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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Family Outing" Episode 14

2015/02/15 | 762 views | Permalink

There's almost something approaching a coherent theme here- mommy issues. First and most obviously foremost, Joon-hee confronts her birth mother. The process literally makes Joon-hee feel ill. It's clear that Joon-hee has suffered more from the separation than Joon-ah did. I imagine this is because, as a woman, Joon-hee has spent life more desperate for a feminine influence. It's actually an interesting contrast with Joon-ah, whose plaintive calls of mommy are clearly designed under the assumption that Kkeut-soon should be taking care of him, not be an actual parental figure.

Kkeut-soon is also more directly challenged on the question of appropriate parental authority because the issue of certain family members being banished from the house is brought up. It's nice when "Family Outing" manages to dip into reality like this and build some actual drama without being overwrought. The music, unfortunately, is still relatively corny in this regard, but at least this episode is mostly bearable.

Unfortunately Joon-hee's conflict in this regard is rather cleanly resolved, apparently to make room for the upcoming battle regarding the extent to which she and Joon-ah have to run a scam to get what they want. And once again the conflict in this regard is rather confusing. It doesn't seem particularly necessary to run a scam when Joon-hee has already practically been accepted into the family. Especially since it turns out that Joon-ah doesn't even know the foreigner he's working with all that well.

Dong-joo's subplot manages to come off as kind of interesting, although mainly for the reason not being explained. She's in a pretty cookie-cutter "hated by the chaebol relatives because she's a gold digger" romance. Sadly, the fact that Dong-joo is in line to her own actual inheritance that she puts relatively little effort into trying to secure isn't brought up. It's not particularly clear as to why either. I'm guessing it's just the usual lack of general narrative cohesion.

By the rather low standards established by the drama so far, this is actually a decent episode of "Family Outing" because it manages to keep a consistent tone. While we do vacillate between worry and comedy, there's just enough build-up and build-down that the whiplash isn't too bad. All the same "Family Outing" really isn't particularly interesting at all. It simultaneously tries too hard while managing not to put any effort into anything that might actually come off as entertaining. More and more it just makes for a rather tiring experience.

Review by William Schwartz

"Family Outing" is directed by Joo Dong-min, written by Kim Sin-hye and features Lee Jung-hyun, Jin Yi-han, Oh Sang-jin, Park Won-sook, Jung Han-hun and Park Jun-gyu.

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