Director: Byun Sung-hyun
Starring: Kim Ah-joong, Ji Sung, Shin So-yul, Kang Kyung-joon
Whatcha Wearin’? aka My Phone Sex Partner, is the latest mature romantic comedy from Korea. When Hyun-seung (Ji Sung) receives a call from stranger Yun-jung (Kim Ah-joong), the last thing he expects is to have a session of phone sex. Having recently learned of his ex-girlfriend’s new beau, welcomes the risqué distraction, that is, until Yun-jung finds out that he is a stranger. Suffering commitment issues from her own boyfriend, she finds an unexpected confidant in the emotional Hyun while he finds a comforting voice and mirror for women in Yun. As they become close friends, the desire to meet in person comes into conflict with their current fruitful relationship. When Hyun’s ex comes back looking for reconciliation and Yun’s boyfriend shows up with a ring, will they get what they’ve always wanted, or will they take a risk to find each other?
With things in place, it is pretty easy to predict how this film will end up, but for me at least, it is the journey that decides whether or not a new Korean romcom is worth a watch. I’m happy to report that the film is a lot more entertaining and well told than the trailer or premise would suggest. This is a romantic comedy for adults/couples and is unabashed about its frankness.
Ji and Kim share great chemistry and they become a couple that is easy to root for. Ji is funny, emotional, and the wild card in the relationship. Kim’s Yun is pretty, realistic, and a very comely lead. The roles of their perspective others are solidly performed as well, Kang Keong-joon is slimy as Yun’s boyfriend and Shin So-yul as Hyun’s ex is quite vulnerable and lovely in her own right. She, despite her short screen time, gives a lot of nuance and really develops her character. Lesser performances come from the guys playing Hyun’s guys buddies; they are caricatures of roles you’ve seen in dozens of films before. They don’t really add much to the story other than just having a place for Hyun to be when not on the phone.
The film is shot well and multiple camera techniques keep the film interesting and the audience invested. Use of flashbacks, daydreams, and music create a hugely entertaining film that is a more realistic romcom than is the norm in Korea. Hyun’s character is a struggling musician and the music is solid but generally underwhelming. He writes a song at the end that is dirty and pretty funny which a highlight of the picture. Background music and cues are pretty by the book but serve their purpose.
Director Byun actually delivers a solidly acted and heartfelt comedy in Whatcha Wearin’? It is a vastly more interesting romantic comedy than is typical of Korea, and was actually a breath of fresh air. With solidly and winning performances by the leads, and a well-developed story despite the atypical premise, Whatcha Wearin’? is one of the biggest surprises of this year. I definitely enjoyed the film and it certainly has a lot to offer viewers.
You may enjoy this film if you enjoyed: The Girl Next Door and Two Faces of My Girlfriend