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Original Title:
Annyeong UFO

South Korea 2004

Romance, Drama, Comedy

Kim Jin-min

Lee Eun-ju
Lee Beom-su
Pong Tae-gyu
Byeon Hie-bong
Jeon Jae-hyeong
Seon Ji-hyun
Kim Eung-su
Jeong In-seon

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Au Revoir, UFO

Story: Kyeong-woo (Lee Eun-ju) is blind and her boyfriend has just broken up with her. She moves to a little town, where she wants to sort out her life. She then meets the bus driver Sang-hyeon (Lee Beom-su), who henceforth drives her home every day. Sang-hyeon is a nice guy, who's sharing a room with his younger brother and who likes moderating and taping radio shows, which he then plays in his bus. Just by accident, he meets Kyeong-woo in the city and the two end up in a conversation, in which Kyeong-woo makes fun of the radio shows in the bus and as she doesn't know that her new acquaintance actually is the bus driver and thus the "radio host", Sang-hyeon introduces himself as Pyung-gu. "Pyung-gu" shows her the city and the two become friends.
Sang-hyeon begins to develop some kind of feelings for his new friend but doesn't have the courage to tell her so. In addition he seems to be caught in his own trap of lies. But what does Kyeong-woo think about him and is she finally over her last boy friend?

Review: :"Au Revoir, UFO" partly tries to be different from the competition, which is emphasized by the UFO sub-plot. But actually the movie turns out to be an extremely typical product of its genre, which only deserves a "below average"-rating. Because basically, this romance-comedy is neither exceptionally funny, nor extraordinarily interesting - it's just nice. Even though potentially qualified to entertain you if it's one of these days where you don't know what to do, at the latest when the credits roll over the screen you will definitely have to ask yourself why you actually did kill your time with this insignificant movie. There are considerably better works of this genre, and they are definitely not hard to find. South Korea literally bombs us with those kind of movies. "Au Revoir, UFO" for one thing, is just below average, if at all.

The scriptwriters are anything but original. In one corner we have a blind woman, who has to get over her last boyfriend and in the other we have a bus driver, who seems to be a loser, but still holds on to his dream of being a radio host and who's basically a pretty nice guy. Of course, we also get some tall stories, which our poor blind girl can't "see" through immediately and there we go, an insignificant Romance-Comedy is born, which doesn't even have the creativeness to deliver some well working jokes. But worst of all, you never really feel touched by the actions on screen. The movie just passes by and even if you're not getting bored, it's not very much of an entertainment ride either. Especially during the scenes, which are supposed to be more sentimental, we realize that we just don't sympathize with the actors. The distance between the viewer and the protagonists is just too big, which ultimately leads to a pretty frustrating experience.

Apparently the actors seem to be rather unchallenged, too. Lee Beom-su has already shown us a better performance in "The City of Violence" and Lee Eun-ju is beyond any doubt, anyway. Her performance in "The Scarlet Letter", which was published in the same year as this one (and which was also her last movie) speaks for itself and therefore you just can't deny the fact, that she's just not challenged in this movie. Her character is far too stereotypical and shallow. If she didn't had to portray a blind girl, she wouldn't have had anything to do, at all.
Furthermore, the love story just doesn't seem to go near us. Sure, there are some nice scenes, but the movie's quality just drowns in its simple "niceness".

Of course there are also some dramatic moments later on, but they seem far too strained and you can see them coming from the very beginning. Most of it, we've already seen so many times and at some point it just gets boring, here. Anyone, who's not so familiar with Korean Romance-Comedy genre, may as well have a lot of fun, but in the end this flick is simply too dull. This dullness even affects the jokes. Even if some of those situational funny scenes may work from time to time, the majority just doesn't; or at least not as good as they're supposed to. The only highlight may be Bong Tae-gyu ("When Romance meets Destiny") appearing as Sang-gyu's brother. Along with Beom-su he's producing at least some rather amusing scenes.

To conclude, "Au Revoir, UFO" stays an insignificant movie with one-dimensional characters. The sleepy little town in which everybody seems to know everyone may be supposed to arise some kind of familiarity with time, but it works as bad as the effort to amuse or even touch us with Beom-su's taped radio shows.
Moreover, you really shouldn't ask how those UFOs are involved or what they are supposed to mean. For they mean nothing; still, this didn't prevent the filmmakers from adding some badly animated glittery flying saucers. But it gets even worse, when everything gets more and more tacky at the end of the movie, leading the viewer to constantly groan. Fortunately, we're already so indifferent at this point that we don't seem to care, anymore.
Storywise, there is nothing that would require our attention. In fact, you even have to ask yourself, what the redundant brief return of Kyeong-woo's ex-boyfriend is supposed to mean. Everything's just put together quite randomly and isn't even supposed to fulfill any other purpose than to provide softhearted entertainment.

"Au Revoir, UFO" is banal and towards the end it gets inexcusably tacky. The audience never really gets touched by the movie and the love story in general is predictable and corny. Even some UFOs can't change that. After all, the movie's happy-lighthearted and sometimes even dramatic mood makes sure that we aren't tempted to switch off. And we get at least a little bit of entertainment out of it. But maybe that's just because of Lee Eun-ju... Nevertheless, this is surely not a movie you shouldn't miss.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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