Seducing Mr. Perfect


Reviewed by: sukting

April 01, 2007

Rating: three-point-five

Foreword
This is Daniel's Henney's first movie. How does he fare on the big screen? Many thanks to Qi Rui for passing me the tickets which enabled me to enjoy this comedy.

Story

Robin Heiden is a fund managing director of a car company. He knows 5 languages and is planning to buy over a Japanese company from Mr. Hiroshino. Robin refuses to give in as he finds them too demanding. The Korean branch needs him so he flies to Korea after the first round of discussion.

Min Joon lies to her boss on having an appendix operation in order to be with her boyfriend, Joon Hyun. She flies to Hong Kong but he never turns up. Feeling dejected, she returns to work. She bumps into an exotic foreign car. A very handsome young man steps out of the car angrily. To escape from the scene, Min Joon pretends not to understand English. She still loses out to him when he manages to take her name card after snapping her photo and getting her handphone number!

She nearly faints upon knowing that her lipstick mark was on her face as her car has landed in a jerk and he has her photo. When Min Joon arrives at work, she finds out that the foreigner, Robin, is none other than her newly appointed boss. He chooses her as his assistant and also sees through her lie as she doesn't know that the appendix lies on the right side!

Robin brings Min Joon to an associate dinner. He wants her to pretend that she doesn't know English to spy on their England business rivals' information. She blows her cover when she knocks into one and wets his suit and apologises in English instead! She is witty to remain calm and manages to get the details. He picks on her wrong pronunciation on the word 'fault' and she is annoyed.

Min Joon has hoped that her good working performance will make Robin change his mind of wanting her to pay for the car damages. But she is annoyed when he insists that business is still business. Seeing that Joon Hyun rejects all her calls, he shakes his head. That is the same tactic that he uses for rejections. Robin offers to give her a dinner treat but she rejects him to go to clean Joon Hung's home, lying that she is going for a hot date. But he still doesn't return to upset her.

Robin returns to his hotel suite to have dinner alone. He can't stop looking at a photo in his wallet. It shows an old man wearing a car mechanic uniform hugging a boy. Min Joon pours her woes over Joon Hyun to her colleague, Bryan, but Robin overhears her. So his guess is correct. Min Joon sees Joon Hyun dating another woman. She tries to keep her cool but ends up pulling Joon Hyun's shirt.

He brushes her aside and Robin comes to her. He notices that she doesn't know the rules of love. Min Joon, an absolute believer in true love, dedicates herself to the men she dates, but each time it results in a painful breakup. She is offended, saying that he doesn't know love at all. He says calmly that he knows since a bullet has passed his body. He then challenges her to win him over.

Refusing to admit defeat, she comes up with tactic 1. She buys a new flowery dress to work, which is very different from her usual subtle colours. The others are attracted to her but Robin adds that the frock is like what his grandmother has worn to put her down! (This man can be so sarcastic)

Tactic 2 – clean his office to please him. She sees an old mechanic uniform among his hanging suits and gives it to the cleaners. Robin flares up and demands her to get it back. She has to search for it through the whole rubbish dump. When she returns it, he is still expressionless, telling her that she has not done her check on the Japanese company. She then sets to find out the details.

After finding it, she knocks on his door twice but he hasn't heard her, distracted by the photo. She comes in with the file and leans over his shoulder. But he quickly hides it and tells her to get out. She is curious but doesn't ask anymore. But later when he is not in office and leaves his wallet on his table, she looks at it.

Min Joon finally comes up with tactic 3 – to look for him in his hotel room. She deliberately loosens the upper buttons of her blouse, hoping to attract him. Alas – Robin opens the door without wearing his shirt! Her heart beats extremely fast and has difficulty breathing upon seeing his good built! She gets to see the bullet scar on his chest. Robin wonders what is so important to come to look for him at night.

Robin wears his shirt and gets to his work desk. Min Joon requests Robin to show her the ropes of seduction but is annoyed when he looks at his laptop to work instead. He still listens to her but refers her to an old 386 computer which is hard to upgrade as the inner parts are beyond redemption! She gulps the glass of water and he gives her a chance to prove her worth at work.

Her colleague, Bryan is unhappy when Robin thinks her suggestion is better and gives her the chance. Min Joon feels bad for ruining Bryan's chances but Robin reminds her that this is the rule of the game. (Imagine how bad Bryan must have felt although Robin pats him on the shoulder when the two walk their way out facing him). She should not show mercy to her rival.

She comes up with tactic 4 – prepare lunch for him. She places a note and smiles to herself – it should work this time. But Robin passes the lunch box to another colleague, Hae Jin! Dismayed, she runs away with the lunch box. It is a funny sight when seeing both women running along the corridor and down the staircase. She knocks into him and spills the contents onto the floor. But she gets frantic when the card is missing!

Min Joon is dragged by her friend to attend a blind date. This guy is demanding to want to hold their future wedding at a hotel and her family should pay for his family's expenses in hiring the bus for the guests. Min Joon seeks refuge in the toilet and wonders how to shake him away. Robin is now at the bar and smiles when reading Min Joon's card. (Does he dislike Korean food or he wants to upset her initially to delight her later?!)

