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Speedy Scandal - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Kwasok seukaendeul

South Korea 2008

Comedy, Drama

Kang Hyeong-cheol

Cha Tae-hyeon
Park Bo-yeong
Hwang Seok-hyeon
Lim Ji-gyoo
Hwang Woo-seul-hye
Lim Seung-dae
Jeong Won-joong

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Speedy Scandal

aka Scandal Makers; aka Speed Scandal

Story: Nam Hyeon-soo (Cha Tae-hyun) is a radio host and in his thirties. His show is very popular and one of his regular callers, Hwang Jeong-nam (Park Bo-young), is getting special interest from the listeners because of her story. She is a single mother and Hyeon-soo advises her to contact her father, who she finally managed to find. The radio host is flabbergasted when Jeong-nam eventually turns up at his doorstep. She tells him that he is her father and to make things worse also the grandfather of little Ki-Dong (Wang Seuk-hyun). For now Hyeon-soo has no other choice but to let the two live at his place. But he has to keep the whole affair a secret since there is already a reporter very interested in him who is just waiting for a good scandal to arise. When Hyeon-soo's radio show launches a talent contest and his daughter is involved too the situation becomes even more dangerous for him. Jeong-nam has good prospects in the contest and so it only seems to be a matter of time until her true relationship with Hyeon-soo is uncovered.

Review: There are movies you only need to read the story of to know that plausibility concerning the premise is everything but on hand. To give "Speedy Scandal" no chance because of that would be a mistake, though. After all, despite several, and sadly for Korean comedy genre typical, flaws the flick convinces more than anything else with its original humor and the amazingly likeable characters. Those who just want to watch a well done feel-good movie have just found their pick. You simply can't help but to have fun with "Speedy Scandal", and this despite the fact that there is a bit too much music implemented in the shape of numerous emotional ballads, which are at least introduced by the actors themselves within the movie.

Speedy Scandal - Film Screenshot 11

First, the most obvious problem needs to be pointed out. Cha Tae-hyeon ("Miracle of Giving Fool") may be in his thirties, but to chose him for this role of all people wasn't really smart in respect of the premise. That is because he looks like twenty-something and therefore we never see the radio host as the father of Jeong-nam. Rather, the two are in some way looking like equals. If you would accidentally zap into any scene of this comedy you would even have to assume, that the film centers around a love story between the two. But that's just where the movie's strength gains and defends some ground. Because "Speedy Scandal" isn't a romantic flick after all, despite certain parallels, and it thus spares us the genre-typical corny moments.

Speedy Scandal - Film Screenshot 12

Nonetheless, the main idea behind the movie remains pretty far-fetched. But you soon make the best of it and the first half works great as a comedy that has its focus on the way Hyeon-soo's life as a single is turned completely upside-down overnight with the moving in of his daughter and grandson. Being a former playboy the radio host now has to give up his freedom, but in the end the right chemistry within the family unfolds, even though it never really feels like a family. It's more like house sharing whereas the three slowly become friends. It's really difficult to constantly remind yourself that this is actually a family, even the more since Jeong-nam almost looks like a minor and therefore doesn't resemble a mother at all.

Hyeon-soo may be a radio host, yet it seems rather odd that the movie shifts that much music into the center of events. Since most of it consists of emotional ballads at least male audience will roll their eyes about this. After all it's not as bad as it may sound, though, and Cha Tae-hyeon can in fact sing (and play guitar) as does Park Bo-young. What's also not easy to understand is that from the second half onwards problems are created that actually aren't there, only to deliver some more drama and a sort of tension arc. This leads to "Speedy Scandal" straying off course and it just merely manages to get on the right track at the end. That's absolutely unnecessary because as a straight comedy the movie would have worked a lot better.

Speedy Scandal - Film Screenshot 13

Despite all the criticism the characters are sill incredibly likeable. With its colorful pictures and the fast pacing "Speedy Scandal" instantly wins over the viewer. The actors and the elaboration of the characters are the most important aspect in such movies. Luckily, everything is just fine in that respect, so that the entertainment value of this comedy makes it easy to overlook the flaws. Still, this wouldn't have been enough if it weren't for some simply fantastically written funny scenes that just hit the mark. "Speedy Scandal" is thus a well-done comedy by first-time director Kang Hyeong-cheol who also managed to continue his success in the genre with his following "Sunny".

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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