Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Fortune Salon (2009)

Fortune Salon (Review)
Kim Jin-Young/Park Ye-Jin, Im Chang-Jung/2009
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...humor was great, but it didn't feel like there was much romance..."

A famous fortuneteller with a cursed love life finds her destiny in a former horse jockey who now collects horse urine for drug tests.

Fortune Salon follow Tae-rang (Park Ye-Jin), the famous fortunetelling shaman, as she tries to date Seung-won (Im Chang-Jung), who she believes she's destined to be with because of the fortune her mother gave her as a child. Problem is: they are polar opposites. Tae-rang is very serious about her love life and profession, while Seung-won is more of a carefree goofball. The story starts off very funny, but loses some momentum during the second half. Much like every other romantic comedy out there, the ending is as predictable as ever; the scenes during the credits are funny, though.

Fortune Salon is a good comedy. I liked the slapstick and quirky humor. Seung-won, although often arrogant, is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Tae-rang has a few funny scenes, too. I also liked the humor surrounding fortune telling, it makes for some unique comedy. But, as a romance film, it just doesn't work very well. I know Tae-rang's character is supposed to be closed-hearted, but this makes it so the pair rarely have any chemistry. They have scenes together, they hold hands and all, but it never feels like a genuine romance.

Im Chang-Jung delivers a charismatic and quirky performance. Park Ye-Jin, on the other hand, feels bland. Most of the time, she looks bored -- again, maybe it's because of the character. Otherwise, the film looks good and sounds good. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream are good, too -- a couple of spelling and grammatical errors, but nothing detrimental. Director Kim Jin-Young, director of Baby and Me, fails to spark up a romance, but succeeds in crafting many funny situations; the film is also very well balanced and paced, aside from a few slow moments.

Overall, Fortune Salon is a decent film. The story is mostly good, at least until its cliche and predictable final act. The humor was great, but it didn't feel like there was much romance going on. I liked Im Chang-Jung's performance and character, but felt like he was underutilized. Park Ye-Jin plays the close-hearted character well, but maybe too well -- she just doesn't seem too into the role. It's not a film you'll hate yourself for not watching, so it is a decent time killer.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some sexual reference.

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