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Original Title:
Doo Eolgooleui Yeochin

South Korea 2007

Comedy, Romance

Lee Seok-hoon

Bong Tae-gyu
Jeong Ryeo-won
Sin Eun-jeong
Lee Hye-eun
Kim Jeong-gook
Lee Soo-na
Jo Dal-hwan
Kim Jeong-gook
Ko Tae-ho
Im Hyeong-gook
Kim In-kwon
Kim Tae-hyeon
Kim Hye-ok

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Two Faces of my Girlfriend

Story: Gu-chang (Bong Tae-gyu) is a real loser. He already studies at an university for seven years, has never had a girlfriend before, but is still well-known for his big mouth. Gu-chang is a hopeless case, until he one day finds the wallet of sweet Anni (Jeong Ryeo-won). Anni is in deep mourning over her boyfriend who dumped her. For unknown reasons she starts to hold on to Gu-chang. Gu-chang himself can't believe that a girl as perfect as Anni wants to have anything to do with a guy like him. Unfortunately, Anni proves to be not as perfect as he thought, as she has another personality, that comes to the foreground every now and then. Hanni protects the girl Anni. She is wild, smokes and can easily knock out a whole group of thugs. Gu-chang also falls victim to Hanni's violent attacks on several occasions, but he already desperately fell in love with Anni, and therefore decides to stay at her side. However, there is something in Anni's past that she has hidden from him, and so the relationship between the two isn't under a lucky star, anymore...

Review: For several months already I more or less successfully avoided any Korean romantic comedy, which are still sprouting everywhere. But after a while I felt that it's time to watch one of those flicks again. Who knows, maybe the way movies like that are made changed, the story-telling became better and they can score with a little bit more inventiveness? One especially promising title was "Two Faces of my Girlfriend", as this romantic comedy has gotten quite some commendation from several self-proclaimed critics. However, the sad conclusion I come to is the following: There hasn't been any change in the genre. Comedies like this can still entertain you in a pleasant way, but you surely won't find anything special within them. Furthermore, this work orientates itself by the model of all Korean romantic comedies, namely "My Sassy Girl", even so strong that the parallels can't be ignored. Nonetheless, fans of the genre will be fine with that, as they will find anything they could ask for, here.

Right from the start "Two Faces of my Girlfriend" makes no secret of the fact that it solely aims at being trivial entertainment. Numerous animations give the film an extroverted and wacky exterior, which may not be so easy to digest for those who are new to the genre. Still, especially at the beginning the movie can win us over with a few good jokes. Sadly, the jokes vary strongly in their level of quality throught the rest, so that some of them can't even force out a mild laughter. Nevertheless, most of the time the comedy can win some ground back thanks to the charm of the two main protagonists.
In a common sense Anni isn't your typical "sassy girl", the kind we know it, since she is extremely cute, nice, and also a bit innocent. But always when things start to get ticklish her alter ego Hanni gets the upper hand. She is a manifestation of all the self-confidence in a woman which is a true nightmare for many men. And there we have her: the bold girl, that makes our main character's life a living hell on earth. What more could we ask for?

Apart from this small variation in terms of the plot around a multiple personality, there isn't much new. Gu-chang gets into trouble because of his girlfriend over and over again, since she thinks for example that it might not be such a bad idea to break into her ex-boyfriend's home, or to go on a swinging boat with a full stomach. There are also some nice spoofs on other genres, but all in all the film is held in a very lighthearted and carefree manner, for what the many visual effects and the director's toying with different ideas are proof of. Of course, this is only until the second part of the movie. From that time on the film becomes more serious in tone and delves into the past of Anni, which naturally is very tear-jerking. Why else would she have to split her peronality? These defense mechanisms create Hanni, who is a true super woman, and with whom Gu-chang, after getting his share of beating, engages into a buddy-like friendship. However, Gu-chang realizes that he doesn't really know the real Anni, but only some parts of her. For her to get healed from her suffering, Gu-chang must let her go, and this at a time when he just truely fell in love for the first time.

The drama that unfolds on the screen after that is only convincing to a insigniganct degree. It's too genre-typical and therefore isn't nearly as emotionally involving as it most likely was intended to be. Which could have become a serious problem for the movie, if it weren't for the two main actors, who luckily somehow manage to serve as some kind of thread that holds the movie together. However, one thing that needs to be pointed out is that the twist of the film underlines the parallels to "My Sassy Girl" even more, rendering the movie everything but original. It seems as if director Lee Seok-hoon ("See you after School") wanted to keep his movie as wacky as possible, without taking the risk to jeopardize his movie by implementing something inventive.
Nonetheless, most of the problems of "Two Faces of my Girlfriend" are compensated by the actors. Bong Tae-gyu ("When Romance Meets Destiny", "Family Ties") already has made a name for himself as a comedy actor thanks to his unique look, and is almost born for the role of the everlasting loser. He doesn't deliver a real acting achievement, but his solid performance, along with his unusual charm make him a likeable guy we can relate to.

Although the film is told from the perspective of Gu-chang, the true heart of "Two Faces of my Girlfriend" is Jeong Ryeo-won ("My Name is Kim Sam-soon") - former band member of the group "Chakra" - who faces the difficult task to play two characters. The script didn't really support her with well-elaborated roles, and thus her portrayals inevitably have to be a bit two-dimensional. Yet she still manages fabulously to leave no doubt with whom of her two characters we are dealing with at any moment, thanks to her facial expressions, the way she talks and her appearance. This isn't such an easy task, but Jeong handles it easily and also succeeds in bestowing a certain charm upon her character that gives her a special kind of amiability, without letting her fall into "My Sassy Girl" role models. The ending provides us with a Happy End, of course, but leaves us with a slightly mixed bag of emotions.
"Two Faces of my Girlfriend" is a well-produced and entertaining romantic comedy, yet can't come up with anything new either. And this even though the film can be more worthwhile at times than many other comedies. Yet, there is still lacking that special something that could have made this movie something outstanding. Nevertheless, fans of the genre don't need to think twice and can grab this one.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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