A young girl, Ha-young (played by Ha Ji-Won), kicks a beercan lying on the road. It hits a rich young man, Hyung-joon (played by Kim Jae-Won), in the head and he loses control of his car. The car bumps into a wall and gets a small scratch.
Hyung-joon is furious with Ha-young and demands that she pays $3000 for the damages! Obviously this schoolgirl is completely incapable of coming up with that kind of cash, so she flees the scene, much to the annoyance of Hyung-joon. However, she drops her wallet, thus providing him with every detail he needs to find her. He then begins a calculated harassment plan, in order to get Ha-young to own up to her responsibility.
Finally the pressure is too much and she gives in, but how should she pay for the damages? Easy. As it happens Hyung-joon has drawn up a contract, where Ha-young agrees to be his slave for a 100 days. She must be at his every beck and call, do his laundry, clean his house and carry his bags when he goes shopping.
Initially these two go at it like cats and dogs, but eventually they begin to warm to each other...
Insane doesnt quite begin to cover this film. Its over the top in every way. Absurdly overacted. Almost cartoonish in places. And yet, I find myself giggling like a schoolgirl just looking at the DVD cover.
Theres been a surge of Korean comedies lately. They seem to be getting more and more crazy, and more and more popular. If youre watching all of them, youll most likely be fed up by now. The trick is to try to pick the best of the bunch, and mix them up with other kinds of films. Thats what Ive been doing, which may explain why this one worked so well for me.
Slave Love is one of those films that would never fly in the US. Its simply too risky. The whole maid-slave-minor thing they got going really IS on the verge of being too naughty for its own good, but the film handles the relationship between the two main characters with a disarmingly naive innocence. So if youre looking for filth, and find some here, you must have brought it yourself.
Ha Ji-Won portrays 16 year old Ha-young with remarkable ease, and her impressive range of Im-pissed-at-the-world-so-watch-out-expressions reeled me in in no time. She SO cute.
Sure, the filmmakers knowingly play up that Asian schoolgirl in uniform with pigtales-angle that seems to be working every time, but that doesnt mean that Ha Ji-Won doesnt have her work cut out for her. She really is the one who has to carry the film, and when it turns serious in the final act, shes also faced with the greatest challenge. She must turn the little Tasmanian Devil she played to begin with, into a real character. She passes this test with flying colors.
Meanwhile Kim Jae-Won starts the film with that familiar droopy eyed half asleep look that seem to be especially popular amongst Korean boys. But he soon drops that act in favour of a devilish charming approach that I suspect will have the ladiez melt in a heartbeat.
In the end, despite the crazy humour and the off-the-wall antics, the film cant conceal its true nature. You see, this is a mushy mushy love story, complete with running through the rain scene, and that infamous 360 degrees camera move. It has more heart than it cares to admit, and in the last act it becomes clear that maybe there actually was a point to all this madness.
I find these kind of films irresistible. Sure enough, its just a light comedy with no real message, but does that mean its wrong to enjoy it? Dont think too much about it. Just lean back and revel in its madness. Youll laugh, youll cry, youll choke on your pretzel.
Who said comedy was dead? Its alive and well. Its just moved to Korea.