연애의 맛 (Love Clinic)

연애의 맛 (Love Clinic)

A Cheongwoo Film Production
Distribution: Showbox/Mediaplex Inc.
Rating: 18 and Over
Genre: Sex Comedy
Running Time: 101 Min (Theatrical) 104 Min (IPTV Uncut)
Shooting Time: 2014/03/01~05/12 (55 Dates)
Release: 2015/May/07

WITH 오지호 (Oh Ji-Ho) as Wang Seong-Gi; 강예원 (Kang Ye-Won) as Gil Shin-Seol; 하주희 (Ha Joo-Hee) as Maeng In-Young; 홍이주 (Hong Yi-Joo) as In Gong-Joo; 최령 (Choi Ryeong) as Kang Hyeon-Min; 노치만 (Noh Chi-Man) as Shin Min-Joon; 강지원 (Kang Ji-Won) as Joo Eun-Hee; 이효정 (Lee Hyo-Jung) as Shin-Seol's Father; 홍여진 (Hong Yeo-Jin) as Shin-Seol's Mother;

CREW Director 김아론 (Kim Ah-Ron) Executive Producer JoAnn Shon | Screenplay 이상언 (Lee Sang-Eon) 문정원 (Moon Jung-Won) 윤필준 (Yoon Pil-Joon) | Director of Photography 이희섭 (Lee Hee-Seop) Lighting 이순재 (Lee Soon-Jae) Music 이종수 (Lee Jong-Soo) Art Direction 김진철 (Kim Jin-Cheol) Editor 문인대 (Moon In-Dae) |

BOX OFFICE
KOFIC Nationwide
TOTAL REVENUE: 1,725,990,153 Won
TOTAL ADMISSIONS: 214,539
BUDGET: N/A

Photo ⓒ Cheongwoo Film, Showbox/Mediaplex Inc.

SYNOPSIS

When a female doctor at men's clinic meets a male doctor at women's clinic. Sin-seol is a virgin female urologist. Her main job is to give a medical treatment to men who lost confidence at night. Seong-ki is a male obstetrician who suffers from the traumatic memory. After failing to deliver a baby on Cesarean operation, he becomes impotent even with the sexiest girls. When the two becomes neighbors, they conflict each other on everything. One night Seong-ki finds blind drunk Sin-seol on the street, and carries her home. When she accidentally touches his thing, strange enough IT responds. A competent urologist Sin-seol can finally make him UP? [KoBiz]

IN SHORT

By now it's become a rather successful formula, perhaps even beyond the expectations of an increasingly “pragmatic” industry: there is a type of audience that couldn't care less about Korean Cinema, and yet will happily spend two to ten thousand won for a film on VOD, at least if it involves certain “ingredients.” If you wonder why the once moribund adult video industry finds itself in the midst of a second Golden Age and domestic tissue makers are seeing a huge increase in sale, you've got your answer as to what I'm talking about. Horny slackers want their T&A, perhaps in an effort to get reacquainted with their right hand. And they're willing to pay! And of course Chungmuro couldn't be happier to bring them anything from psychological thrillers to sexy comedies whose main (or sole) selling point is, well, “노출 (exposure).”

The IPTV industry has built its resurgence almost solely on that strange word, which to me sounds a little too subjective to be applied so liberally – because you could literally see Bollywood flicks serve you with a wet t-shirt contest in their exotic masala erotica and yet see no appreciable “exposure,” and instead be exposed to films where you'll be bombarded with nudity so obviously manufactured (through the use of smart editing and body doubles) that you'll be seeing very little that could be called erotic. Industry insiders, knowing how rabid in their search of their favorite “ingredients” the aforementioned slackers are, have become even more perverse in their thirst for easy profit, practicing a sort of self-censorship for what concerns the theater cut (which often runs a few theaters, for a week or two, before being canned), and then going all out for prospective “director's cut” versions on IPTV – which is generally the original cut, only overpriced and released a few weeks after the first digital download, a pretty shameless case of douple-dipping.

What this means, for films like these, is that you can see through the producers' gimmicks pretty much instantly: titillate the viewer with the allure of nudity from a star (in this case it would be Kang Ye-Won), and then leave the “minions” to fill the nudity quota instead – poor Ha Joo-Hee, who did press rounds poignantly claiming she turned down Yoon Jin-Seo's role in Park Chan-Wook's 올드보이 (Oldboy) because of the nudity, but is now gracing Korea's horny slackers with her nature-given talents for this masterpiece. You go girl! Great career choice.

Director Kim Ah-Ron, a product of the indies who did somewhat decent work in the past, attempts to start in a playfully zany way, somewhat reminding of Yoon Je-Gyun's raunchy, vulgar comedies of the early 2000s – although the result feels closer to 낭만자객 (Crazy Assassins) than 색즉시공 (Sex is Zero). The whole setup feels a bit like the Han Suk-Gyu comedy from the mid 1990s, 닥터봉 (Doctor Bong), although that film was obviously a lot more sedate on the sexual innuendo front. And it's not all that surprising to see both Kang and the generally unwatchable Oh Ji-Ho do a decent job in this setting: she doesn't want to advertise it and even publicly tried to hide the fact, but her first role of note came with her real name (Kim Ji-Eun) in a notoriously very revealing erotic comedy, 마법의 성 (Sex of Magic); Oh himself is a somewhat frequent flyer of cinematic eros, with his roles in 미인 (La Belle) and 은장도 (The Silver Knife).

If the film stuck to Oh and Kang's interplay, their mildly raunchy banter and gags, it would probably work as a nostalgia trip to about a decade ago, when erotic comedies were a veritable box office draw. But then the demands of the made-for-IPTV skin flick canon pretty much derail the whole film, having Ha Joo-Hee just randomly fill the sex quota with a very explicit role that feels completely alienated from the rest of the film. It's as if softcore porn was forcibly edited into a normal comedy, making it all the more voyeuristic in the process. This is all too obvious, to an excessive degree: the thinly veiled press propaganda wondering if the token star will strip off, tales of lost careers revitalized by taking off a Wonderbra, and the pathetic “fapbait” (to stoop to the producers' level, if you will) this genre has become. They're all marketed the same, narrated and directed in the same manipulative, hackneyed way. It just makes you wonder if by finding a viable home video alternative in IPTV and VODs, Chungmuro might have further compromised its potential for quality, seeing how deliberately manipulative producers have become, catering to the lowest common denominator at every chance they get. This film is hardly their worst offense, but a trifle like this would have probably been laughed out of theaters ten years ago. Today, it can be a hot seller on digital markets.

Not something to be proud of, if you ask me.

ACTING GRADES

64 이효정 (Lee Hyo-Jung)
57 강예원 (Kang Ye-Won)
56 하주희 (Ha Joo-Hee)
55 홍이주 (Hong Yi-Joo)
55 오지호 (Oh Ji-Ho)
55 강지원 (Kang Ji-Won)
54 홍여진 (Hong Yeo-Jin)
54 최령 (Choi Ryeong)

46

~ Last Update: 2015/06/01