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  Publicity Stills of
"My Sassy Girl"
(Courtesy of GV)

Director: Yann Samuell
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Jesse Bradford, Austin Basis, William Abadie
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: PG
Official Website: www.goldcirclefilms.com/movies/movie_my_sassy_girl.html

Opening Day: 4 September 2008


Straight-laced Charlie Bellow (Jesse Bradford) has a perfectly predictable life. Great grades, great future, no risks. That is, until he meets Jordan Roark (Elisha Cuthbert), a compulsive girl who lives every moment on the edge. As Jordan teaches Charlie to loosen up and let go, Charlie finds himself falling helplessly in love even as his life spins out of control. But Jordan's carefree attitude masks a painful secret, and when it threatens to tear them apart, Charlie will have to show her that once destiny guides you to the one you want, it's up to you to hold on.

Movie Review:

My Sassy Girl is the latest product of Hollywood’s recent obsession with remaking Asian movies. And sadly, like its predecessors from Tinseltown, it fails to live up to the charm of the original.

Much of the appeal of Kwak Jae Young’s 2001 bittersweet romantic comedy hit resided in its exuberant female lead, Gianna Jun (otherwise known as Jun Ji-hyun). Much of the lack of appeal of Yann Samuel’s remake resides in its annoying female lead, Elisha Cuthbert, better known for her roles in 24 and Captivity.

Though some may say that such comparisons are unfair, they are inevitable considering the lack of imagination of Victor Levin’s screenplay. Not to say that it is not faithful to the original, but Levin transplants entire scenes from the original’s Korean setting to its current New York locale with mixed results.

A lot of what is lost in translation rests on the subversion of gender roles in traditionally male-dominated Korean society, most prominently when “sassy girl” orders “bumbling guy” around. Most of such scenes are preserved here, but somehow without their cultural significance, they are at best comedic, at worst inane.

The buck then rests on Cuthbert to play the domineering but ultimately endearing “sassy girl”. Unfortunately, Cuthbert has neither the cuteness nor sassiness of Jun. Her portrayal of upper-class New York girl Jordan Roark comes across more annoying than amusing. Even with its twist ending (don’t worry, no spoilers ahead), Cuthbert fails to win the hearts of audiences like Jun did.

Fortunately, Jesse Bradford fares better as the ordinary working-class simpleton Charlie Bellow whose life and love is turned upside down by the appearance of Roark. The problem is Bradford and Cuthbert lack sufficient chemistry to convince us that we are seeing “the first and last time” Charlie is falling in love as his character says.

My Sassy Girl marks French director Yann Samuell’s debut Hollywood film. It is also his sophomore effort after Love Me If You Dare, a similarly fairytale-esque love story of childhood sweethearts Julien and Sophie whose pranks start innocent and turn dangerous.

Samuell tries to stamp his mark on this film by using the same animated sequences and confectionery colours in some parts. Yet these parts are few and far in between, and though delightful, appear disjointed with the rest of the film.
As far as romantic comedies go, My Sassy Girl isn’t the worst of the lot. As far as remakes go, just like many of its kind, it disappoints on the merits of its much superior predecessor. Considering its direct to DVD fate in the States, My Sassy Girl really fares much better as a lazy Saturday-night home movie than a theatrical release.

Movie Rating:

(Just okay for a date movie, but missing the 'sassiness' of its far superior predecessor and ultimately, undeserving of its local theatrical release)

Review by Gabriel Chong


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. Music & Lyrics (2007)

. The Lake House (2006)

. The Holiday (2006)

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