Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Penny Pinchers (2011)

Penny Pinchers (Review)
Kim Jung-Hwan/Song Joong-ki/2011
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"Both characters are hilarious..."

Ji-Woong (Song Joong-Ki) is jobless and living the carefree life. When he's booted out of his apartment, his extremely thrifty neighbor, Hong-Sil (Han Ye-Seul), lets him sleep outside of her rooftop apartment in a tent and offers to pay him $5000 if he does everything she says for two months...

Penny Pinchers continues as Hong-Sil teaches Ji-Woong how to make and save money using some unconventional methods. Digging through abandoned houses to resell whatever can be scavenged, selling bottles, selling voice recording, and so on -- things that don't cost much to do, but can bring a promising return. All at the same time, Ji-Woong wants to impress a crush through some hilarious lied, while Hong-Sil wants to impress her banker without spending a dime. There's a little more to the plot, but this is the bulk; we get some deep look into the characters, too. The ending slides into some very generic territory; it's disappointing considering how fresh the concept really is, and how generic the last 20 minutes are -- if you've seen any romantic comedies in your life, this ending is extremely predictable.

Penny Pinchers is a very funny film. The bulk of the film focuses on both leads, their thrifty work, and their extracurricular relationships, or lack thereof. The humor is very lighthearted and consistent; Hong-Sil covers the penny pinching humor, like stealing sugar from a cafe, while Ji-Woong is your clumsy, girl-chasing goofball. Both characters are hilarious in there own ways, and their different personalities add some variety into the film. It's a little too sweet sometimes, though, especially Ji-Woong, who really has a very childish personality: it was really aiming for a cute-type of comedy, for lack of a better term -- if that's your cup of tea, then you won't be disappointed. It is very well paced, too, so it's great for a night in or tip simply kill some time.

Song Joong-Ki is very charming and charismatic; a genuinely likable guy, and a real lady killer. Han Ye-Seul is equally charming and charismatic with her performance; her character is a bit more demanding, and she really nails it. (A real beauty, too.) Both leads dominate the screen and share great chemistry. The music fits the mood, very uplifting. It's also a well-shot movie, up to par with contemporary film. The English subtitles on the Netflix Streaming are near perfect, very few errors. Kim Jung-Hwan writes and directs this film, deliver a great comedic moments and two fantastic performances; a fresh concept executed superbly, although the ending is filled with genre tropes.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Penny Pinchers. I'm usually not a big fan of romantic comedies, but I really liked this film. Although it focuses on some romantic elements, I really think the bulk of the film works well as a pure comedy. The ending is the most disappointing aspect in the film, though.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some sexual references.

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