Scandal Makers is one of three comedies screening at the 3rd Korean Film Festival in Australia. With over 8 million tickets sold, Scandal Makers was the highest grossing film at the Korean box office in 2008. For those lucky enough to be in Sydney, director Hyeong-Cheol Kang and producer Anna Lee will be participating in a Q&A at the screening. Check out my review of the charming comedy after the jump.
Hyeon-soo (Tae-hyun Cha) is a former pop idol, now radio host and DJ in his mid-thirties. While he craves the fame he once had, his life is going pretty well. His low profile afternoon radio show has good ratings, he has just got his first TV commercial, and he doesn’t find it too difficult to meet ladies – for him it seems like his star is on the way up again. One day his seemingly charmed life changes forever when a young woman called Jeong-nam (Bo-young Park) with a young son in tow turns up on the doorstep of his very flash apartment and claims that he is her father.
While Hyeon-soo intially refuses to believe this could be true, a DNA test and the story of Jeong-nam’s upbringing make him realise that he is not only a father, but a grandfather too. Hyeon-soo fears that this scandal could ruin his rising career, so he decides that his new family must remain a secret; he creates an elaborate family tree and back story to distract people from the truth. However a snooping reporter and a boyfriend from Jeong-nam’s past threaten to blow the secret wide out in the open. Hyeon-soo must juggle his public and private life, while trying to come to grips with this massive change in his life.
It’s easy to see why this film was such a hit in Korea – it balances comedy, drama, and even a bit of K-Pop very well. The comedy may feel a little dated at time, but the three leads are so charismatic that it just works. Seok-hyeon Wang who plays Ki-dong, the young son of Jeong-nam is absolutely adorable; he is an utter scene-stealer, and injects a playful energy into each scene he is in. Watching him and his grandfather bond was one of the real delights in the film. I really liked the character of Hyeon-soo and found him to be extremely relatable. I can’t imagine what it would be like to suddenly discover you were a grandfather at his age, but I found his reaction very believable. Hyeon-soo is a genuinely good guy, but at the same time he wants fame and all the trimmings that come with it. Watching him come to terms with his situation and slowly reassess his priorities was both amusing at heart-warming. There are some very touching moments in this film, and at times I was quite moved.
Fans of K-Pop are in for a treat with this film, as one of the minor story-lines is about a singing contest that Hyeon-soo’s radio programme is running. There are several performances of both English and Korean songs scattered throughout the film – but don’t worry, both of the leads have excellent voices and the performances are both entertaining and at times moving.
Overall I found Scandal Makers to be a very entertaining and charming comedy. It has great humour with some very emotional dramatic moments mixed in – with the addition of a bit of K-Pop, this is sure to be an crowd-pleaser.
For information about screening times at tickets, please visit the official KOFFIA website.
Director: Hyeong-Cheol Kang
Writer(s): Hyeong-Cheol Kang
Starring: Tae-hyun Cha, Seok-hyeon Wang, Kyeong-min Hong, Bo-young Park
Runtime: 108 minutes