My Sassy Girl ( 2008 )
Starring: Jesse Bradford and Elisha Cuthbert
Directed by: Yann Samuel
(Some spoilers. You’ll understand this better if you’ve seen the original.)
The first sign that made me think that I would like this movie, was the news that in the US, this movie went straight to DVD. As in, it wasn’t played in any of the theaters. This usually happens to sequels. I don’t know who decides on it, but anyway, I considered this a good sign because, well, because I don’t trust the American audience. Okay, for some movies, going straight to DVD is a good call, like Cutting Edge 2 and the sequels of Cruel Intentions. Because those movies, are really not all that great, so it’s kind of predictable that the producers didn’t think the audience wouldn’t like it much. But because this was a remake of an Asian film, and judging from the other remakes of Asian films that American audiences have loved, and I hated, because they mostly erased everything Asian about it and so completely lost the point of the plot, I figured, if they don’t like this one, then maybe that’s because it was more faithful to the original material, and therefore more Asian, and therefore more to the liking of Asian audiences.
That paragraph was horribly confusing, I know. I don’t want to be labeled a racist, but I hate it when Hollywood remakes an Asian movie. Because they just, they make so many changes to be able to apply it to their setting, but sometimes, American settings just don’t fit Asian stories! Anyway, all those issues aside, what I really want to say is that surprisingly, I liked this movie.
😯 I know, I said before that I’d probably hate it, right? Although the key word here is “probably”. See? I could tell from the trailer that maybe it would be better than The Lake House and The Grudge (although that’s really difficult to compare since that one’s a horror flick). That’s why I decided to watch it. Well, that and Jesse Bradford of course. 🙂
I like this movie because it stuck to the material faithfully, but not so faithful that it made it seem like they’re trying too hard. I am glad that they omitted some parts from the original, i.e. the “high school uniform scene”, because high school uniforms are such an Asian thing. In the U.S., it’s only the private schools who have uniforms, and majority of the population didn’t go to private schools, right? So they changed that with the “dancing scene”, which I think is a really good idea, because it’s something that you can’t apply to a Korean setting either. Dancing in public, although is somewhat of a cliche in romantic comedies, is something that I don’t normally see in Korean movies, but I always see in Hollywood ones. So that was pretty realistic.
Also, I think it was a good call that Jesse Bradford’s character, Charlie, didn’t really wear the girl’s shoes during that scene where she asked them to exchange shoes. I think only Koreans will be able to get away with something that bizarre. 😉
Of course, there were still some stuff that really didn’t fit the American setting. Like the time where they slapped each other. In the original movie, they didn’t actually slap each other. They flicked each other on the nose, which was actually kind of cute. Now, I’m glad they changed it into a slap because flicking each other would’ve looked even weirder, but the slapping itself, is just something that, I don’t know, people in the U.S. just don’t do. Okay, so I’m not one to dictate what people should and shouldn’t do in other countries, but really, it just looked awkward with the two leads, despite how charming they both were.
Also, although I like Elisha Cuthbert, and I’m glad they didn’t cast Alicia Silverstone (there was a rumor about it before) as Jordan (Yes, that’s the character’s name. In the original version, the sassy girl doesn’t have a name, but she has one here.), somehow she just wasn’t charming enough to justify that people would let her get away with her being mean and rude. I totally didn’t believe her acting during that scene where she asked Charlie to go all the way to the other side of the walkway at Central Park and she shouted “I’m sorry” to him. Actually, she wasn’t all that believable in all the scenes where she asked Charlie to do something weird (e.g. When she asked him to check how deep the water at the marina was). Maybe she looks too sweet, or her voice is not all that threatening or something. But the lines just seemed unnatural for her to say.
Anyway, I could go on and on about these little things that made it bad, but the truth is, for me, it’s one of the best (if not the best) Hollywood remakes of an Asian film. And considering the film it was based on is one of the best Korean movies out there, I’d say that that’s saying a lot. Of course, I still like the original better, but this remake is actually not so bad. They left all the crucial parts, and took out the ones that needed taking out when applying it to an American setting. And they didn’t force that much stuff to fit their culture. I think that’s what’s most crucial, and that’s why it works.
One more thing though, the storytelling here seems a bit too rushed. I mean, Charlie says that he’s in love with her, practically just after they met. And since it’s not really a “love at first sight” story, I think it was too quick. Oh, and I totally hate the girl who sat beside me in the theater. She kept saying “Why don’t they just kiss and get it over with?” and then when the movie ended she said “Waste of time!” *rolls eyes* Pffft! She completely missed the point. Stupid girl. (Wahahahah I’m sour graping because I liked the movie and she didn’t.)
Well, I don’t think my arguments will really convince anyone, but I do hope you see it for yourself before you judge it as “another one of the bad remakes of an Asian movie”. That’s what I did, and look how surprised I am. 😉