Singles
STORY

Men, women, sex. Forever shall the three be entwined in an impossible conundrum. Forever will the countless possibilities that these three words offer, haunt our lives and our dreams. And forever shall we - wrongfully - assume that THIS time, things will be different.

“Singles” is a fresh comedy that deals with an issue most people can relate to: Love, and everything that goes with it...

When Na Nan is unceremoniously dumped by her lover in favor of another woman, she begins to realize that her life may not be perfect. To make matters worse she’s reassigned to her company’s restaurant division (meaning she’s demoted from designer to waiter!) because her boss is a jerk. That, plus the fact that she’s rapidly approaching 30, causes a mild panic.

Meanwhile her raunchy girlfriend Dong-Mi, who is on her 48th boyfriend (and counting), suddenly realizes that the project she’s been working so hard on is being taken away from her, and she’s reduced to “beverage handler”. When her boss sexually harasses her, she humiliates him and is subsequently fired.

Before I forget, we’re still missing one piece of the puzzle: The geeky Joon, with whom Dong-Mi shares an apartment. He is currently dating a younger girl, way out of his league.

Many nights Na Nan, Dong-Mo and Joon end up in each others company, drinking, while they share the details of their miserable love lives. Na Nan desperately wants to find a guy, but Dong-Mi warns her: “Don’t eat anything, just because you’re hungry”.

Ironically Joon is dumped by his girlfriend who “just wants to be friends” and he finds comfort in the arms of... yes, you’ve guessed it: Dong-Mi! The two of them end up sleeping together.

And then a miracle happens. Na Nan actually runs into a guy. He’s not the best looking guy in the world, but at least he’s nice to her. Na Nan now faces a serious decision. Should she keep waiting for Mr. Perfect, or settle for Mr. Available...?

REVIEW

From the opening credits it’s obvious that “Singles” is a light film. Letters in the form of little stickmen jump around and form the cast and crew names to the tune of cheerful music.

But although this is a breezy comedy, it still deals with situations that - to varying degrees - will seem familiar to most people. Therein lies the film’s strength. So who cares if the message is overly simple, and could readily be reduced to the line: “Romance isn’t easy”?

And granted, “Singles” is not even the first film to deal with this subject. The TV-series “Sex and The City” springs to mind. I’ve always hated this show, not because it features women who act like men, but because it seems saturated by hate. Sex is used as a weapon, men and women battle each other (almost literally), and the one who wins in the end is the one who can humiliate the other the most. “Singles” uses a different approach. There’s an innocent streak running through the film. A genuine desire to find the right guy (or girl) and just be happy, coupled with the frustrating feeling that if only we could forget about that whole mating thing, we might actually be able to enjoy life.

The film has a wonderfully crazy and offbeat humor, with sudden burst of actual madness (I can’t give any examples without spoiling some wonderful scenes, so I won’t).

Much of the reason that the film is so effective is a cheeky performance by Jang Jin-Yeong as Na Nan. She’s quite simply adorable. Life and hope beams from her eyes at every turn, and I dare you not to be smitten with her energy and appetite for life.

On the technical side “Singles” has a fresh agreeable look with rich colors and a great rhythm in the editing and the photography.

Bottom-line: I had a great time watching “Singles”. It left me smiling and happy, and it seems that was exactly what the film was aiming for. So I guess that makes it a perfect little gem.
David Bjerre
May 2, 2004
GALLERY




Original Title
Singgeuljeu
Country
South Korea
Year
2003
Director
Kwon Chil-in
- A Day Good For Love (1995)
Cast
Chang Jin-young (aka Jang Jin-yeong)
- The Foul King (200)
- Siren (2001)
- Sorum (2001)
Uhm Jeong-hwa
- Marriage is a Crazy Thing (2002)
DVD Availability
Available on DVD from YesAsia: