Starring JUNG Jae-young, HAN Ji-min, JANG Kwang, KIM Ji-young, CHA Ye-ryun
Release Date January 9, 2014
The first commercial Korean film release in 2014 is The Plan Man, a new romantic comedy from Lotte Entertainment starring Korea’s go to man for comedy, JUNG Jae-young. The film is the feature debut of SEONG Si-heub, previously an assistant director on YOO Ha’s A Dirty Carnival (2006), and co-stars HAN Ji-min.
In The Plan Man, Jung-seok (JUNG Jae-young) the librarian, goes about his daily life with everything planned down to the second. Whenever he sees anything out of place, he can’t help himself but to rectify it. This trait is particularly irksome to his co-workers who find their desks hoovered by Jung-seok for cleaning crumbs or their to have their ties fixed during a meeting. Jung-seok develops a crush for a local convenience store's cashier who demonstrates a similar attention to order and cleanliness. When he finally works up the courage to tell her his feelings, he bumps into So-jung instead, a messy musician whose life is lived spontaneously. With So-jung’s help, he tries to woo his dream girl, but the only catch is that she wants someone who doesn’t share her obsession for neatness. So now Jung-seok must break his routine and puts himself outside of his comfort zone.
JUNG stretched himself into indie fare last year when he partnered for the first time with HONG Sangsoo in the auteur’s most recent film Our Sunhi. He also appeared in the mid-budget sci-fi AM 11:00, which fared poorly when it went on release in November and was perhaps not the best fit for JUNG’s acting style. In The Plan Man, he’s back playing a character that showcases his natural instinct for droll humor. In comedy, his performances tend to be reserved and quite dry, yet his well-timed blank expressions have provided some of the biggest laughs in modern Korean film. Though called on for a little more pantomime than usual, he is well within his comfort zone in The Plan Man in a role that plays to his strengths.
Though for the most part a light romcom, at times The Plan Man strays off course with detours into the past. These flashbacks, which examine the root of Jung-seok’s OCD, dispense with comedy altogether (not to mention romance) and change the tone of the film considerably. Releasing after Christmas and before Lunar New Year, The Plan Man will be looking to take advantage of an open market, just as Showbox’s comedy Man on the Edge did last year, when it brought in over four million admissions.
By Pierce Conran