운빨로맨스 (Lucky Romance Ep.1)

With Hwang Jung Eum’s She Was Pretty reinforcing her romcom prowess and there’s all abuzz about Ryu Jun Yeol getting his first lead drama role after the nostalgic Reply 1988, it’s not even surprising that Lucky Romance premiered with a 10. something rating, beating its competitors; Entertainer and Master – God of Noodles.

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Hwang Jung Eum plays Shim Bo Nui. Looking like your typical Cinderella complete with a mop and a kerchief; she does various part time jobs to support her sister’s medical needs. She’s a firm believer of fortune telling which somehow contradicts the fact that she’s highly competitive in the IT industry: a field that relies on logic more than superstition.

When Bo Nui’s sister’s condition worsened, she refused to give up even when the doctor asked her to do so. She ran to seek help from a shaman who advised that the only way to save her sister is to catch a man who was born in the year of the tiger. She needs to meet one and sleep with him.

I’m not sure about the male-female ratio but I’ve read that South Korea has a population of almost 50 million. That many people in the country but the coincidence cliches will only definitely lead to one person: Ryu Joon Yeol plays Je Soo Ho, the wunderkind CEO of Zeze Game Corporation. Following the usual formulaic characters of a romcom genre, the billionaire child prodigy has some troubled past beneath the strong facade and supercilious behavior.

The whole set-up is overly familiar except for Bo Nui’s ridiculous credence in fortune telling. I read that this story was adapted from a webtoon,hence I treated it as if I were watching an anime so I wasn’t bothered by that much slapstick. I’ve also seen wackier plot lines in Japanese dramas so I am more tolerant of exaggeration.  Hwang Jung Eum still reminds me of her previous role in She Was Pretty;though it seems that she’s donning Min Ha Ri’s hair style this time. But thanks to Secret and Kill Me Heal Me, I have learned to appreciate how she gives a certain depth to the over-the-top and ditzy characters she plays and Bo Nui has some solid cause on why she’s so resolute on following superstitions.

I think my problem is I am still not feeling the chemistry between the leads YET and I can’t feel the comedy in this romcom since the supposedly funny scenes were done a bit unnaturally.

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I don’t really want to criticize Ryu Jun Yeol’s looks because I like him. To have 7 films in a year and to be able to match Hwang Jung Eum’s vivacity, this is definitely an acting feat.  But for a character as smart and cheeky as Je Soo Ho, the actor should be on a certain level of hotness, which I think Jun Yeol fell slightly short of. It also doesn’t help that Soo Ho reminds me of Hyuga Toru, the IT genius in Rich Man Poor Woman as well as Cha Ji Hun, the handsome boss who suffers from panic attack in Protect the Boss; both of which were played by extremely charismatic actors, Oguri Shun and Ji Sung respectively. I’m watching Another Oh Hae Young and Beautiful Gong Shim these days and there are times when I can’t help but imagine Eric or Nam Goong Min acting as Je Soo Ho instead. I’m going give this a couple more episodes though, since I believe Jun Yeol can make women fall for him just as much as when he played Jung Hwan in Reply 1988.

Just as most people would probably continue debating about Ryu Jun Yeol being attractive or not for the role, I think Lucky Romance is also going to be an ‘either you like it or not’ kind of drama. It’s totally subjective and so far, I don’t like it that much. But I don’t hate it enough to drop it.

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