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Movie Review: My Sassy Girl (2008)

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When I heard they were turning the Korean romantic comedy My Sassy Girl into an American movie, I had mixed feelings. First, I was excited because I highly enjoyed the Korean original. But I was also skeptical because it seems many Asian movies translated into an American version simply aren’t as good. Either way, I knew just had to see My Sassy Girl.

Bring It On’s Jesse Bradford and The Girl Next Door’s Elisha Cuthbert are Charlie Bello and Jordan Roark. Yann Samuell directs in what appears to be his American directorial debut. Victor Levin took on the task of crafting an English screenplay based on the original film’s screenplay by Jae-young Kwak. The story is based true stories Ho-sik Kim posted online before compiling the relationship woes into a novel.

My Sassy Girl is the tale of the first and last time Charlie Bello falls in love. From their initial meeting, trouble is the name of the game. Imagine an amorphous mass of dating disasters and you get an idea of the relationship between the young couple. Some mysterious force with the strength of gravity between two planets must be at play between Charlie and Jordan as the relationship truly makes no sense on the surface. Everything seems pitted against the two of them. Things suddenly come to a halt when the two write letters confessing their love for each other. Agreeing to meet a year later to read the love letters together, Charlie and Jordan go their separate ways.

I won’t ruin the end of the movie for you – whether they end up together or miss each other reading the letters by a day. You will just have to rent the movie to see how the story ends. There is, however, a strong message behind the romantic woes — a tale of destiny. We can’t sit and wait for destiny to happen, but we must build the bridges ourselves.

The film is certainly similar to its Korean counterpart. The storyline is the same, with a few details changed to make sense in a different culture. The intro matches that of the original movie, but in a less creepy sort of way. Whereas the Korean movie has an animated intro with weird babies suckling at their mothers’ breasts, the American movie shows a montage of events with bright, yet simple sets to illustrate Charlie’s life to this point.

It seems the only thing that doesn’t fully translate into the new movie is the humor. My Sassy Girl is touted as a romantic comedy, and the Korean version very much is. The mishaps are construed in a way to be charming. However, they lose some of the funny appeal in the new film. Not that the movie is a complete bore, it just seems somehow more tragic.

My Sassy Girl has a direct-to-DVD release in late August 2008. While I wouldn’t tell anyone to rush out to rent it, the movie is definitely worth picking up on a rainy day.

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