Sex comedy is not a familiar genre with Korean audiences, many of whom regard themselves as somewhat conservative, or deadly super-duper conservative. But "Sex is Zero", released in 2002, changed that conventional wisdom.
The toilet-humor-filled sex-or-die comedy pulled in a respectable 4.2 million viewers in 2002 and even ranked fourth at the box-office for the year. Since then, a handful of imitations have come out, but none of them have hit a jackpot -- yet.
All of this has apparently encouraged the production house which made the original "Sex is Zero" to forge ahead with a sequel. The logic, of course, is that people remembering the unabashed sex comedy will return to the theater, and, for the filmmakers of "Sex Is Zero 2
", there seems to be nothing wrong with repeating the same formula -- plot, characters, sex-oriented scenes, and all that -- as long as a minimum box-office return is guaranteed.
This time around, Im Chang-jung
plays ordinary college student Eun-sik, who is dating Kyeong-ah (Song Ji-hyo
). The problem with the relationships is that Eun-sik never goes beyond the stage of, well, a kiss. Since Kyeong-ah is an up-and-coming swimmer, plenty of revealing swimsuits fill up the screen, a trademark sex comedy device that accentuates what the movie is really about. Choi Sung-gook
, who played a geeky martial art club chief in the original version, has joined the new film project, as widely expected, playing a character named Sung-kook (what else?) and he has succumbed to the tide of the times. Martial arts are out of fashion; what's hot is K-1 fighting. So he has become chairman of the new K-1 club, and the protagonist Eun-sik belongs securely to the club. Seong-gook, a self-styled expert on sex and relationships, offers various tips to Eun-sik, and debut director Yoon Tae-yoon
goes ahead with a wide range of toilet humor and nude scenes. As with the original version, the sequel may not satisfy those who expect something meaningful out of this meaningless joke-laden feature. Conversely, for those who enjoyed the first one because it's largely meaningless, except for lots of cheesy yet revealing scenes, the formula is just fine.
At a press preview held on Friday, director Yoon said, "The level of nudity in the film is not high, and the major appeal of 'Sex Is Zero 2
' is not the sexy scenes but the comic relief embedded in the sexy images".
, who appeared in four movies this year, said he discovered his aptitude for acting by playing a role in "Sex is Zero" five years ago. "I believe this film is really meaningful for me, and I'm kind of supposed to feel more pressure, but strangely I didn't feel any, because I found the screenplay well organized and trusted in director Yoon", he said.
"Sex Is Zero 2
" got plenty of publicity even before the press preview because one of the cast members changed his sex. Lee Dae-hak (Lee Si-yeon
), who was cast as a very feminine college boy in the original film, has undergone a sex-change operation in real life, and comes back to the sequel as a transgender.
, who plays an aggressive female character and engaged in a sex scene with Lee Dae-hak in "Sex is Zero", said Lee's image has not changed much. "As you now, Lee's sex change operation hasn't changed his image at all, and I've always thought of him as a kid sister, and he's a kid sister for me". Shin Yi
This Doosaboo Films production film will be released nationwide by CJ Entertainment on Dec. 13.
By Yang Sung-jin