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he year 2009 opened in difficult circumstances, to say the least.
With a global financial crisis exacerbating a two-year old crisis in the Korean film industry, expectations for the year were low.
To add insult to injury, his awkward attempt to "pick up" the next-door neighbor (Kim Kang-hee) results in an ego-damaging brush-off by her thuggish companion (Tak Seong-joon).
He reluctantly spends the night in the town, in a wrong guest house, as it turns out.
What's funny is that these scenes, usually showing Hyun-sik stranded in the middle of nowhere, make him, in the context of this rough-and-tumble but strangely charming flick, appear sunk in the middle of a fish bowl, amusingly illustrating the character's exasperation and, shall we say, dork-ish qualities.
The film is full of these even-its-goofs-are-hilarious moments.
He gets willy-nilly recruited into a dope courier job for the gangster President Kang (Jo Jae-hyun, Hanbando, Romance).
The task seems to involve swimming past the Korea-Japan border with a string of bags filled with dope inside your intestines (As I had suspected it would, the movie milks this set-up for ca-ca jokes, so sensitive viewers beware).
Director Yun Jong-seok, like many Korean debut directors, is competent if not inspired, and knows how to wrangle camera angle and editing to keep the pace up.