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Seducing Mr. Perfect
Year: 2006


DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
Sidus CNI
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean Subtitles
Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Music Video, etc.

Director: Kim Sang-Woo
Cast: Uhm Jung-Hwa, Daniel Henney
The Skinny: The stars have chemistry, and the cinematography looks good. But the formulaic storytelling, a contrived script, and a wooden performance by Daniel Hanney certainly don't help things. For die-hard fans of the stars and Hollywood romantic comedies only.
Kevin Ma:
     Korea delivers a carbon copy of a slick Hollywood romantic comedy with Seducing Mr. Perfect, a serviceable romantic comedy that charms enough thanks to an all-out performance from Uhm Jung-Hwa. The feature film debut of director Kim Sang-Woo, Seducing Mr. Perfect does enough visually to emulate its Hollywood counterparts, but it also emulates Hollywood with its script, which takes the usual "odd couple" clichés and presents them in the most straightforward manner possible. This doesn't make Seducing Mr. Perfect necessarily bad, but it does feel tired.
     The main draw of the film is its hunky male star, half-Korean/half-American model Daniel Henney. He plays Robin, a young fund manager sent to Korea to take over a Japanese firm. On the road one day, his car is rear-ended by Min-Joon (Uhm Jung-Hwa), who pretends to not speak English to get out of trouble. As fate would have it, Robin turns out to be her boss and he decides to handpick her to be his assistant on the project. Why pick a woman who hits your car and skips work under false pretenses to be your assistant? To get on her nerves so much that maybe she'll eventually fall in love with you, of course!
     Naturally, they're the worst match. She's the maternal type of girlfriend that showers boyfriends with attention, but only ends up driving them away. He's the charming arrogant know-it-all that wants to be challenged. But why let clashing personalities get in the way of contrived circumstances? When Min-Joon is dumped unceremoniously by her boyfriend, Robin simply insults her by telling her that she'll be treated like trash all her life. Provoked, Min-Joon decides to seduce her boss just to prove him wrong. Will he buy into her ruse, and will she ultimately fall in love? Just treat that as a rhetorical question for now.
     There were rumors floating around saying that Uhm, who is 35, was cast because producers wanted a "less attractive" actress to play up Daniel Henney's appeal in order to attract female audiences. I consider that the biggest irony of Seducing Mr. Perfect. Many will watch the film because of Henney's presence, but people will end up enjoying it because of Uhm's performance. Director Kim and his team of four(!) screenwriters wisely concentrate the screenplay on Min-Joon and her foolish quest while breezing past Robin's darker past. Min-Joon may not have much smarts, but her story fits the structure of a romantic comedy, while Robin's seems to come from a melodrama play playing at a different stadium. Theoretically, Kim's choice of Uhm over Henney can be called flawed characterization, but it makes the film more interesting to sit through.
     What about the star of the show, Daniel Henney, who is making his feature film debut here? I can say that his dialogue (delivered almost completely in English) is among the best English dialogue I've heard in a Korean film, and Henney manages to deliver his lines with enough charm to make them work. However, his inability to show a facial expression beyond a smug smile or a frown takes away any sense of playfulness this character should have. The script provides him with the right lines, but Henney, who in real-life can speak Korean but refuse to do so onscreen, can't follow up due to his lack of acting chops. The result is that Robin seems like a man who likes to step on his subordinates when they're down. Henney has the looks to be a star, but I doubt that he'll be seen as anything more than a pretty face when people watch Seducing Mr. Perfect.
     Yet, when Uhm and Henney are together onscreen, they are somehow able to conjure up some chemistry. Uhm compensates for Henney underplaying his role by overplaying hers and still managing to come out lovable. Their chemistry, along with the slick upper-class Seoul urban visuals, really saves Seducing Mr. Perfect from being a dud. The script meanders with corporate subplots, an inexplicable prologue in Hong Kong (which captures the city nicely, but is really a waste of money for the production), and an epilogue that's played entirely for laughs, but not much else. And Kim's direction is by-the-books and devoid of any real style. In the end, any success achieved by Seducing Mr. Perfect rests entirely on its slick Hollywood-like cinematography and its stars, but I doubt that any of the 600,000 people who went to see the film in theatres watched it for the cinematography. After all, who cares about cinematography when the film provides shots of Daniel Henney's bare chest? It may just become the chest that can launch a thousand ships. (Kevin Ma 2007)
 Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen