Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
My Annoying Brother: Plan B for Judo Gold
Korea offers its Olympic medalists a pretty significant fringe benefit:
exemption from mandatory military service. That no longer matters to Ko
Du-young. The former Olympic judo contender went blind after his optic nerve
was damaged in a match. He would still be entitled to the same financial bonus
as a Paralympic champion, but Ko has given up on himself. His estranged conman
half-brother is the wrong person to motivate him, but slimy Ko Du-sik moves in
anyway in Kwon Soo-kyung’s My Annoying
which opens tomorrow in Los Angeles.
Ko brothers have not spoken since he ran away from home ten years ago. In the
meantime, Ko Du-young handled their parents’ funerals on his own and found his
place in the world through judo. Despite their lack of contact, Ko Du-sik uses
his brother’s blindness to secure early parole. He intends to loot the
supposedly helpless Du-young as best he can before absconding. However, a few
awkwardly embarrassing incidents force Du-sik to keep up appearances for longer
than he anticipated. Yet, just as the brothers start to come together as a
family again, Du-sik gets some shocking news of his own.
that Olympic money could really help secure Du-young’s future. His bombshell
coach Lee Soo-hyun is even willing to transfer to the Paralympic division with
him. She also agrees to keep silent regarding Du-sik’s secret, to maintain
Du-young’s focus on the competition.
though Kwon film shares many surface commonalities with My Blind Brother, the two films are very different animals.
Du-young being the nice guy brother is really the least of it. Basically, Kwon
takes the sort of tragedy Korean audiences enjoy so much in romantic melodrama
and applies it to Bromance. There is some comedy too, particularly courtesy of
Dae-Chang, a seminary drop out who keeps crossing paths with Du-sik in the
neighborhood. Still, everyone can tell from the start it is all leading up to a
big “I love you, man” moment.
some transparent manipulation, Kwon and screenwriter Yu Young-ah deliver some
surprising sweet and telling moments celebrating the importance of family
bonds. Cho Jung-seok has a roguish charm as Du-sik and the bickering chemistry
he develops with Kim Gang-hyun’s Dae-chang is somewhat amusing. Yet, believe it
or not, the funniest line is delivered by K-drama-superstar-girl-next-door Park
Shin-hye. She definitely brings her “it”-factor as Coach Lee. K-pop boy-band
star Do Kyung-soo (a.k.a. D.O.) sulks and mopes as well as anyone, but he just
never gets Du-young much further than that.
Annoying Bro is a nice and sincere
film that occasionally surprises just by so deftly turning some third act
scenes. Although it is undeniably sentimental, somehow it takes the snark out
of viewers. Recommended for fans of heartfelt k-drama and teen movies, My Annoying Brother opens this Thursday
P.M. (12/8) in Los Angeles, at the CGV Cinemas.
Labels: Korean Cinema, Park Shin-hye