Please Teach Me English
Tai Seng // Unrated // $14.95 // September 26, 2006
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted October 7, 2006
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version

The Movie

Please Teach Me English is a goofy insight about the romantic relationship between two people who fall in love with each other while in taking an English development course. Directed by the South Korean director Sung-su Kim (Musa: The Warrior), Please Teach Me English features a solid cast, a decent story, and lots of silly events to put a smile on your face. The film takes an approach where you do not have to think too hard about what's happening. When I first started the movie, I was not sure what to expect. The introduction was just so silly, I thought I was going to hate it. But I found once I got into the story, I couldn't stop laughing. The movie and its characters put a big smile on my face.

The leading female character is Young-Ju Na (Na-young Lee). Young-Ju is a twenty-five year old girl who lives at home with her parents and brother. She works for the government as an entry-level civil service worker. She is a very geeky, acts weird, and says all the wrong things. Young-Ju dreams of the day she will meet her prince charming. Lee, who plays Young-Ju, does a fabulous job with her role. Her character is an overly neurotic, nerdy, and reserved, and Lee gives her character real personality. It is corny and over-the-top, but nonetheless fun.

The prince charming Young-Ju falls head over heels for is Moon-Su Park (Hyuk Jang). Moon-Su is the stud muffin. He is an attractive Korean guy with a sparkling personality and ego is a mile high. He considers himself a player and is always looking out for the pretty ladies. Conveniently enough, he works in a shopping center selling women's shoes. But while he sells shoes, he is no Al Bundy. His mother is played by Mun-hee Na and she works at the shopping center as a cleaning lady.

Movie begins with a glimpse into Young-Ju's life, specifically her workplace. A non-Korean customer comes in the office demanding to know why he was billed an extra one-thousand won for electricity. The moment he appears, everyone in the office tries to hide and pretend he is not there. Why? Well, no one in the office speaks English. So, no one can help him. Young-Ju and her fellows have found if they ignore the western customers, they'll eventually leave and no one has to deal with them.

It is from this incident the manager decided someone in the office needs to learn English so someone can help the westerners. Young-Ju is selected from amongst her peers in a spin-the-bottle game. At the language institute, Young-Ju and Moon-Su meet for the first time and it is love at first sight. Young-Ju immediately falls for Moon-Su's dashing personality and attractiveness. Moon-Su falls head over heels too, but it is not for Young-Ju. Moon-Su goes crazy for the English teacher, a blonde Australian named Catherine Presly (Angela Kelly).

While in class, Moon-Su repeatedly tries to get the teacher's attention, but his attempts usually fall short and also turn out to be worth some laughs. For instance, on the first day of class, Moon-Su tries to get on the teacher's sweet side by having her provide his English nickname. She decides to call him Elvis because of his sideburns. How the scene plays out is a lot of fun. And similar to Moon-Su having problems getting Catherine's attention, Young-Ju runs into a roadblock getting Moon-Su's. Her crazy and bizarre attitude is hilarious.

As the story develops, Moon-Su and Young-Ju become abnormal friends. He sees her as a study-buddy and not much more. She just isn't the kind of girl he likes to chase after. To him, Young-Ju is a dork and not beautiful enough for him to notice in a romantic fashion (although in reality she is drop dead gorgeous). But of course, as all romantic comedies go, their friendship-only relationship turns into something more. There are some very silly scenes such as a pig that speaks English, a bizarre talent show in a bar, and general goofiness in the classroom.

Overall, the movie is a big ball of fluff, never serious, but always fun. I couldn't stop laughing, smiling, and all that other jazz. It is a fun movie with some fun characters, over-the-top performances, and solid slapstick comedy. While the story was nothing special, the writing did produce some witty dialogue and situations. The use of the non-native English speaking cast learning English made for some hilarious situations with the main and supporting characters.

The acting performances were also very good. Both Hyuk Jang and Na-young Lee are delightful in their respective roles. Jang is very animated and makes his playboy-esque character very fun. Lee does fantastic work as a neurotic dork. In the end, if you enjoy fluffy, yet fun romantic comedies with likeable characters, Please Teach Me English is a video you should not miss out on.

The DVD

Video:
The movie is presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen color. The picture is relatively good looking with minimal color flaws, but there are distinct compression distortions noticeable throughout the feature and some minor aliasing.

Audio:
The audio is given in Korean/English and Cantonese 5.1 channel Dolby surround sound. The 5.1 track seems overkill as it is dialogue driven. Despite, the dialogue is audible throughout the presentation. The primary track is a combination of Korean and English.

There are subtitles in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and English. The English subtitles are readable with a few grammatical errors here and there.

Extras:
For special features, this DVD release is bare bones. Unless, of course, you want to count the collection of trailers. When the DVD first loads, there is a clip of trailers for Initial D, House of Fury, Chiseen, Wind and Cloud: The Storm Riders, and Too Tired To Die. There are also trailers accessible from the DVD's menu system for Musa The Warrior, Christmas in August, Harmonium in My Memory, A Bizarre Love Triangle, Addicted, and Real Fiction.

Final Thoughts:
Please Teach Me English is a delightfully fun romantic comedy about two unlikely lovers who meet in a developmental English course. The movie incorporates slapstick comedy with over-the-top performances that are done in a manner you cannot help but enjoy. You will find the cast is goofy, silly, and loveable. Please Teach Me English is a movie you do not want to miss out on.



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