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Original Title:
Geunyeoreul midji maseyo

South Korea 2004

Comedy, Romance

Bae Hyeong-jun

Kim Ha-Neul
Kang Dong-won
Kim Ah-rong
Lee Yeong-eun
Myeong Ji-Yeon
Nam Sang-mi
Song Jae-ho
Kim Ji-yeong

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Too Beautiful To Lie

aka Don't believe her

Story: Ju Yeong-ju (Kim Ha-Neul) has just been released out of prison on probation, where she did spent some time because of fraud. On her way to her sister's wedding she meets Choi Hee-chul (Kang Dong-won) in a train, who is robbed of his ring he wanted to give his fiancee by a pickpocket. Since Yeong-ju is the only one who saw the theft she steals the ring back, because she doesn't want to be accused being the culprit while being on probation. Unfortunately, the train departs before she can give back Choi his ring and her handbag is also still on board.
With the few clues she has, she makes her way to the place where Choi's family lives. She in fact manages to give the ring back, but because of some unfortunate circumstances and coincidences she is confused by the family with Hee-chul's fiancee. When Choi returns to his home and Ju-Yeong-ju's habit of lying kicks in again, there are more and more misunderstandings and wacky situations. Because now Choi is confronted with a family of his that hates him for impregnating their daughter in law Ju Yeong-ju and forcing her to abort the child...

Review: "Too Beautiful To Lie" is an enjoyable, elaborate comedy, that leaves no doubt of being written all around actress Kim Ha-Neul ("My Tutor Friend"). She in fact manages to do her part with seemingly no effort and puts on a good show. Her numerous face grimaces and gestures are impressive and fit perfectly in this comedy. Besides, she succeeds in the difficult task to play certain emotions the way you can believe them, but at the same time letting you know that she is just cheating. Apart from that she is also capable of conveying emotions absolutely credible, if a serious scene demands it from her.
Her skills aside, there are also some other actors, who aren't that untalented. Especially Kang Dong-won gives a nice performance, which gives us the chance to suffer along with him every time he gets beaten up by his family or friends, because of Yeong-ju's lies.

For a Korean comedy the story is exceptionally good and full of twists, which will charm the viewer until the end. Well thought-out entanglements and cooked up storys of the main protagonist deliver some pretty good jokes, which in terms of quality are above a lot of what we get to see out of Korea nowadays. This is mainly thanks to the director and his good eye for details, as well as the loveable characters. To see Ju Yeong-ju how she turns the life of a whole family upside down, while never getting entangled in her own lies, is as entertaining as the suburban town itself, in which everyone seems to be related in some way or another with anyone, and in which gossip spreads like wild fire.

Despite the many subtleties, which make the movie worth seeing, it is build according to a well-known formula. After the first minutes it is clear that Choi Hee-chul will turn against his material girlfriend and for Ju Yeong-ju (how else could it turn out?) and this isn't the only thing that's predictable. The "Pepper Boy" Contest is another example that shows us how clearly we already know in advance who is going to be the winner and how things are going to resolve in the end. Moreover the contest provides us with a pretty cheesy singing scene, which degrades the movie's effort a lot.

Naturally, the lies and storys will be resolved at the end but the family won't hate Ju Yeong-ju, because of her good natured heart. Nevertheless, the path to this classic ending is paved with surprises for the viewer and the most important: The gags aren't predictable. And that's what a good comedy should be like.

Ju's cooked up storys create some funny moments und give the movie its happy-cheerful atmosphere. If one would have done without the cliched love story and maybe had constructed it a little bit more unpredictable, "Too Beautiful To Lie" could have had what it takes to become a blockbuster. The way it is, the movie is "just" one of the better comedys out of Korea, that is being quite recommendable.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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