August 29, 2009

Spring Bears Love: Why Do All the Mean Girls Get the Cute Guys?

Chalk up Yong Yi's romantic comedy Spring Bears Love as one of those exasperating no-good-ers in which an incredibly likable character courts a thoroughly detestable one. In the first column is Dong-ha (Kam Nam-jin). He's cute, goofy, devoted, upbeat, caring, and has a job! (He works as a train engineer.) In the second column is Hyun-jae (Bae Du-na) who's less cute, klutzy, morose, self-absorbed, and has a job a step down from his. (She's a checkout clerk at a supermarket.) So what's stopping Dong-ha from getting together with Hyun-jae? Well, she's improbably mooning over some unseen guy who's anonymously scribbling love notes in the library's coffee table books on Goya, Renoir and Caillebotte. It seems unlikely that this phantom scribbler is writing to her to be blunt but she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and neither is Dong-ha. Because of that, there's a certain logic in the two dumbies reconciling themselves to each other at the end but what's illogical is why you'd want to follow this drawn out tale to its happy conclusion and you're bored response. A side story about Hyun-jae's kooky, hospitalized dad (Oh Kwang-rok) and the deaf-mute woman (Lee Hyeon-Kyeong) on whom he's developed a crush is the closest you'll come to escape.

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