K-drama ● Review: Uncontrollably Fond
English Title: Uncontrollably Fond
Korean Title: 함부로애틋하게 [lit. recklessly fond]
Director(s): Park Hyun-suk, Cha Young-hoon
Screenwriter(s): Lee Kyung-hee
Studio: Samhwa Networks Released: 2016
Runtime: 20 episodes, ~1h each.
Starring: Kim Woo-bin, Bae Suzy, Im Joo-wan, Im Ju-eun
My Verdict: Attempts to be melodramatic emotion porn and fails. It’s not quite Uncontrollably Farcical but there are moments it’s so bad that it’s funny.
● Shin Joon-young (Kim Woo-bin) is a popular actor and Noh Eul (Bae Suzy) is a producer of documentaries. The two knew each other from high school but have not been in contact for years. So, when these two re-unite, it’s somewhat presented as a “second-chance romance melodrama”.
● Problem: there is very little to indicate there was a “first chance” to begin with. The two went to the same high school. There was a reason, quite a lame one on Joon-young’s part, to pretend to date. They had some contact during college/university as well. I didn’t sense any meaningful connection between these two in the past—which is fine in itself—but it is presented as if there was, as if all that somehow (emotionally) leads to their present-day choices. It doesn’t.
● As the series progress, bits of their past are conveniently conjured up as if to make sense of the present-day plot. It is also a forced attempt to boost the emotional charge. And it does neither.
● Within the first few episodes, we see Eul collapse on the side of the road and, in a separate incident, suffer the mandatory K-drama-female-lead-gets-hit-by-a-car. (The fact that it’s a flashback makes no difference. The audience is seeing it.) These dramatic moments need to be earned, not whipped out in the opening episodes when we know little about the characters. It’s so bad that I actually laughed.
● Of course, we find out early on that Shin Joon-young is terminally ill. Except that doesn’t seem to shorten the 20-episode series.
● The minor characters, secondary conflicts, relationships and past connections are not uninteresting. Without being specific, these include the usual family problems plus the “skeletons in the closet”. In themselves, these are better written and executed than the primary relationship and conflict. However, when they do directly impact the main characters and their story, it can feel somewhat forced.
● I appreciate Kim Woo-bin’s performance; he plays Joon-young with attitude and with pathos. I wasn’t particularly convinced with Bae Suzy in any respect. Im Ju-eun as Jung-eun is memorable as the “bitch of the series”. It’s a shame her character is written with little dimension. The writing doesn’t help any of the cast.
● Overall, if you’re into nonsensical melodrama romance, then this is for you. Otherwise, it’s probably a waste of time despite a few laughs.
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