Though It Drags a Bit, This Film Appeals

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Though It Drags a Bit, This Film Appeals

In the recently released film "I Wish I Had a Wife, Too," directed by Park Heung-sik, there is a scene with a man practicing a magic trick. He tears a newspaper into many pieces, dexterously plays with the torn strips, and then, voila, the newspaper reappears in one piece. No, this man is not the next David Copperfield. He is just the mediocre Kim Bong-soo, perfecting the magic trick he wants to entertain his future wife with.

Kim Bong-soo (Seol Kyung-gu) is your average kind of accountant,
punctual and meticulous. Single, he is lonely and longs to tie the knot.

Then there is Won-ju (Jeon Do-youn), a private tutor whose routine is as bland as her identity. She, too, is not married despite her overly eligible age. Won-ju is in love with Bong-soo. But Bong-soo is infatuated with Tae-ran (Jin Hee-kyoung), his college sweetheart who is now a divorcee. Bong-soo ignores Won-ju at first, but when Tae-ran suddenly leaves him, he finally opens his eyes to her. Bong-soo comes to realize that his precious chance at love has been right next to him all along. He asks Won-ju out, cue the romantic sweeping music, and you can figure out what happens next.

By following the lives of these ordinary, run-of-the-mill characters, "I Wish I Had a Wife, Too" reveals the beauty found in common, every-day life. Absent in the film are gaudy special effects or over-the-top scenarios. Instead, the film tries to mirror the routines that everyone can relate to, and so has won many moviegoers' sympathy and praise. "I felt as if I were the main character in the film. It was really enjoyable," said Sohn Ju-yeon, a moviegoer.

But a flaw in the film's ordinary storytelling is that there are too many extraordinary coincidences. For example, after Won-ju and Bong-soo have their first casual encounter, the camera zeroes in on Won-ju's school and Bong-soo's bank, which are close to each other. It is understandable if this initial coincidence is intended to make the story progress. But then the audience has to watch Won-ju and Bong-soo bump into each other in the elevator, on the bus, in front of the building, and so on. Such encounters are so numerous that there is more than a tinge of artificiality to it.

The film also unfolds rather monotonously. "Though the premise
was very appealing, the progression of the story was kind of dull," said Ms. Sohn. Why does the audience have to see Won-ju and Bong-soo waiting for a bus for over four minutes? The film-maker may say that the scene is necessary to show Won-ju and Bong-soo opening their hearts up to each other, but maybe he should not have been that generous with our time.

If you have enough patience to overlook these problems, the movie is
worth watching. The scenes between Jeon Do-youn and Seol Kyung-gu reveal a perfect harmony to their acting. Ms. Jeon is a skilled actress who downplays her appearance, making her character's ordinariness believ-able. After watching this film, daily routines don't seem so trivial anymore, and you realize that a seemingly humdrum life can actually be filled with abundant meanings. "I Wish I Had a Wife, Too" will persuade you to look around and find that special someone you have been searching for all your life, just a mere 200 meters away from you.

by Chun Su-jin

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