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Original Title:
Yonguijudo Miss Shin

South Korea 2007

Comedy, Romance

Park Yong-jib

Han Ye-seul
Lee Jong-hyeok
Kwon Oh-jung
Kim In-kwon
Son Ho-young
Jeong Da-yeong
Jeong Gyu-su
Kang Rae-yeon
Oh Seo-won
Jeon Ho-jin
Yun Ju-sang
Lim Ye-jin

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Miss Gold Digger

Story: Mi-su (Han Ye-seul) is a material girl, who accurately planned her future. She works at an advertising agency and is quite successful. However, she still hasn't found the rich man of her dreams who pampers her with luxury. Moreover, he has to be good-looking and he has got to have style. Mi-su doesn't find that man, naturally, but at least some candidates that possess a few of the attributes she desires in a man. There is rich Jun-seo (Kwon Oh-jung), for whom she plays a shy, angel-like young girl, Yun-cheol (Kim In-kwon), who has to pass his bar exam if he wants to continue dating her, as well as the rapper Hyeon-ju (Son Ho-young) who she all shapes according to her will. The only problem is her neighbor Dong-min (Lee Jong-hyeok) with whom she clashes on every occasion, so that she plays one or two pranks on him in order the take revenge. Unfortunately, it turns out that Dong-min is working for a famous cell phone company that is interested in an advertising campaign. Mi-su's behavior, though, could be a reason why her company won't get the assignment. At the same time Mi-su also has to decide which man the right one is for her. Maybe it's even Dong-min?

Review: "Miss Gold Digger" is one of many romantic comedies, that simply lack the originality of the works in the past. Still, there is one good reason to prefer this movie over similar works and that is Han Ye-seul. The Korean actress born in California could win over a wide audience (meaning not just the male audience) in the series "Fantastic Couple", which is why it couldn't take long for a romantic comedy with her as the leading force to go into production. It's just sad that it's not a more carefully planned comedy with more inspiring ideas, because as it is the movie is simply a playground for the young actress on which she can display some of her skills and charisma. And this even though her character is quite the ambivalent one, the audience getting confronted with her calculating nature over and over again, who likes to pull the strings. There could have been made interesting stuff out of this, but the producers didn't seem to find it necessary to focus on the more cynical and therefore more fascinating aspect of the movie, instead they concentrated on well-tried formulas of the genre.

This unoriginality leads to some scenes that may be funny, yet, are all too familiar to us and therefore can solely evoke a smile at best. Han Ye-seul's outstanding charisma and gesture can't change that fact either. Somehow the movie lacks some true punch lines and so "Miss Gold Digger" simply remains a comedy that may radiate a cheerful mood, but never achieves to make us laugh out loud. Sure, Ye-seul has a certain spiteful way of playing around with men that makes the viewer develop feelings of love/hate towards her, but even if the film implies at the end that after all she might be a loveable woman deep down in her heart, she still remains a dubious character concerning her morality, something filmmakers could have drawn out from a lot more. Han Ye-seul also shows that she might have the acting potential to pull off such a role and that she isn't just your typical drop-dead gorgeous eye-candy, yet, the script doesn't provide her character with the suitable depth.

Nonetheless, there have to go out some kudos for Mi-su's character not being that standard cliché type of a bold "My Sassy Girl". The men in the film are a different story, though. They all match different stereotypes of certain kinds of men, which is not troublesome, however, because this is exactly what their task is in the movie. Still, some things remain questionable. For example: Mi-su is putting poor Yun-cheol under pressure to pass his bar exam, otherwise she would dump him, therefore it seems that he isn't really meaning much to her, just another rough diamond waiting to be cut after her predilection. But when she sees him dating with another woman, she is completely frantic. Why? Mi-su is so calculating, that we can't believe her such sudden bursts of emotions. Only within the frames of the at first rather hackneyed relationship between her and her neighbor Dong-min things look different. Here, something genuine seems to be in the get-go, even if we can just vaguely make it out at the horizon.

That is because "Miss Gold Digger" doesn't take the easy route at the end by letting everything go down in a big trivial finale, but instead the resolving even looks almost mature. Sadly, it's just "almost", because in the very last frames the film suddenly takes a turn into trivial realms, nonetheless. Even if you could criticize that it becomes unforeseenly serious in tone, which also leads to the pacing dropping a bit, something that you might not approve to happen in a comedy, I consider this one of the strengths of the movie. Therefore, it's even more unfortunate that filmmakers couldn't keep up that tone until the very end.
Just on a side note, and despite the fact that this small detail will elude most westerners anyway, it has to be stressed that the cell phone advertising in the movie can be quite annoying at times. If you have already been in Korea you will have to ask yourself if so obtrusive advertising in a movie is really necessary, considering the fact that every other store in Korea is a cell phone shop anyway...

No matter how trivial "Miss Gold Digger" might be in the end, we get some entertaining scenes every now and then. We dive into the fantasy world of Mi-su and are presented with the pictures emerging in her world of ideas. Sometimes that's pretty funny, at others it might be embarrassing, so that you will find yourself groaning. Still, in the end you have to ask yourself what you expect of such a movie. Light-hearted entertainment, sold by a charismatic actress that can win over your heart. Yes, if that's what "Miss Gold Digger" aims for then it achieves its goal. Nevertheless, the movie lacks something genuine, so that it becomes rather difficult to rate it. Just mediocre. Interesting for Han Ye-seul fans or those who want to become such.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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