April 14, 2012

Seducing Mr. Perfect: A Love That's Perfectly Happy Being Hapa

If I were to tell you that Seducing Mr. Perfect is half in Korean, half in English, you'd naturally assume that half the scenes were spoken in one language, and the other half in the other. Perhaps the storyline takes place across two continents! But Seducing Mr. Perfect is a weirder movie than that. Throughout Kim Sang-woo's multicultural, bipolar rom-com, the dialogue bounces back and forth between the two main languages from one line to the next. How's that you ask (in English I assume)? Well, get a load of this cockamamie plot device:

Robin Heiden (Daniel Henney) is an American corporate exec who has come to Korea to orchestrate a takeover of a Japanese company. He speaks English but understands Korean. For Min-joon (Eom Jeong-hwa), his homegrown assistant who has issues with her career and love life, it's basically the reverse. As a way for both to improve their language comprehension, the two continue to speak their native tongues thereby improving their respective language comprehension. Clever? Not really. To be blunt, this is all just a way to allow American model-turned-actor Henney (who's somewhat ironically half Irish-American, half-Korean) to headline this pic without dubbing or playing a mute.

That's not the only strange thing about Seducing Mr. Perfect. This opposites attract love story also turns the Cyrano de Bergerac plot on its head. Instead of a homely guy advising a pretty boy on how to get the girl of her dreams, Seducing Mr. Perfect has the movie's great beauty giving Art of Seduction pointers to a romantically inept ingenue looking to reunite with her less-than-ideal ex-boyfriend (Bang . Along the way, Robin falls in love with her himself of course and what's not to love? She's cute as a button, determined, and emotionally vulnerable. Plus, she's played by Eom who's a pretty skilled comedic actress! The same can't be said for Henney who's range seems to be deadpan with shirt on and deadpan with shirt off.

He succumbs to her charms, she succumbs to his bare chest. Personally I found the arc of their courtship pretty satisfying in that I got to fall for a hopeless neurotic and a calculating cad at the same time. Together, they're my ideal! I'm now ready for a menage a trois con las hapas, per favore.

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