Penny-Pinching Romance Recap


As promised last week, here’s the post I’ve been meaning to write concerning Song Joong Ki and Han Ye Seul‘s latest movie, Penny-Pinching Romance. It really is one of the most enjoyable Korean rom-com movies I’ve watched, though I must admit that I’m not as well-versed about Korean movies as I am about Korean dramas. Also, I’m happy to have collaborated with kaedejun to bring out this conversational recap of the movie. Without her onboard for this recap, this post would’ve never made it past the drafts box. Disclaimer: We weren’t able to recap every little scene in the movie, but we were able to cover the gist of it. Now, gear up as we head into one of 2011’s cutest movies! Get ready to smile!

endodo: After watching Penny-Pinching Romance with you in the theaters and seeing Song Joong Ki all adorable has suddenly turned me into a huge fan. MINE. God, he’s so freaking cute. I love him! And I hope the people sitting nearby couldn’t hear me squealing the entire time. I was practically dying from all the spazzing.

kaedejun: No kidding. It took a bit to make sure you’d calm down while viewing. But I will admit – Song Joong Ki literally stole the movie in this one. It’s like Han Ye Seul was left to be forgotten in this little movie, even though she was the main female lead.

endodo: Hey, you can’t blame me! And it could’ve been worse. If we watched it at my place, I would’ve been spazzing and flailing until the neighbors and their dogs came pounding at the door. As for Han Ye Seul, I totally agree that alas, she couldn’t hold her own against our beloved cutie pie.

kaedejun: ……….. So! Premise? SPOILERS ABOUND people.

endodo: Our hero is Ji Woong (Song Joong Ki), an immature, irresponsible young man. In fact, the movie begins with Ji Woong laying on a table the morning after his drunken stupor. (But hot damn, if Song Joong Ki looks that hot when he’s hungover, I wouldn’t mind having drinks with him every night.) A woman’s voice from nearby calls out to him and asks him if he wouldn’t mind giving his empty bottles to her. He slowly gains consciousness and agrees. The next thing you know, our heroine (Han Ye Seul) has gathered all his bottles and piled them into a trash bag. From the outset, it’s obvious that she’s frugal and terribly good at knowing all the tricks in the trade to earn some good money. The reason she gathers all those bottles is so she can recycle them. Don’t you know how much you can earn with a few beer bottles, she asks. And that’s how their relationship in this story begins.

kaedejun: He’s got no money to his name, having owed nearly three months’ rent, but spending all his time riding with his Vespa gang. (Gas ain’t cheap!) That’s how he meets Minty – a pretty girl who gets a job. *cue OOOOH SHE’S SO GROWN UP! groans* And he lies that he has a job too, to impress her. With SK Telecom. *snark* Dressed in a suit and tie, he meets up with Minty for drinks, and they end up in bed. And OMG Song Joong Ki can KISS! Kyaaaa! *Eyes must be covered! Must preserve my innocence of Song Joong Ki*

endodo: Dude’s not that innocent, honey. He spends his leisure time watching porn from his laptop and projects it onto the wall so he can get a bigger picture! And he masturbates a lot. Talk about awkward, but I admit that his um, manliness — if you can call it that — is also pretty hot.  What’s even funnier in that bed scene is that, just when things are getting hot and heavy — and believe me, I was fanning myself during the make-out scene and was also busy making voodoo dolls of Minty — they don’t have a condom handy. So Ji Woong runs to the nearest convenience store. There, he doesn’t have enough money to purchase one and tries to bargain with the cashier, and finally, out of desperation, tries to distract the poor guy by yelling and pointing out, “A UFO!” ROFLLLLL. Of course the guy barely bats an eyelash and totally doesn’t buy it. Just then, another customer walks in and diverts the cashier’s attention. Seizing the moment, Ji Woong grabs the condom box and runs the heck out of there. Only to find out he grabbed a box of mints in his haste instead. Bwahaha.

kaedejun: Utter fail. Back to Hong Sil — she’s always on the lookout for ways to save money, especially since growing up with her gambling father has taught her to be prudent. She hears of the district being redeveloped, and an agent telling her that if she sells over her place, she will be able to make a lot of money from it. She overhears of Ji Woong’s problems with the landlady, and offers to pay off his rent behind his back. In return, the landlady will put the apartment under Hong Sil’s father’s name, and she will be able to “redeem” both apartments for double the money. Perfect scheme!

