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`Lovely Rivals' Wins Over Local Audience's Hearts

2004/11/18 | 310 views |  | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

A fight for love always sounds romantic, but what if the battle field is an elementary school and the two rivals in love are a female teacher and her 12-year-old student trying to win the heart of a good-looking teacher? A new local comedy successfully takes the funny factors from this exact situation and develops it as bitter sweet.

"Yosonsaeng VS Yojeja (Lovely Rivals)", directed by Jang Gyoo-seong, seems like a sequel for the director's previous comedy "My Teacher, Mr.Kim", since it is also set in a primary school and is about a teacher who doesn't have any affection towards his students but later finds the true meaning of teaching.

However, "Lovely Rivals" presents more uncontrived humor over the natural development of its story, delivered by main actress Yeom Jeong-ah from "Pomchoe-ui Chaegusong (The Big Swindle)" and "Changhwa, Hongryon (A Tale of Two Sisters)", and Lee Se-yeong from "Ahopsal Insaeng ('When I Turned Nine')".

Completely different from her roles of a femme fatale in her previous films, Yeom's comic acting to play a sassy and quirky single lady in her 30s in the movie is good enough to bring audiences to laughter, which is blended with Lee's cute yet cynical image.

The film revolves around Yoe Mi-ok (Yeom), a teacher who is thinking only of escaping from the school and moving to the city without taking proper care of her students. Her easy going life in school is challenged when she falls in love at first sight with a handsome and gentle male teacher, played by Lee Ji-hoon, but one of her students Ko Mi-nam (Lee), who is a little more mature than her classmates, becomes the teacher's worst hindrance to obtaining her love.

As the story evolves, jealousy and psychological warfare between them create witty and funny scenes. While presenting the main character's enmity, the movie also introduces current problems in schools such as young teachers' losing passion for their students and yearning only for a job in the big cities.

Since their mutual understanding leads Yoe to find the value of her job, some might say the movie is predictably a bit sentimental at the end, but it successfully delivers humor which can be genuinely heartfelt and differentiated from toilet humor mixed with meaningless violence, which is so often seen in recent local movies.

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