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Sexy `Secret' Has Little to Tell

2004/07/29 | 762 views | Permalink | Source

By Joon Soh
Staff Reporter

It's never a good sign when the trailer for a movie ends up being the best thing about it. But the one-minute promotional film for "Nuguna Pimilun Itda (Everybody has Secrets)" has all the mischief, sexiness and humor that this midsummer sex comedy aims for but in the end fails to deliver.

A remake of the 2000 Irish comedy "About Adam," "Secret" has a fun enough premise - three sisters getting seduced by one man - and near-perfect casting. The release date of the film couldn't be better timed as two of its stars - Choi Ji-woo, who plays the middle sister Son-yong, and Lee Byung-hun, who charms as the lady's man Su-hyon - are at the height of their popularity here and abroad. (The film sold its distribution rights to Japan for a record $5.5 million.)

In Lee Byung-hun's Su-hyon, we get a smooth-talker who is able to change to become all things for all people. For the youngest sister Mi-yong (Kim Hyo-jin), a torch singer at a club who likes to keep her relationships short and hot, he becomes the man she wants to marry. The oldest sibling and sexually frustrated homemaker Jin-yong (Chu Sang-mi) looks at Su-hyon for the passion missing in her marriage.

The bulk of the film, however, deals with the sister in the middle - Son-yong, a bookworm in her late 20s who has had no real sexual experience. Despite the fact that Su-hyon is engaged to her younger sister, Son-yong, played with the appropriate amount of lightness by Choi, finds herself drawn to his sudden sensitive and literate demeanor.

After such a setup, however, "Secret" doesn't really seem to know where it wants to go. Whereas in "About Adam" the various sexual dalliances were played out in a lighthearted manner, they feel muddled and awkward here, stuck somewhere between a sex comedy and melodrama. Su-hyon comes off as a sexist sleaze instead of a free sexual spirit, while the sisters, especially Jin-yong and Son-yong, seem painfully banal in their desires.

Despite the top-notch cast, which also includes Jeon Jae-young as the sisters' teenage brother, the film isn't able to get beyond stereotypes of different male and female sexual attitudes. And 105 minutes, a few bed scenes and some predictable phallic jokes later, "Secret" lands pretty much back in the same place where it began.

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