endodo: Ji Woong isn’t an idiot and immediately jumps on the offer. Besides, he’s got a “girlfriend” to support. In addition to the shoes and clothes to keep his love wubby dovey, the extra cash will also come in handy when he’s in dire need of condoms. Heh, just sayin’.

kaedejun: Horny boyfriend + high maintenance girlfriend = very pricey relationship, and one to keep a secret from Hong Sil. Since Ji Woong is in need of a home, she offers him a place on her roof (in a tent, nonetheless) and orders him to do everything she says. She’ll pay him for it, and she’ll give him his own bank account. The bank account is really under her name, and an extension of her wealth. Her investment banker suggested she do that to avoid auditing.

endodo: First things first, Hong Sil goes through Ji Woong’s things, taking the saying, “one person’s junk is another’s treasure!” literally. She sells out so many of his things, down to every scrap of metal, and helps him make a couple hundred bucks in just a couple of hours. She also forces him to really select what he wants since the stuff that he really needs must fit in four small boxes.

kaedejun: (He cheats by wearing half the things on his body. What – I would too!) She makes him deposit every single cent into the account she set up for him. Money’s allowed to go in, but never out of the account. She spots his Vespa parked on the side of the street, and he literally BEGS her not to sell it. It’s useful, you see! He can get around much faster with it. It’s not the same as walking or taking the public transportation!

endodo: So on to his menial chores. He literally becomes her business partner. They go around to restaurants in the countryside selling fake celebrities’ autographs. They hunt through trash for some scraps to sell. They come up with random ideas like glow-in-the-dark shuttlecocks for badminton at night; they go to a park and play with others there, then orchestrate a mini blackout where all the park lights shut off. While the others are forced to pause, Hong Sil and Ji Woong can continue because of their glow-in-the-dark shuttlecocks! Buying frenzy ensues!

kaedejun: One day, they go to the countryside so that Hong Sil can visit a tree with deep roots a ribbon tied to its branches. Turns out, that’s where Hong Sil buried her mother. Unable to pay for a proper funeral because of her father’s gambling debt, she scattered her mother’s ashes here. She would bring a red bean ice cream pop as an offering, and eat one with her. Hong Sil reminisces about her time with her mother, and how the two of them used to watch a classic Korean TV movie that airs every winter during the holiday season together.

endodo: SOMETHING SAD HAPPENS and afterwards, it’s obvious that Ji Woong’s starting to fall for her. To cheer her up, he shows her how useful his Vespa can be. He drives her to a huge plaza where there are TVs in the window displays. The two of them catch a showing of the classic Korean movie Hong Sil talked about. Ji Woong even drags over a metal bench for them to sit on. So cute.

kaedejun: At the end of it, Hong Sil is sniffling… and Ji Woong is BAWLING. Cry baby. Aww – noona is here!! (Wait, he’s actually my oppa… Anyways – I’m HERE FOR YOU!)

endodo: On to the more serious stuff! Hong Sil finds that she’s terrible at dating because she’s so inexperienced and constantly asks Ji Woong for some advice. He even buys her an eyeliner/mascara wand as a way of thanks, and she initially refuses it, not knowing how to use it. However Hong Sil warms up to him, and she asks for help so that she can make some moves on her investment banker. Too bad he actually has another girlfriend from Hong Kong.

kaedejun: Hong Sil finds out that the land where her mother’s tree is going to be converted into a golf resort, and so the tree is going to be uprooted. With her vast funds, Hong Sil decides to purchase the land so that no one can touch it.

endodo: However, it soon turns out her investment banker and his “girlfriend” were scammers. Consequently, all of Hong Sil’s money disappears. Because the banker handled Hong Sil’s account “privately,” she can’t be reimbursed through the company he works at. Hong Sil falls into despair, having saved up so much but lost it all so suddenly. Her last resort is Ji Woong’s account, and so she wants to take it away from him.

kaedejun: Of course, Ji Woong raises his arms in protest, having thought that that money was his. Crap – and this all happens AFTER they have the awesomest dinner on the roof and it’s so clear that they’re falling for each other. Or more like, Han Ye Seul looks drunk and happy, and Song Joong Ki looks like he’s falling for her. I can’t tell with the expression on Han Ye Seul’s emotionless face.

endodo: During the chaos following Hong Sil’s financial loss, she discovers the receipt of the $800 plus shoes, and finds out where he spent his money. At the same time, he discovers that she bought out his apartment and then sold it to the redevelopers behind his back. Of all the things to happen, Hong Sil also gets the bad news that her mother’s tree is getting uprooted because the entire land will be redeveloped into a park. This obviously just worsens the situation and the relationship between Ji Woong and Hong Sil.

