Unstoppable Marriage - I wish Eugene was my wife

The New York Korean Film Festival 2007, presented by Helio and organized by The Korea Society:

Unstoppable Marriage will be screened as an International Premiere on

- Friday, August 24th 2007, 4:40 PM. At Cinema Village

- Wednesday, August 29th 2007, 9:00 PM. At Cinema Village


Unstoppable Marriage is director Kim Sung-Wook’s first movie and a good piece of romantic and unpretentious fun (more fun than my review, if I may say so myself). Kim has obviously taken some inspiration from his previous work on hit comedies like the excellent Attack the Gas Station by Kim Sang-Jin, Lovely Rivals, and My Teacher, Mr. Kim, by Jang Gyoo-Seong, who made Small-Town Rivals this year, and to whom he was an assistant for a long time.

The main attraction of this charming tale of opposites attract is the pair of glamorous star-crossed lovers that graces the big screen for about two hours: the unfeasibly cute (I’m sure I’ve written this before) ex-S.E.S. member and top-celeb’ singer-turned-actress Eugene (in a more orthodox transliteration: Yoo-Jin), and rising star/heartthrob Ha Suk-Jin from Hot For Teacher, See You After School, and the recent hit drama Hello! Miss.



A “love-will-conquer-all (even a wealthy, grouchy ajumma)” romantic comedy, Unstoppable Marriage is also, on many levels, a social-struggle, moeurs-focused satire. Not so much a commentary as a symptom of contemporary South Korea’s many contradictions, the movie is crammed with allusions to real-world issues, from the preservation of tradition (which is, well, to be preserved by definition) to the national obsession with the English language, whose mastery seems to indicates a superior standard of living (as does French, happily butchered in a brief wine “discussion”) or an additional touch worldliness that fits upper-class standards.

Most of the humor comes from the strict opposition between two social worlds – roughly speaking: “modernity and “tradition” – in which characters are pretty much entirely defined by their standing and their professions.

Hwang Ki-Baek is a plastic surgeon, from quite a loaded but somewhat loony and father-less family. He leads the comfortable life of a well-off playboy, while Eun-Ho is a down-to-earth girl (except during her paragliding classes), born in a (lower) middle-class, and mother-less (not a coincidental symmetry) household, who runs a workshop where she teaches traditional Korean paper doll making. The two have a fortuitous encounter when a (hot) date of Dr. Hwang’s tricks him into flying with Eun-Ho, who happens to be the instructor on that fateful day. They embark on a stormy relationship… As the bickering escalates, they end up falling for each other. But then, they are faced with a challenge, common to a lot of young Korean couples (and practically an ancestral problem): getting their parents’ seal of approval to tie the knot.



What makes the predicament particularly difficult is that the parents in question are at both ends of the psychological and social spectrum. They find themselves in tighter and tighter spots when Eun-Ho’s shabby-genteel father meets Mrs. Hwang (Kim Su-Mi, of Marrying the Mafia fame) a ridiculously rich snob dead set on acquiring a patch of land that belongs to the conservative uncooperative old man, to build a golf course. The two nevertheless decide to pair up to separate the happy couple, despite the “culture clash” and their apparently irreconcilable differences. 

More sitcom/slapstick moments arise from this mini-war… the main casualty? Shakespeare’s language, properly slaughtered by Mrs. Hwang, who also steals the show from the leads, and a high-tech bathroom, which almost drowns Eun-Ho’s bumpkin of a father.

In brief, two hours of mindless, guiltily enjoyable entertainment.


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