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100 Days with Mr. Arrogant
  |     review    |     availability     |


DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
Cinema Service
2-Disc Set
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean subtitles
Various extras

AKA: Slave Love
AKA: My Love Ssagajy
Year: 2004
Director: Shin Dong-Yeop
Cast: Ha Ji-Won, Kim Jae-Won, Kim Tae-Hyun, Han Min, Yong Seon-Hee, Hong Ji-Young, Kim Chang-Wan, Lee Eung-Kyung
The Skinny: Everyone loves a good Korean romantic comedy. Unfortunately, this isn't one.
by Kozo:

     More overeager romantic comedy from the Korean cinema mill, 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant unfortunately does not match the magnificent heights of My Sassy Girl. Hell, it doesn't even measure up to the very reachable heights of My Tutor Friend. To be even more blunt, the film is poorly developed, cloying, and damn near interminable. Teenage girls might get a kick out of cute male lead Kim Jae-Won, but the hyperactive antics of female lead Ha Ji-Won could induce seizures in even those with healthy nervous systems. All-in-all, this is one "based on an Internet novel" Korean comedy that deserves a pass.
     Ha Ji-Won (Phone, Sex is Zero) is Ha-Young, a too-daffy high school senior who makes the egregious error of accidentally kicking a soda can while college student Hyung-Joon (Kim Jae-Won) is driving by in his Lexus. The can strikes him squarely in the noggin, drawing blood and causing him to slightly damage his expensive automobile. He's rightfully pissed, but Ha-Young is poor. Since he can't squeeze money from someone who has none, Hyung-Joon proffers a suspiciously sordid bargain.
     Ha-Young is required to be Hyung-Joon's slave for 100 days, a fate which looks worse than it actually is. Though Hyung-Joon is portrayed as a disgustingly arrogant hunk, his terrible tasks seem limited to cleaning his apartment and carrying his shopping bags. Otherwise, his version of indentured servitude is to pretend to be Ha-Young's tutor and to make her study for the college entrance exams. He also makes her go on an all-expenses paid vacation, and requires her to pal around with him as if they're a couple. Soon, that actually might be a reality, but not because of any intangible chemistry or winning emotions. No, ultimately it seems that Ha-Young and Hyung-Joon are destined for one another simply because the script requires it.
     Like both My Sassy Girl and My Tutor Friend, this film was based on an Internet novel, though that's not a reason for an instant thumbs up. The situations in 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant aren't developed enough to make the inevitable boy-girl pairing feel credible or even desired. Ha Ji-Won and Kim Jae-Won are certainly good-looking indivudals, but that's just not enough to overcome all the negatives that spring up. For one, neither character is really all that likable. Sure, they eventually do nice things for each other, but given the annoying personalities they first display, their transformation from petulant rivals to starry-eyed lovers doesn't seem to make sense.
    Even worse, both Ha-Young and Hyung-Joon are criminally annoying. Kim Jae-Won overacts when he's required to be arrogant, though he's decent when he's supposed to be hiding his emotions. Ha Ji-Won, on the other hand, threatens to destroy the universe with her horrid hyperactive histrionics. For some reason, Ha-Young is required to mug, screech, squeal or scream AT EVERY POSSIBLE MOMENT. Maybe this was writer-director Shin Dong-Yeop's way of making Ha-Young "sassy," but the sassiness doesn't mask anything hidden or heartfelt. Her wacky overacting just gives further support to the idea that Ha-Young deserves to be slapped, or least put on a strict no-sugar diet to stop her from acting like a complete loon.
     100 Days with Mr. Arrogant eventually gets incredibly syrupy, which is nothing new for a Korean romantic comedy. The film also dispenses some minor lessons in between all the hyper mugging and screwy antics. In an effort to touch the preteens who probably qualify as the core audience, the film tells us that sometimes you must hurt the ones you love simply to help them. Also, we should learn that things are not always what they seem, studying for college entrance exams is important, and potentially addictive romantic relationships should be left until after we've taken care of more practical matters. And by all means, don't go around kicking soda cans when somebody is driving by in an expensive Lexus. Or hell, maybe we should, because if we do it's a ticket to wacky, sassy romance with a good-looking Korean guy or girl. All the above and possibly more are gleamed by the time 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant reaches its merciful end. Here's another important lesson: not every Internet novel should be made into a movie. (Kozo 2004)

image courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen