My Sassy Girl was the second highest grossing film in Korea in the year 2001.
Kyun-woos (Chae Tae-hyun) mother (Song Wok-suk) calls him while he is out with friends telling him to go visit his aunt (Yang Geum-seok) immediately, as the mother believes that his visit will make the aunt feel better after the loss of her son.
On the way to his aunt Kyun-woo rescues a drunken girl (Jeon Ji-hyun) from an approaching subway train. In the train the girl fights her urges to throw up to no avail. She pukes and then passes out, but not before she calls out honey to Kyun-woo.
Kyun-woo have no choice and he literally drags the unconscious girl off the train. He carries her to a motel and when she is fast asleep, he senses her broken heart and vows to set things right - no matter what the cost.
Such is the beginning of their relationship, a relationship that will involve much psychological and physical torture, mostly for Kyun-woo to sustain.
The Girl is not your average girl. She is physical and verbal abusive (especially after a drink or two), she hates melodramas, and enjoys writing Matrix-like treatments for action movies, with a female lead.
It was a bit unfortunate that I had already read the first 3 volumes of the comic book of My Sassy Girl, before agreeing to reviewing the film. The comic book is based (like the film) on the original online serial by Kim Ho-sik detailing his relationship with his off-the-wall college girlfriend, and despite the similarities, the story in the comic book is both raunchier and sweeter than the movie.
I feel the film is too long even though it is divided into three parts, very aptly named First half, Second half and Overtime. As long as you follow the antics of their relationship its sweet and fun, especially the scenes where Kyun-woo has to read her treatments are precious.
The extra 17 minutes doesnt help, at least not for me. Perhaps if I had seen the theatrical release first and then the extended cut, I might have felt differently, but no no dice! And frankly I dont care for the two bookends, which just a little bit too conveniently wraps the story, in a Hollywood kind-of-way.
But the film is absolutely worth seeing, if not for anything else, than for the great performances by Chae Tae-hyun and Jeon Ji-hyun, and of course their antics along the way. Its the first feature film for Chae who was mainly known for TV, commercials and as a singer.
Jeon manages to convey composure, strength and vulnerability at the same time which is quite a feat. She reminds me of Greta Garbo (Ninotchka) or Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca). If I should compare her with an Asian counterpart it would be Shu Qi (Millenium Mambo) or Gong Li (To Live).
My Sassy Girl is a genre-bending feature with elements of teen comedy, traditional melodramatic romance, and genre parody. It blends them all perfectly in a unique experience that defies categorization.
It was the success of "My Sassy Girl" that paved the way for films like "Sex Is Zero", "Wet Dreams", and "Fun Movie".
Yupgi in Korean means ''to be curious about, looking for creepy and uncanny things or events''. In cyberspace it quickly became the new buzzword in the sense of anything whimsical and implies something creepy but ultimately cool and fun, mainly due to the internet serial Yupgi Girl.