She has asked him if she has passed the test. If so, meet her at the bar at 7PM. He waits till 8:10PM and doesn't see her so he calls her impatiently asking her if she knows the time. She answers his call in the toilet and her battery goes flat upon telling him she is on a blind date. He yells – does she think that he is so free to wait an hour for her? The other customers in the bar stare at him. Min Joon does not get to hear his answer.

Robin gets back to exercise on the treadmill. He is still furious but can't resist calling Min Joon again. Here she is wrestling with her brother, Eun Joon on who should pay the supper bill. He ends up losing to her and both are exhausted. Eun Joon puffs profusely when answering Robin's call and he is startled. Min Joon then takes over to reply that she is busy. This gives Robin a bad impression as he can't help feeling disappointed in her. (This is the highlight of the movie – their expressions are simply priceless!)

Hae Jin is excited on her birthday and changes her usual conservative dressing to a sleeveless dress as her colleagues celebrate her birthday with her. She has heard that Robin likes women with big breasts so she tries to be sexy. Min Joon steals her limelight when she turns up in a slimy red dress after putting bra padding to enlarge her breasts!

Robin frowns when she runs on stage to sing and also do a seducing dance. Laugh when she loses balance to stump on the floor instead. A jealous Robin presumes this is how she dressed for her blind date the other night. Both declare that they have never lost in bets and set for a drink contest. The other colleagues watch nervously and their eyes pop out when Min Joon spouts nonsense.

Min Joon laughs – is her pronunciation accurate now when drunk? She even snaps at Robin to shut up to the amazement of others. All are appalled that she is so daring to talk back to their boss. (This is also another funny highlight.) She gets drunk earlier than him.

Min Joon's bra padding is seen after Robin places her down on her home staircase from his back. Robin tries so hard to hide his grin. He holds her – is she okay? She laughs that she will not allow him to kiss her but she takes the initiative to kiss him instead!

A colleague, Dong Wok worships Min Joon as an idol for daring to tell Robin to shut up when drunk. He has told Robin her address to send her home. She gasps in horror as she has no recollection at all. Min Joon tells Robin that she tends to get over the top when tipsy. The kiss is a mistake. He nearly jumps although Manager Deon gives him the correct information on the rival company – a mistake?!

When told that a guest is waiting for her at the lift area, Min Joon gets down with Robin who is going out. She nearly faints upon seeing his necklace – she finally remembers what happens and bangs her head against the wall. She tries hard to hide from her prospective blind date when seeing him at the lift with a bouquet of flowers. She gets into Robin's car to get away.

Robin can't hide his delight upon knowing she wrestled with her brother the other night. Knowing that she longs to take a ferry and although it is working hours, he leads her on it and both have an enjoyable time. (This is overusing the authority as the boss.) They take a photo together and she keeps it. Min Joon meets Joon Hyun at the office lobby. He wants reconciliation and Robin stops him from grabbing her hand.

He is crestfallen upon hearing Min Joon telling Joon Hyun that he is her boss. He lets go of his grip on Joon Hyun. The supposedly 10 minute talk becomes 2 hours. She decides to give Joon Hyun a final chance. She approaches Robin for help but he ignores her. She is just an old 386 pc hard to upgrade into a Pentium. He later gives in to her. However, she gets jealous when seeing his U.S. counterpart, Jennifer coming to them.

Min Joon is just too nice and has the unfortunate habit of showering her boyfriends with gifts and attention. He wants her to work the other way round to be treated like a queen. Robin has a jog in the park in the morning to learn about his promotion to managing director in the U.S. branch and his boss reminds him to return to U.S. the next week. He holds a party at his home.

Min Joon is down when Jennifer answers the door. She is startled to know that Robin is leaving Korea. Min Joon witnesses Robin pushing Jennifer aside. Jennifer flares up and asks if this is the result of her keeping tabs on his business rivals. He replies coldly that he has never treated her like his girlfriend and Min Joon is only a woman that he works with. Min Joon is hurt and decides to leave.

When seeing her, Robin hurries to the door. Min Joon gives a forced smile and tells him that she is going to get married soon. This is like dropping a bombshell and he is unprepared. Joon Hyun prefers the past Min Joon and she breaks up with him. She tells Robin about it. Maybe she isn't destined to be in love. Robin consoles her - it is just that she has not met the right man.

Seeing that it is going to rain soon, he tells her to return to the hotel with him... (Please don't get the wrong idea) there is an umbrella in his room and she should take it. She gets shy and declines his offer to runs across the road. He almost has a heart attack when a cab driver nearly knocks her down. He scolds her for being careless but this is like music to her ears. Although she denies that she likes him or he likes her, she discovers that she starts to like him.

Jennifer asks Min Joon out to tell her about Robin's past. This is the first time she sees him reacting like this. His first love encounter ended in a disaster. He refused to believe that his ex-girlfriend is leaving him for another man till she leaves a bullet wound on his chest a year later. (I heard many women cursing in the cinema when watching it - this woman must be blind.) Min Joon starts to feel sorry for him as she glances at him and Mr. Hiroshino from the car mirror as she drives the car.

