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[Movie Reviews] New Comedy 'Ero Christmas' Isn't Naughty or Nice

2003/12/18 | 882 views | Permalink | Source

By Joon Soh

"If you could make love just one day out of the year, which day would you choose?" says an old man in the new comedy "Happy Ero Christmas." The answer, which the film's title makes plain, is the basis of a movie that tries to add a little spice to the good tidings and cheer usually connected to the season.

Simultaneously telling two romantic stories set over the holidays, "Christmas" feels like two films in one. With one story being sweet and the other raunchy, the movie seems to be trying to cover all the commercial bases rather than make a narrative point.

The main story revolves around Byong-ki (Cha Tae-hyun), a shy and bumbling police officer who has a crush on Min-kyong (Kim Sun-ah), an employee of the neighborhood bowling alley.

Byong-ki's quiet and almost unnoticeable attempts to woo Min-kyong are met with a problem when the boss of a local gang (Park Young-kyu) also falls in love with Min-kyong. The two bachelors end up competing for Min-kyong's attention while at the same time fighting each other.

Besides the fact that there are holiday songs in the background of almost every scene, and that Min-kyong's birthday falls on Christmas, there is very little reason why the story has to take place during the holidays. As the story wears on, the artificial Christmas context gets to feel more and more like decorations placed around a fairly run-of-the-mill gangster comedy.

Even more incomprehensible is the second story, which is told through small episodes throughout the film and is the filmmaker's attempt to fulfill the "ero" part of the title. After overhearing an old man rhapsodize about the sexual side of the holidays, two teenagers attempt to find ways to "get some" on Christmas.

The jokes, involving mannequins, mouths of fish and trombone players, are crude, raunchy, and reminiscent of the 2002 sex comedy "Saekjuk Sigong (Sex Is Zero)." In fact, given the randomness of the story, it's hard to see "Happy Ero Christmas" as doing nothing more than trying to capitalize on the popularity of that coming-of-age comedy.

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