The opening scene of "Buddy's Mom" consists of a bunch of idiot college kids talking about porn. The "Young Mother" series of erotic films, comes up in conversation and our intrepid lead character Kyeong-soo (played by Kim Young-sam) says, who wants a young mother? Mothers are hot because they've been around the block. The older the better. You know what would really be a sexy idea for a semi-pornographic film? Your "Buddy's Mom".
I couldn't help but feel like this entire scene was just a reenactment of the movie's original pitch. The writer/director for the first "Young Mother" movie also made "Buddy's Mom". He's also one of the minds behind "The Bluff" from a couple years back, which somehow managed to get into the Bucheon International Film Festival. That much probably explains why I was able to watch "Buddy's Mom" at an art house movie theater when the obvious intended audience of the movie skews, well, a tad lower.
...Yeah, before I go any further with the social commentary, I need to make this much clear. "Buddy's Mom" is about as close as you can possibly get to porn without it necessarily being porn. We are thankfully spared penis shots, although the gratuitous weiner-on-a-stick stands-in are only a slight improvement over actual dongs. And the sex only gets more frequent once Kyeong-soo finally starts getting laid instead of just learning about sex ever-so-pathetically from Internet porn.
And there we go. Social commentary. Kyeong-soo recognizes, on some level, that Internet pornography is probably breaking his mind, and that his entire fixation with older women is most likely a psychological issue stemming from the fact that he was raised by a single dad. That Kyeong-soo's sexual fantasies end up actually being fulfilled is rather besides the point. Kyeong-soo doesn't just want to have sex. He wants to feel like a mature grown-up, and that's what mature grown-ups do. They have sex, probably with older women.
As incredibly sad and pathetic as that notion sounds it's actually a pretty sweet one. And so I passed through most of "Buddy's Mom" in a state vacilating between pity, bemusement, and boredom. The boredom was mostly because I get bored of sex scenes really quickly unless there's some sort of interesting context, and writer / director Kong Ja-kwan is only able to provide so much of it. Such as, is now really the right time for sex? Why does sex on the beach not really look all that sexy? And why does Kyeong-soo look much more buff and handsome at the end than he did at the beginning?
Well, the last question is easy enough to answer. Because "Buddy's Mom" is wish fulfillment. But it's not just encouraging its male viewers to identify with Kyeong-soo's fantasy of having sex with older women. "Buddy's Mom" is also validating the fantasy that one day, an immature young man like yourself will have sex, and grow up into a respectable adult. As ridiculous as that idea is, the sentiment is sweet enough that I can just barely manage to recommend "Buddy's Mom"- but only if by some bizarre miracle you happen to be a person who wants to watch pornography and are expecting a passable story too.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Buddy's Mom""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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