Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review:// She Was Pretty

She Was Pretty is a romantic comedy about childhood friends who got separated and experienced a reversal of fortunes before reuniting as adults. Kim Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) was a pretty, popular girl who took the chubby Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon) under her wing. After his family immigrated to the United States, her family went bankrupt and they lost touch with each other. Now Sung Joon has returned to Korea as a successful editor, while Hye Jin is still trying to find permanent employment. Due to a misunderstanding, she feels the need to hide her identity from Sung Joon, but fate has made it impossible to avoid him.

The Good:  This is a feel good comedy that retains enough tension to make it worthwhile. There are wonderfully excruciating scenes, fan service in the way of bromance, womance and the classic shower scene, and a good balance of injury and redemption. 

Our four leads all gave endearing performances. Although Hwang Jung Eum seems to play every role she gets in the same exaggerated way, this one actually warranted her acting style, and her physical comedy was very much an asset.

Choi Shi Won shed his pretty boy image for a rugged, manly look. His portrayal of the zany reporter (and Second Leading Man), Kim Shin Hyuk, was over the top, but in an appropriate way. However, he also brought a sensitivity to the role that was heartbreaking.

Alongside these more extreme characters, Park Seo Joon's hot/cold/funny and Go Joon Hee's sweet and conflicted performances interplayed well which created a compelling chemistry among all four of them. This was a perfect tonic for those feeling sorry for Park Seo Joon's character in Kill Me, Heal Me.

The Bad:  The chaotic state of Kim Hye Jin was unbelievable to the point where it took me out of the story a bit at first. She had been refined and feminine as a child, but turned into a tomboyish woman with no sense of style whatsoever, with the vague explanation that she had been through hard times. Even if I accepted that her personality had completely changed, the fact that her stylish best friend and roommate had not given her a makeover so that she could pass a job interview was puzzling to me.

The pacing faltered going into the second half, which would ordinarily make me think that the season should have been shortened by a few episodes. Although it wasn't to that point, I wish they had spent less time on all the extraneous happy scenes involving the main couple, and spent a little more time fleshing out the subplots for the side characters.

The drama's flaws didn't detract too much from its entertainment value, though, which was reflected in its ratings which averaged 13.4% nationwide, and 14.7% in Seoul (AGB Nielsen).

Awards:  Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon won in several categories at the 2015 MBC Drama Awards including Top 10 Stars, Popularity, and Excellence Actor and Actress in a Miniseries. Hwang Jung Eum also won the PD Award. Additionally, Hwang Suk Jung was named Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries, Yang Han Yeol received the Best Child Actor Award, and Jo Sung Hee won Writer of the Year. 

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