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Original Title:
Mabeobui seong

South Korea 2002

Comedy, Drama, Romance

Bang Seong-wook

Goo Bon-seung
Kim Ji-eun
Kim Jin
Lee Ju-hyeon
Lee Yun-seong
Park In-hwan

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Sex of Magic

Story: Seong-bin (Goo Bon-seung) is a pharmacist and going to marry his longtime girlfriend Ji-Hye (Kim Ji-eun). Unfortunately, shortly before the wedding their relationship seems to come to an end, because Seong-bin seems to be unable to sexually satisfy his girlfriend. After their break-up Seong-bin goes on a trip. With the help of his friend he searches for masters, who can teach him the real "Art of Sex", so that he can get his girlfriend back. Yet, all of these so called masters prove to be nothing more than charlatans. When Seong-bin already gave up in despair, he accidentaly makes the acquaintance of a real master...

Review: "Sex of Magic" isn't really a comedy. For this the movie takes itself way too serious... Or at least you would say so at first glance, yet this isn't true either. It's more like the humor is on a more subtle and reserved level than what we are used to see from Korean comedies. Nevertheless the humor is always omnipresent. It's as if the movie walks the path of a drama, but does so with a wink all of the time.

For a comedy that is about the topic sex, the film is surprisingly "gloomy". No candy-like and colorful teenie-world, but a cold ground color are characteristic for the movie's style. Unluckily, it's this style that prevents the movie from working the way it was supposed to. The different characters also feel too cold and nearly unreal.
Well, at least there are some nice camera shots and angles to be found throughout the movie.

The plot of the movie isn't anything to get excited about, but in its own way it's somewhat unique. The "secrets" that are revealed to us are maybe worth watching the flick (?). Not really. If you didn't knew it before then now you'll get to know that not only smoking but also the consumption of alcohol will decrease your potence. Apart from that there are also lots of other tips that are more or less interesting and are even brought into play with illustrative material! And one doesn't show few in "Sex of Magic". Main actress Kim Ji-eun can be seen naked quite often as it is with a lot of other good-looking women who found their way into the movie. The rational commentary of the sexual act itself can be quite funny and Seong-bin's 59-second limit can also deliver some nice laughs.

It's just sad, that the two main characters just seem too shallow. The two don't seem to have fun doing their stuff. While Goo Bon-seung has his moments at least a few times in which he can show something of his character, Kim Ji-eun has none of these moments. Her on-screen time is just too short and the viewer can't understand what Seong-bin likes about her, except of her good looks, naturally.
This is one of the movie's biggest flaws: The chemistry between the two main protagonists just isn't right. Even at the beginning we can figure out that in the end they will eventually be a couple again. Yet, we rather would have liked to see the relationship between Seong-bin and Ha Lim come into bloom.
At least there are some side characters that can make you laugh every now and then, even it is a rare case.

The master himself and Seong-bin's continuous begging to be taught by him, remind us of your typical Martial-Arts movie, as well as the strange training methods do, which are supposed to increase the potence. A little compliment to this genre, even though there is not a single fight involved.
In general, the scenes between Seong-bin and his master in his temple-house are the best of the movie.

"Sex of Magic" struggles with characters, with whom one hardly can sympathize and a relationship between the two main characters that just isn't there. The mixture of a drama, comedy and love story doesn't work out either and so at the end there is a half-cooked product, that leaves us behind unsatisfied and disappointed. The movie had potential to be more, but it fails in many aspects.
Even if you have to kill 2 hours you should really ask yourself if there isn't anything more meaningful to do for you than to watch this movie.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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