Both parties start to discuss the terms and Mr. Hiroshino suddenly refuses to change the name of the company although he agrees to sell his company to them. Robin is stuck with it - they have overlooked this clause in the agreement. Robin's subordinates do not understand why he insists on changing the name. It is very important that the Japanese preserve the company name.

Robin discloses the truth so Min Joon explains the matter to Mr. Hiroshino. Robin's grandfather had worked for the car company for 30 years till the day he died. But he had no regrets and Robin, as a boy, has given his promise that he would make sure that he would buy over the company to change it to his grandfather's name. Now this grandson is waiting outside the conference room, waiting to fulfil the promise.

Mr. Hiroshino decides to think it over and persuade his other directors. He praises Robin for getting a good assistant. Robin thanks her for the help and starts to describe her as the loveliest woman that he has come across. Upon seeing her turning around and about to leave, he finally confesses that he loves her.

She is touched and hugs him back. They share a passionate kiss as he locks her in his arms. Robin confesses that he has wanted to kiss her at first sight after seeing her lips. She brings him to see her parents and her father is enraged upon knowing that he has no intention of marrying her in the present moment even though he is dating her now. (Is there a sequel? Well, I am waiting eagerly for it!)

Interesting facts

Jing Hwa is labeled as Korea's Madonna. Will she go all out to get her man as in the movie? Her answer is yes if the man is as charming as Daniel. Many praised her for speaking the English lines well but she confessed that she committed most to memory as her standard was not that good.

Daniel's charm was immortalised in his debut movie, Seducing Mr Perfect. But the man himself thought he was far from ideal. He was once a high-school rebel full of 'dissatisfaction and greed', who threw eggs at school buses 'for no reason'. Born in Michigan as an only child, he also fought with other kids who discriminated against his mixed parentage.

At first, he was worried that the character was too different from his real self. But that was why he was satisfied because Robin was completely different from Daniel. Everything, from his meanness to being materialistic to the way he acts towards women.

The director had wanted Daniel to yell or throw things around the room in angry scenes - the usual way that Koreans will do to create an outburst. But Daniel argued that foreigners do not react the same way and he managed to do it in his style.

In real life, Daniel remains the humble and approachable chap known to sweep both journalists and fans off their feet with his killer grin. He is also applauded for his frank and open ways. Daniel had a girl who almost collapsed in front of him in a Los Angeles shopping centre. She and her friend had just watched the movie earlier. The attention that he got was incredible although he had wished more to see his fans' lit up expressions instead.

Watching the adorable Henney play Robin, some might hope he would relax a little and be himself, like his image as an approachable gentleman. But the role of boss seemed to make his expression rigid and grim throughout the movie until he says all women's favorite statement: "You are more beautiful than any woman I've met in my life." Speaking of the character Robin, Henney said he formed it based on someone he knew in real life – his high school basketball coach.

Daniel was nominated for the newcomer awards at various film awards for this role.

Conclusion
The story is very simple – an ordinary woman who is a loser in love finally gets her man as her handsome boss falls for her. It is a wonderful dream to women – many will surely like this film especially when the boss is the stunning looking Daniel. His role, Robin looks aloof and distant but he is actually a volcano about to erupt any minute.

The plot is illogical at times. It is weird indeed to see the two leads making conversations in Korean and English. However, this doesn't come as a surprise to me as I have seen Dennis O'Neil doing the same in 'Sweet Spy' although I have wished Daniel to say some Korean lines.

Luckily, Uhm's vivacity and versatile expressions often make up for Henney's straightforward lines. Daniel's role in "Seducing Mr Perfect" seems custom built for him considering his background, education and overall demeanour, something that could have been toned down in retrospect. But however could he seemingly Mr Perfect, if he was identifiable with any real life men?

There's an undeniable chemistry shared between Min Joon and the often tacit, perceptive Robin that progresses on through the film with the requisite humour, good-natured tussle of emotions. Min Joon is over her prime and often hears her peers tease her about her "love handles," but she looks so sexy and endearing that one can't help but wonder how she could be a loser in the game of love. Especially when her ex-boyfriends are egoistic plain Johns?!

Jing Hwa and Daniel complement each other well. One is lively and chatty while another is stern but yet can send all sprawling on the floor from laughter with his sarcastic remarks. It is hard not to like her when she isn't afraid to make a fool of herself to become a natural comedian. The way that Min Joon is confused over love is very well depicted. Many will admire her splendid performance.
It is a refreshing change to see Daniel acting as a working professional in business suits. It is also a must for Daniel's fans where he shows off his perfect built after swimming and his voice when he sings. (Sad to say, both factors are missing from the Singapore cinema due to unnecessary cuts. I hope fans in other countries have better luck) His role does not require much acting but we can see an improvement of him in here from 'My name is Kim Sam Soon'. It is a romantic comedy which will definitely brighten up your day if you can overlook the thin plot.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)


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