With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, April 17, 2015

South Korean youth comedy TWENTY opens in North America today

CJ Entertinment
Presents
Twenty
Written and directed by LEE Byeong-heon
South Korea, 2015,  115 minutes

Twenty is a coming-of-age comedy that marks the directorial debut of LEE Byeong-heon, who was the scriptwriter for blockbusters like Love Forecast and Tazza: The Hidden Card, as well as the breakout hit Sunny. It premieres today in select theaters in several U.S. and Canadian cities including New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto. (For locations, show times and ticket information, visit CJ Entertainment.)

The film focuses on three young men living in Seoul as they hit that landmark age, which they regard as the turning point in their lives since they are no longer teenagers, but not yet adults.

KIM Woo-bin (Friend: The Great Legacy) plays Chi-ho, a tall, slender and extremely good-looking Lothario. Although he has a girlfriend, he has no qualms about sleeping with other young women. His pursuit of them is facilitated by the ample allowance he receives from his well-off parents.

KANG Ha-neul (Empire of Lust) is Gyeong-jae, a really decent fellow. He's the type who consoles girls whose hearts are broken by bad men. A college student, he falls hard from the lovely Jin-yu, another student and a smart stock investor.

Rounding out the tiro is LEE Jun-ho, a member of the hit K-Pop group 2PM, who plays Dong-woo, a would-be cartoonist. His plans to go to  study drawing in college have to be put on hold when his family goes bankrupt, his father has been sent to jail, and Dong-woo is the only financial support for his mother and three younger brothers.

Left to right: Dong-woo, Gyeong-jae and Chi-ho

Some of the comedy is played as farce. I'm thinking here of when Chi-ho throws a tantrum, flailing around on the floor, when his restauranteur father decides to cut off his wastrel son's allowance. At time too the film is a bit sophomoric, as when Gyeong-jae's younger sister, So-hee (who has a thing for Dong-woo), frequently talks about male masturbation.

I must mention that there's an inventively shot fight scene that takes place in an eating and drinking establishment towards the end of the movie that I found utterly hilarious.

All-in-all, Twenty is a sweet, sometimes silly, but charming entry in the coming-of-age genre. And the entire young cast, both male and female, is very easy on the eyes.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.0 out of 4 stars; a fine comedy that's well-worth seeing.

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