kaedejun: A few days later, Ji Woong finds out that Hong Sil never took the money in his account, and gave it to him instead. So what does he do? He sells everything he owns, even his beloved Vespa! And he scrapes together just enough money to purchase the tree – which just got uprooted and was just about to be planted in the building complex. The next morning, SURPRISE! Ji Woong is back at Hong Sil’s roof, and he’s planted the tree next to their building. (What will happen to that tree when the land gets redeveloped? Will it be uprooted again?!)

endodo: It’s a grand gesture that touches Hong Sil, much less the audience. All the trouble he took just to save that tree to fully win the heart of the girl he loves. Hong Sil asks him what kind of girls he likes, and he answers that he likes someone just like her. So adorbs. They end the movie with the two kissing. And we all know how that’s gonna go down… Rawr!

kaedejun: Yunno, I totally wish I were Han Ye Seul, and I had a guy as immature and irresponsible, but absolutely caring as Song Joong Ki This is where you get your unrealistic romantic-comedy moment because you just want a guy like him to exist in the world just for you – even though the only way to do that is to probably hunt down Song Joong Ki himself.

endodo: I think one of the highlights to his movie has got to be Song Joong Ki’s noona pout wiggle. He’s a master. Compared to him, I’m a n-o-o-b. You have no idea how good he is and this is something that’s better understood when watched than read. He wiggles and pouts, all the while saying “noona” in a singalong tone. No wonder he’s part of the noona slayers. Don’t believe me? Then see it to believe it!

kaedejun: Even the old crabby halmeoni down the street will fall for it.

endodo: Not that we’d blame her. Everyone wants a piece of Song! Joong! Ki!  Anyway, I really, really watching this film, perhaps even more so because I was watching it with you! Heehee. I have to say that this film really brought out Song Joong Ki’s potential as a leading man, because without him, this drama would’ve fallen short by a long run.

kaedejun: I totally enjoyed watching this with you too! Song Joong Ki is such a man in this movie that I forgot about his baby face at times. He’s charming, and witty, and such a dirty guy. All this while next to Han Ye Seul, who’s less interesting. I’ll give her one thing: she’s awfully sweet and innocent when she asks Ji Woong advice on love. But her character isn’t so much an interesting character as it is more of a catalyst to Ji Woong growing up. While the film is supposed to be a romantic comedy about these two people learning to love, I feel like the focus is on Song Joong Ki and how he grows up and becomes worthy to love.

endodo: Yup. I think we pretty much covered everything. Song Joong Ki and Han Ye Seul may not have had the best chemistry with one another, but that didn’t bother me as much because I came into this movie knowing that Han wasn’t a great actress. She’s not that bad, but she’s known for not being to emote well. That being said, Penny-Pinching Romance is all about Song Joong Ki, from beginning to end. Which is why it’s the perfect movie to cheer one up during the holidays, when one needs some holiday cheer! Song Joong Ki FTW!

kaedejun: *rolls eyes, while stealthily handcuffing him to self…*

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10 thoughts on “Penny-Pinching Romance Recap

  1. I need subtitles, dammit! Sometimes I hate that I don’t know Korean.

    But OMG, isn’t SJK growing up well? We had flashes of that serious charisma in Sungkyunkwan Scandal last year, but this seems to be the year he’s really broken out.

    • He is growing up, oh yes he is! Not at all in a bad way, either. He’s turning into one of the hottest Korean men in the industry! I agree that he really has stepped out in the industry this year, and it seems that he’ll soon be cast in more movies and dramas. Or so we hope!

    • I hope you can find it online soon in a few months. This one’s a great rom-com, but only because of Song Joong Ki! (I feel like I said that a million times already. SJK SJK SJK!)

    • Nope, it’s not online yet since it just premiered in Korean theaters a month ago. You might have to wait until the DVD comes out, which won’t be for a while. We watched this movie at a Korean theater in the U.S.

  2. SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS…. LOL. I think this happened after Hong Shil went to her “date” with her crush wearing that awful outfit that aged her 10 years older, only to found out that his crush brought another girl to the movie theater. I dunno.. not really sure. This means.. I HAVE TO REWATCH THIS MOVIE.

    Song Joong Ki’s noona pout and wiggle just slayed me for good. Although I really really want to call him Oppa.. he can technically call me Noona since I am older by just a few months!

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