic clutch to the romance are rational. But even then, should someone as sweet, cute, caring, resourceful, and loving as Hee-jo (Kim Min-jung) step into your life, do yourself a favor. Cut them major slack and make room for a whole travel cart of Samsonite. Catches like this won't come around again. So she's had her wild days clubbing. So she grew up in Southern California. So she knows how to throw a punch. Do you honestly think that none of those things might come in handy at some point in the future? Trust me when I say that no one, and I mean no one, is going to be able to win you that kimchi refrigerator at the reunion by executing a dance routine on the runway like she can.

Ah well. Boys will be boys. And the boy in this case, Young-soo (Cheon Jeong-myeong) insists on learning the hard way how valuable his soul mate is. Until then, he's going to get self-righteous when he learns she wasn't a virgin when they met, that she hung out with the tough crowd and that she even has a police record. He also forgets that he could barely make it through an online date before his soon-to-be-wife came along. Short memories cause long stretches of pain. As does a nerdy best friend like Jong-bae (Kim Gi-bang) who evinces a streak of misogyny likely caused by his undesirability to most women. Sometimes the satirical aspects of the Queen of the Night click (the scenes with the fertility doctor played by Kim Jung-tae, especially so). Sometimes, the comedy founders (the bits with the key repairman played by Park Jin-young). But the biggest flaw is actually a surprising one: Kim Min-jung is a lousy dancer. Note to writer-director Kim Je-yeong: Next time, you should hire a double.

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