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Entertaining `Twins' Unravels in the End

2005/04/14 | 558 views |  | Permalink | Source

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By Joon Soh
Culture Editor

Playing two roles in the same film seems to be a popular thing for actors lately. For Jeon Do-yeon ("My Mother, the Mermaid") and Park Shin-yang ("The Big Swindle"), it was a chance for them to show off their acting chops by playing characters with completely opposite personalities.

In the new comedy "The Twins", Jeong Joon-ho successfully takes up a similar challenge, as he plays two brothers born just two minutes and 17 seconds apart. However, as the audience soon finds out, a pair of siblings couldn't be more different than Myong-su and his younger brother Hyon-su.

It's quite clear from the beginning that the two are headed in opposite directions in life. Graduating at the top of his small-town high school class and headed to Seoul University to study law, the shy, bespectacled Hyon-su seems bound for greater things. And his mother (Park Jeong-soo), who runs a hole-in-the-wall restaurant near a train station, is willing to do almost anything to ensure his success.

That "anything" seems to mostly involve Myong-su. A rough and tough middle-school dropout with little ambition in life, Myong-su works as a bouncer at a nearby whorehouse while helping out at his mother's restaurant on the side. Beneath his rough demeanor, however, Myong-su turns out to be quite a softie, and can't refuse when he's asked to switch places with his more civilized brother whenever there's trouble.

In many ways, "Twins" is a variation of "The Prince and the Pauper" story, with the opposite nature of the two characters played up for many of its laughs. Mostly, it's Myong-su's antics that take center stage, as he awkwardly and often hilariously steps into his brother's shoes in various situations.

While "Twins" is essentially a comedy, the film has a surprising amount of tension due to its numerous plot twists and unexpected character development. Hyon-su's gradually emerging mean streak _ one that would do Anakin Skywalker proud _ plays quite well off Myong-su's simplemindedness, and when a vengeful girlfriend (Yoon Soy) is later added to the mix, the result becomes even more interesting. Given the numerous surprises, it's best not to give away too much, but the movie has enough clever twists for at least two hit television dramas.

In fact, rather than the big screen, television might have been the more appropriate medium for "Twins". As it stands, however, the film tries to cram too much story into its 122 minutes, and leaves behind too many loose ends while rushing to its halfhearted ending.

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