Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crush and Blush (2008)

Hyo-jin Kong plays Yang Mi-Sook, a teacher who blushes easily. She has held a crush on the man who was her teacher ten years earlier in high school and has become a teacher and joined the faculty of the school she went to to try and win him. Of course it doesn't matter that he's married (to a belly dance instructor) and has a daughter who's a student in the school. Things become complicated when the object of her affection looks to be heading for a divorce and is interested in another teacher. She then teams up with object of her affections daughter, who doesn't want her parents divorce. But just like her being reassigned from teaching Russian to teaching English, a language she doesn't know, things just don't really go the way she wants them to.

This is a funny film of a misfit trying to force her way through the world is better than I thought it was going to be. Written up in several reviews and in the material of the NYAFF as a comedy of uncomfortable humor I thought this was going to be straight humiliation humor, but its not. There is a good deal of that type of humor, as well a jokes that just seem wrong, but at the same time the humor seems not to have as mean an edge as many recent American films of a similar type. I think the film isn't as mean as you think it should be because there is something about the characters that makes them click with you. Everyone seems to be a misfit or an outcast of some form and the humor arises out of the characters and their behavior and not from some artificial need to torment them. I didn't think I was going to laugh, I thought I was going to cringe, but for the most part I found myself laughing with the characters and not at them. I never really cringed, except at the points where it really was deserved.

Hyo-jin Kong has won some awards for this role, and she is quite good, but I wouldn't say that she's quite as stellar as the awards would suggest. My problem is that more than once she seems to be a beautiful actress who is "getting ugly" for a role. Don't get me wrong she still steals the movie and holds center stage, its just that I always felt that she was prettier and better than the material was suggesting she is.

Definitely worth a look. This is a funny movie that supplies the laughs and is worth tracking down.

(The film has some hysterical exchanges including one that tries to answer the most obvious question in a situation like this "What exactly would you do with my husband if you actually won him?")

On DVD as an import.

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