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South Korea 2002


Cho Sin Jung

Noh Kyung-wook
Kim Seon-ah
Lee Beom-su
Ahn Jae-hong
Jeong Dae-Hoon
Jeon Jae-hyeong
Kong Hyeong-jin
Ki-yeon Kim

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Wet Dreams

Story: In 1988 Dong-Hyun (Noh Kyung-wook), Sang-Min, Young-Jae and Hoon Park are the best friends at school. Together they have to try to overcome their puberty, which isn't that easy since they can only think of one thing, due to their hormone-chaos. Searching for their first sexual experiences they have to endure quite some downfalls. When good-looking Kim Yoo-ri (Kim Seon-ah), a prospective teacher, starts to work at school the four boys are done for.
Soon the first bets are made. Who will make it first to touch her hand, and after that who can find out the colour of her underwear?
Kim Yoo-ri on the other side only has eyes for the teacher of the four boys, Gong (Lee Beom-su). He was once a teacher of her and rejected her because of this. However, Dong-hyun has hopelessly fallen in love with Yoo-ri. Yet, he lacks the courage to tell her his feelings...

Review: "Wet Dreams" is the Korean version of "American Pie" and after the soon followed "Sex is Zero" it did even bring along a sequel. Do we really need another senseless comedy which jokes go right below the belt? The answer is a clear no, except you do like the kind of humor. Luckily, after the first half "Wet Dreams" manages to get something nearly similar to depth. Of course, it's the sort of "depth", that you can expect of a comedy about pubescent teenies maximally. Yet, at least that's more than what the american originals deliver.

Those who aren't bothered by hearing that there is no way of not "decompressing" 7 times a day, or who doesn't find it to feeble-minded too see female sexual organs represented by dumplings or similar stuff, will have a jolly time. The humor generally is to search at the floor, but at least not in the cellar. Although some jokes are really going deep below the belt. Well, after all this is the world of four pubescent boys, who like to see under the skirt of a young teacher or who will take instant noodles instead of American Pies. A cheerful mood and absolutely stupid humor is offered along the whole movie, but fortunately that's not all.

What makes "Wet Dreams" viewable is Noh Kyung-wook's portrayel of Dong-hyun. At the beginning, he is a shallow, but amusing stereotype as the rest of the boys. But in the course of the movie his character undergoes some development and he becomes an interesting person. He slowly begins to become an adult, and this credibly portrayed process, that is sped up by the feelings of first love, is entertaining to watch. His decision at the end is proof of his new found matureness and let's him enter a new chapter of his life.
Also convincing is Kim Seon-ah's performance. Even though her character isn't sharply drawn she manages to win the viewer's sympathies not only because of her looks. Her love story with Gong is nice to watch and Lee Beom-su does a solid job as the kindhearted, yet shy teacher.

While the movie holds onto his primitive, nevertheless working humor for most viewers, it gets more and more melodramatic towards the end. The triangle relationshop of Dong-hyun loving Yoo-ri, who doesn't know that, but instead still loves Gong, who himself is forced by his own inner moral rules, not to start anything with a former pupil of his, gives enough material for disappointment, lovesickness and despair. So, "Wet Dreams" is also capable of striking sour notes, doing this quite convincingly, too. At the same time, it maintains its style and delivers some cheesy, but nevertheless working romantic scenes.

The directing is solid, the movie fast-paced, the gags are predictable, yet entertaining and so you won't be bored at all. The ending is quite satisfying for a movie of this kind. Even if, after all the seriousness, the movie doesn't do it without giving us a glance into our present, presenting some sort of role reversal for some last laughter.
By the way, it's not clear why the movie does take place in 1988. It wouldn't have made much of a difference to transpose it into the present, except that some of the 80s songs might have seemed out of place. I'm not quite familiar with the way of life in Korea's 80s, but it surely could have been brought to screen better than here.

"Wet Dreams" is an amusing teeny comedy, whit lots of primitive humor, but at the same time it also has some good working dramatic moments. Especially, Dong-hyun's way to becoming an adult is nice to watch and gives the movie a little bit more depth. Certainly no milestone of the genre, but entertaining and at least better than what the title did let us expect. However, on the other hand the humor was most of the time really stupid and didn't catch me at all, which sadly depreciates the movie...

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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