Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Scandal Makers (2008)

Scandal Makers is an utterly charming comedy from Korea that was billed via a question and answer at the NYAFF thusly “ Why are we showing a two year old comedy as part of this years festival? Because its damn funny.” I couldn’t agree more. Actually I would go so far and say that of the films that I saw on DVD that I learned about because of the festival, this is the best, and its probably going on my list of best films I’ve seen in 2010.

The plot of the film is the sort of thing that Hollywood has done to death, the discovery of a lost child. But here its done with a style, grace and sense of warmth missing from the Hollywood productions. Here a radio talk show host is exploiting the tale of a young mother looking for her long absent father. He urges her to find him, and boy is he shocked when she shows up on his doorstep. Adding to the confusion is the fact the young girl is hoping to have a music career and she’s entered the radio station music contest.

What can I say. I was charmed from start to finish. I laughed I cried I felt good. I just had a great time.

Why can’t Hollywood do this?

The performances are first rate with everyone creating characters you actually like. Sure some of them are just there comedic relief, say the vet, but at the same time you like them and buy that they are real people. Think of some thing like the recent Game Plan with the Rock, where you had a bunch of characters, who, while amusing were no one you’d ever meet in real life. Where in a typical Hollywood film you wonder who thought of these nimrods we see on screen, in Scandal Makers we have people we’d actually like to hang out with.

Yes, it hits all the spots you think it will but at the same time, you really don’t care because the film knows it’s a cliché and just goes with it. By accepting where the plot is going it can do wonderful things on the side like the romance between the DJ and his grandson’s teacher or the music. I love the music in this film it’s a wonderful mixture of songs in Korean and in English and it adds so much to the story and the viewing experience that I think its one of the major reasons the film works as well as it does. This is a film that knows when to put in a song to bump up the emotion. (Try not to smile like an idiot at the end.)

I love this film a great deal. I started talking this film up from the second the credits rolled by sending an email to Eden to watch the film when she got a chance. The next day at work I was talking the film up so much the people in my office suggested a screening party after work.

See this film.

This is currently out on import DVD, but hopefully this will get a regular US release because its films like this that could help correct the misconceptions about Asian film. Actually this needs a US release because it’s a film that will make people laugh

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