I will say it now: before viewing You’re My Pet, I had already seen and read both the Japanese drama and manga. Despite having a bias viewpoint, I decided to welcome the 2011 Korean remake with open arms. The movie opens with a career oriented woman (Eun-yi) seeking a pet. By coincidence she is introduced to a young man (Momo) who is willing to play the role in exchange for a place to stay. While he is living with her, she meets up with an old flame that intends to rekindle their love. Conflicted, she begins to wonder if she really sees Momo only as a pet.
I think ever since You’re Beautiful I have considered myself a fan of Jang Geun-seok, but it is approaching an end. His acting is average and he has a slightly cocky air to him that straddles between hot and just plain annoying. Not to mention the awful hairstyles that he sports, how can ANYONE find that attractive? On screen I didn’t see Momo, I saw Jang Geun-seok; he hardly brought his character to life. His costar, Kim Ha-neul (Road No. 1, My Tutor Friend), did the same. In fact I believe she was miscast, going for “sexy” rather than “unstoppable”. The other actors could have easily been replaced, they left behind no impression.
I know that as a reviewer I should forget that the movie has its predecessors and instead focus on what was set in front of me; but the franchise had a certain conflict/theme to it that was depicted as accurately as a blindfolded three year painting Mona Lisa. Even if I pretended that this movie was a stand-alone and it was the first of its type, it is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, requiring little mental capacity.
I do give the movie credit for trying to change things here and there; nobody likes rehashed stories. However I think this was mostly done to finish within the allotted time rather than to create something truly unique. Unfortunately the cons outweighed the pros, by a mountain full. The characters were completely thrown out of whack, and as a result things weren’t smooth or logical. I also hated that we were told the character’s personalities, rather than shown. Is it so much to ask that the viewers be trusted enough to have some common sense or deduction skills? Are we too simple to form an opinion of our own?
I tried my best not to compare the series or manga with the movie, but to no avail. Without doing so I would have little to talk about, because this movie is forgettable. The original had its protagonist portrayed as a woman who could kick ass, literally. She was so focused on maintaining her perfect image that she was unable to let anyone in. Thus when Momo came into her life, he became the gateway to her heart. A huge role reversal; women are usually the ones who soften men. Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? The Korean remake on the other hand, has Eun-yi in a less crass role, occasionally hinting that she has fire in her. When Momo comes into her life, he dominates and is obviously the “man” in the relationship. This is even seen in Eun-yi’s fling with the second love interest, wherein she was never given a chance to decide things on her own. As a result the franchise’s original stance on a woman’s empowerment was stifled.
The fact that they managed to warp such a good, insightful concept into something bubbly and cartoon-like KILLS me inside. Sure things looked nice, sharp, and colorful; but it was similar to watching a commercial. The biggest mistake that this film made was assuming that the already popular story line was enough to make it a success. Taking it into their hands, the movie was altered to cater a younger audience by inserting random clips of Jang Geun-seok singing and dancing. The second mistake was hiring whoever was in charge of the wardrobe. Since the character Momo is supposed to come off as cute as I am guessing they assumed that lip gloss and perm would do the job nicely, and oh how wrong they were.
Like Baby and Me, I can’t find that many people enjoying this film unless they are fans of Jang Geun-seok or have fetishes for men with permed hair. This movie has shamed the franchise and has demonstrated a closed minded attitude towards women by transforming a once independent character into a damsel in distress. But in truth, I don’t know how well I would have received this movie had I not been such an adamant follower of the series, though I did my best to view and analyze things objectively.