For three minutes, actress Yeom Jeong-ah
heats up the screen of her new movie "The Worst Man of my Life
", wearing leather and fishnet stockings while executing a purposefully amateurish pole dance. .
Yeom said awkward sexy dancing wasn't an activity she was looking forward to. It took some prodding from costar Tak Jae-hoon
to make her feel comfortable.
"It took five or six hours to shoot and the costume was strange. It wasn't a situation where I was supposed to execute a good, sexy dance, but (rather) it was intentionally bad. And so I was embarrassed throughout and the filming was a bit difficult", Yeom said at last Thursday's preview of the movie. "But with Tak Jae-hoon
's support, I was able to act without much persuasion".
Though one can hardly tell by Tak's negative reaction in the film, it wasn't the first time he'd seen this dance. It was actually a previous firsthand experience that inspired the comical dance. "When I was a newlywed, we danced a similar dance", Tak admitted. "I took that experience into account and suggested this idea".
The pole dance is just one of the sequences that contrast Joo-yeon (Yeom Jeong-ah
) and Seung-tae (Tak Jae-hoon
), who decide to tie the knot after finding themselves together in bed on two separate nights of drinking.
Friends for ten years, their first nights of newlywed life are enjoyable, but things quickly go sour and their marriage turns into a nightmare as they figure out they are completely incompatible.
Joo-yeon feeds her husband nothing but ramen noodles and preservative-saturated food -- when she feeds him at all -- while filling the house with ugly furniture that Seung-tae thinks should belong in an antique museum. Perhaps such sentiments echo in the actor himself as Tak was quick to point out what he saw was a mistake in the title.
"Right now, I seem to be holding the improper title of the 'The Worst Man of my Life
', because in the movie, Yeom Jeong-ah
comes across as the naughtier person, and so I asked on several occasions to change the title of the movie, but it never got done", Tak said.
Meanwhile Joo-yeon thinks it's Seung-tae who is the antique relic as he spends more time with his books than with his wife, and drives her crazy with incessant nagging.
To complicate matters, they each meet co-workers who seem to be their perfect matches and begin to have doubts about their marriage and their individual will.
"I am married. I am married", is a line Joo-yeon repeats to herself as she finds herself swooning over a new co-worker, Jae-hoon (Sin Seong-rok
Seung-tae's predicament is similar as his career-oriented boss Mi-yun (Yoon Ji-min
) is touched by his awkward kindness and goes on the offensive, ignoring him as he shouts reminders of his marriage.
From being locked together in a wardrobe to engaging in a heated kiss, the extramarital relationships grow in intensity and the situations compound themselves until everything becomes a tangled mess. Eventually, every relationship falls apart and nobody is left the better.
What does come through in the midst of this chaos is a shining starring debut role for Tak, who was charged with the responsibility of taking center stage. Though Tak has been in the Korean entertainment scene for over a decade, this movie marks his first major breakaway from singing and television appearances.
"When I was offered the role, Yeom Jung-ah was already cast", Tak said. "I felt a bit of a burden because she is such a good actor with plenty of experience and is a veteran in the field".
But in the movie, the two stand as equals, matching each other punch for punch.
"The first starring role has special significance to anyone. Beyond giving my full effort to the mere filming, I tried to draw upon my experiences and thoughts to enhance the film as a romantic comedy", Tak said. "I collaborated with the director (Son Hyeon-hee
) often, and it led to ideas like the pole dance scene and (Yoon's) yoga scene".
While Tak holds his own among the cast, and even took a leading role in the development of the film, powerful cameo appearances often steal the spotlight from the regular cast. But they are also of the strengths of the movie, bringing explosive laughter into the theater just when the comedy seems to come to a lull.
A cameo from Shin Hyeon-joon
, with whom Tak forged a tie on the set of the movie "Barefoot Ki-bong
", delivers a hilarious performance as a flippant and perhaps mentally abnormal employee at the divorce registration center.
Even Tak, who arranged most of the cameos, recognized the power and presence the short appearances had on the film.
"It was nothing but fun when we were shooting the cameos, and I didn't think they would change the mood of the film as much as they did. If I had known this was going to happen, I don't think I would've used the cameo appearances", Tak joked.
Comedian Kim Mi-ryeo delivers another stellar cameo performance as a sister-in-law who can't hide her contempt for Joo-yeon, especially when she starts to take a friendly card game too seriously.
Several other cameos seem to emphasize the comedic dimension of the movie. Though classified as a romantic comedy, the movie in itself is short on romance and heavy on the comedy. The drama is difficult to believe -- seriously, what man would react to their wife's private pole dance by going to sleep? -- and some of the decisions made by the characters cannot be explained, even by the cast members themselves.
"I couldn't understand how Jae-hoon could let Joo-yeon go so easily if he felt for her in such a way that he was willing to destroy a marriage and a family", Shin said, referring to one of the last sequences of the movie.
If a believable Romance (Movie)
movieis what you're looking for, "The Worst Man of my Life
" will fall short of expectations, but in the realm of non-stop laughter, the film delivers for the full 94 minutes.
By Kim Kyu-heong