This was the first time I’ve seen him actually ACT. I’d only seen him before in the reality show, 1 Night 2 Days, where he’s a quiet and adorkable almost-ahjusshi, so you can imagine my surprise to see that not only could he act, but he could act WELL. That guy couldn’t crack a joke or be the center of attention on the show to save his life! The jokes that he did crack that got him attention usually resulted in him blushing bright red. I started watching the show from the first episode Tae-woong appeared in, that Javabeans and Girlfriday recapped on Dramabeans, and despite the hilariousness of the show, was scratching my head as to why they were drooling on him so much. They couldn’t get over how dorky he was in real-life. I, having seen him only on the show, couldn’t imagine him otherwise. That guy? Wooing girls? Being a star? Noooooo waaaayyyy… An episode of 1n2d where Tae-woong gets his acting praised by a few veteran actor guest stars turned out to be the catalyst I needed to go check him out for myself. I knew I should start with something light, and Cyrano Dating Agency seemed perfect. The fact that Park Shin-hye was in it too was just icing on the cake. Having watched it, I now understand GF and JB’s obsession with the ‘Uhm-Force’. Where do I sign up, please?
Cyrano Dating Agency (CDA from here onward) is basically Hitch(the Will Smith film) meets Roxanne(The Steve Martin film). Byung Hoon (Uhm Tae-woong) runs a ‘Dating Agency’ along with his four accomplices which promises to ‘make her fall in love with you…in secret’. As in, his team orchestrates entire confrontations controls the progression of the relationship between the two, down to the last detail. They use high-tech surveillance equipment to keep a close watch on everything, including military-grade communication chips. It’s HILARIOUS. The way they get a couple together is so funny. It’s all just a play. They give the guy lines and coach him on how to deliver them, though he never gets better than speaking in a monotone. The part I especially loved in the beginning was when they needed a rain-soaked encounter and the old guy simply says into his walkie-talkie,” We need more rain.” Torrents of rain erupt out of specially set up sprinklers in a nearby-tree. ROFL.
Anyways, they aren’t doing so well, financially, and it seems that their original idea had been to open a theatre company (how very fitting.), but they ended up doing this instead to make money. They get a client who happens to be in love with Byung-hoon’s ex (Heejoong, Gu Jun Pyo’s evil bitch fiance from BOF. and also PERSONAL FEELINGS INTERVENING ALERT for Byung-hoon). Byung-hoon still has feelings for her, and what went wrong between them isn’t exactly clear till the very end. Byung-hoon ends up having to take on the job, despite his reluctancy. There’s something so heartbreaking about a guy helping another dude fall in love with the girl he loves. He uses the memories he had with her to write the ‘script’ for the second guy (Sang-yong), making him remind her of him.
All in all, this movie is a good watch if you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy (which I’m not sure it is) that goes beyond the predictable. Relationships are revealed, layer by later, to be more complicated that initially thought and till the very end, you literally don’t know which one she’ll end up with; Sang-yong or Byung-hoon. The conflict is, if not practical in real life, interesting. The supporting characters, in my opinion, were the best. Park Shin-hye’s placid indifference and the comic relief the other two guys provided ensured that the movie never got boring. Usually in romantic comedies/dramas, the parts without the main characters gets almost painful to sit through. Thankfully not the case here. Uhm Tae-woong’s acting in particular was something to see. He’s such a natural in front of the camera, that it seems a given that he’d a cool dude in real life. The fact that he most definitely is not makes him even more attractive in my eyes. It’s a mystery how he can unflinchingly put himself out there in a film yet shy away from all attention on set of 1n2d. How can he kiss a girl in a film yet turn crimson at the slightest teasing from his fellow cast-members? ‘Tis a mystery to me…