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Saving My Hubby
  |     review    |     availability     |

Backpacking with Bae Doo-Na


DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
enterOne DVD
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean Subtitles
Various extras, trailers, TV spots

Year: 2002
Director: Hyun Nam-Seob
Cast: Bae Doo-Na, Kim Tae-Woo, Joo Hyun
The Skinny: Quirky Korean comedy takes a bit to get going, but rounds into a winning piece of cinematic fluff. Lead actress Bae Doo-Na holds the screen well.
by Kozo:
     Nothing earth-shattering occurs in Saving My Hubby, a quirky Korean comedy starring rising actress Bae Doo-Na (Take Care of My Cat). The film touches on a number of popular genres (the gangster comedy in particular), but will likely be forgotten years before many of Korea's recent critically-lauded pictures. Still, to the film's credit, Saving My Hubby doesn't try to be anything more than entertaining cinematic fluff, and it succeeds handily at that.
     Bae is Geum-Soon, a former star volleyball player whose career was hobbled by a shoulder injury. An unplanned pregnancy led to a quick marriage to Han Joon-Tae (Kim Tae-Woo), and the two newlyweds seem to have a tough time adjusting to the quirks of married life with children. The two hit a rough patch when Joon-Tae goes drinking after his first day at work. Sadly, he falls victim to a nightlife scam: a seedy karaoke bar named Vivre sa Vie picks him up, drugs him, and then claims he owes a bucket of money for drinks and services.
    Since he's without the requisite cash, the bastards call in Geum-Soon to deliver the dough. Strapping her baby to her back, she enters Seoul's neon-lit nightlife in search of her husband, and succeeds in meeting all sort of strange characters and quirky circumstances. Some characters are kind-hearted and help her, while others (the requisite gang types) chase her down at every opportunity.
    Geum-Soon's search for her husband ultimately becomes a metaphor for her own stuggle to adjust to marital life (her in-laws happen to be arriving at 5:00 am the next morning), but it's likely that subtext will fly over the heads of many a viewer. What pushes Saving My Hubby is not thematic intensity or narrative surprises, it's the film's engaging feel, and lead actress Bae Doo-Na's winning performance. Geum-Soon can be shrill, whiny and sometimes a little hot-tempered, but she comes off as a suitably real human being, which either helps or hurts her cause. She may not always act likably, but it's hard not to sympathize with her.
     Not that this is really award-winning stuff. Saving My Hubby is resolutely throwaway and far-fetched, and the twists and turns of the plot are more silly than anything else. Still, the lack of pretension is welcome, and the film actually manages a surprisingly poignant climax. Given Geum-Soon's goals (find husband, defeat gangsters, and get home before the in-laws arrive), you'd think she would find some Ferris Bueller-type way to get the mega-mega happy ending. Still, she's not that capable; her struggle eventually illuminates just how strong and how weak she is, which makes her sometimes questionable behavior (Running around with a baby on your back?) forgivable. For a film heroine, she's refreshingly flawed, and well worth cheering for. (Kozo 2003)
image courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen