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Original Title:
Dalkomhan Geojitmal

South Korea 2008

Comedy, Romance

Jeong Jeong-hwa

Park Jin-hee
Jo Han-seon
Lee Ki-woo
Kim Dong-wuk
Choi Eun-joo
Jo Jin-woong
Kim Hye-ji
Kim Seon-a
Kwon Tae-won

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Lost and Found

aka Sweet Lie

Story: Han Ji-ho (Park Jin-hee) is a script writer for television shows. After a nightly meeting involving too much alcohol and rambling about her High School idol Min-woo (Lee Ki-woo) of whom she still thinks after almost ten years, she has a really bad day. Because her TV-show has been dropped she gets fired, moreover, on her way home her handbag is stolen and to make things even worse she gets hit by a car. However, the car she jumped in front of proves to be no one else's but Min-woo's! In order to push herself into the life of this man she pretends to be suffering from amnesia, which leads to her being able to spend some days with the man of her dreams. Nevertheless, her neighbor and friend Dong-sik (Jo Han-seon) accidentally meets her and takes her back home. From that day on, Ji-ho and Min-woo meet more frequently, much to Dong-sik's regret, who can't believe that Ji-ho has actually lost her memory which is way he puts her memory to the test by claiming that he and she had been a couple before the accident. Ji-ho's web of lies is about to fall apart and furthermore she now has to choose one of the two men since Dong-sik's feelings for her seem to be for real...

Review: These days romantic comedies have nothing new to tell it seems. So why do not make a little bit fun of that fact? In "Lost and Found" the female protagonist therefore doesn't actually suffer from amnesia, but just pretends to do so. And this is also part of a not that well-crafted plan to finally win over her High School love after 10 years. She gets this idea by chance from two kids with whom she shares the same room at the hospital. Thus, she oftentimes has to improvise and take care that the truth doesn't get out of her mouth. There are already enough comedies that revolve around lying, e.g. "Too Beautiful too Lie" with Kim Ha-neul to name just one that comes to mind. Still, it's a welcome change that "Lost and Found" makes fun of its own plot at certain points and not necessarily in a subtle manner. Additionally, Park Jin-hee simply has the charisma to carry the movie almost solely on her shoulders.

I'm quite aware that I may have written one time too many that an actress enhances the quality of a movie and depicts the actual reason to watch a certain film, but it clearly and especially applies to Park Jin-hee. That is because she shows acting ability and profoundness the kind you don't get to see often in a romantic comedy. She may have already walked on similar paths in "Love in Magic", yet the dark costume thriller "Shadows in the Palace" went into a completely different direction and she managed to convince there, too. In "Lost and Found" she bestows more depth upon her character than the script gave her the chance to and she does so in a very natural way, because her character of the sassy, manipulative girl that likes to drink a glass too many easily could have run the risk of being stereotyped, yet she plays with this very fact and therefore wins over the viewers' heart with her very own kind of charisma.

Furthermore, first-time director Jeong Jeong-hwa deserves some praise for the fact that he focused on working in some good jokes instead of the love triangle the movie centers around, which makes this comedy an entertaining evening filler spreading good mood without making you have a guilty conscience about it. The movie never gets kitschy in the actual sense of the word, it also doesn't get tangled up in a script that suddenly goes for a drama ending towards the end, instead "Lost and Found" stays true to its original tone. This may mean that the comedy is only moving on very rare occasions, some of the relationships get a little bit too much trivialized, especially at the end, which gives the film a note of meaninglessness, but all in all it simply manages to entertain for two hours, even though a slightly more compact running time would have been great.

Sometimes you also have to wonder about the humor's nature in the movie, because at times it might consist of typical slapstick moments, which thankfully aren't embarrassing at all, yet there are some more unusual scenes, too. However, there is always something to laugh about. The love story between Jin-ho and Min-woo can't be convincing at any point, though. Maybe that wasn't even the film's intention and it was supposed to be showing Jin-ho's misty-eyed look on her beloved, because apart from his well-groomed appearance there is nothing more to like about Min-woo let alone any character traits. He is just too reserved, which is why the buddy-like Dong-sik seems to be the better alternative from the very beginning. There are no surprises here either, but the way Dong-sik introduces Jin-ho who allegedly suffers from amnesia to a new view of her past, is as amusing as is the extreme form of brotherly love of Jin-ho's brother Ji-hoon for Dong-sik. There are a good amount of side characters that make the film a lot more interesting, including Jin-ho's best friend.

"Lost and Found" also offers some offbeat dream sequences and a few scenes that confront you with some honest street wisdom when you least expect it. All this is quite appealing and manages to entertain all the way to the end. Director Jeong also makes fun of the medium TV at some points, whereas Jin-ho's employment gives him the opportunity to do so. Especially the well-working humor and Park Jin-hee's charismatic portrayal make it even the more frustrating that the script writer didn't come up with a better ending for the story. Then again, how is a story like this supposed to end, if you want to avoid letting someone fall pray to some kind of terminal disease for some odd reasons at the last minute as some directors love to do nowadays? Thus, it remains applaudable that the movie stays true to its lighthearted, easygoing mood, yet the ending somewhat seems too sudden. Despite all that, "Lost and Found" simply delivers good entertainment which almost woud have deserved a better rating.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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