(Movie Review) 'My Annoying Brother': formulaic movie that works
By Shim Sun-ah
SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- "My Annoying Brother" plays out in such a conventional manner that it feels like a TV drama of the '70s except that it has an EXO member among its main cast.
The movie tells the story of two estranged half brothers who restore their brotherly love through an abrupt cohabitation. In telling the story, the movie follows the "rules" of typical well-intended Korean comedy films that stimulate funny bones at first and tear ducts in the second half.
This photo provided by CJ Entertainment shows Doh Kyung-soo (L) and Cho Jung-seok in a scene from "My Annoying Brother." (Yonhap)
For reference, it was written by Yoo Yeong-ah of the 2013 box-office hit "Miracle at Cell No. 7" and directed by Kwon Soo-kyung who debuted with "Barefoot Ki-bong" (2006), both similarly sentimental feel-good comedy films.
Ranging from the brothers visiting a public bath together to get closer to each other to an incident that served as a chance to draw reconciliation between the two and to the misfortune awaiting the brothers, the whole thing is pure formula.
There is nothing new with the characters, either. Cho Jung-seok's cute womanzier character and Park Shin-hye's boyish girl character, above all, are the reuse of their previous memorable characters in the domestic film "Architecture 101" (2012) and the television medical-romance drama "Doctors" that aired last summer, respectively. Doh Kyung-soo, the EXO member who is better known as his stage name "D.O," makes full use of his own upright and honest image for the younger brother character.
This photo provided by CJ Entertainment shows Cho Jung-seok in a scene from "My Annoying Brother." (Yonhap)
But "My Annoying Brother" makes it work anyway. The film is funny and watchable for many because no one goes to a comedy film expecting originality.
It's lead actor Cho Jung-seok's great performance as much as anything saves the film from its cliched foundations. And the well-timed moments of humor are almost enough to save it from abject ordinariness.
Cho plays Go Du-sik, a notorious con artist who has been convicted 10 times. He pleads for release on parole when his younger brother and national judo team player Doo-yeong (Doh) injures his optic nerve during a competition.
Du-sik gets released as his brother's caretaker, but what he really cares about is his own life and how to steal the brother's inherited wealth.
For Doo-yeong, who was in despair and hopelessness after losing his eyesight, Du-sik's abrupt visit is unwelcome. The family haven't heard anything from him since he ran away from home 15 years ago and Doo-yeong, above all, doesn't like him.
So the reunited brothers squabble over many issues like bitter enemies at the early stage of their unwelcome cohabitation. And that's where Cho's comic acting skills shine. He has the ability to turn even the lamest dialogue into sparkling and witty lines.
The singer-actor Doh's performance as a visually handicapped judo player was also very impressive.
The chemistry between the two lead actors goes a considerable way toward elevating the comical drama. That's crucial to a film that is, in essence, a love story.
"My Annoying Brother" is set to open in local theaters next Thursday.
This photo provided by CJ Entertainment shows Doh Kyung-soo in a scene from "My Annoying Brother." (Yonhap)