Love Clinic (2015) Korean Movie Review
The “Romantic Comedy” genre is the punching bag of “hip” modern movie criticism. It is very hard to find any critics who are not preaching solely to the female demographic that has a kind thing to say about the genre. In addition, there is a tendency to interpret the decline of the “Romantic Comedy” genre in Hollywood as an evolutionary trend rather than just a market shift away from niche audiences.
By Niche I do mean the gals!
However, I think differently. While there are definitely stinkers among the movies that fall into the “Romantic Comedy” genre, I do not particularity see it to be higher than other genres. I know that the bulk of the stories of “Romantic Comedy” are not sophisticated or innovative. However the same could be said of most movies made that do not consider itself a serious drama.
I mean none of the Marvel movies is sophisticated or innovative in their stories.
A reason I think that Romantic comedies get a bad rap beyond the obvious female-focused snobbery is that they are not about the “Plot” but rather about the “Interactions” between characters with heavy emphasis on interaction and not characters. Thus, in a lot of ways, plot just gets in the way.
What I am saying is that Romantic comedies have their merits as a movie genre!
You should respect that!
Today’s talking subject “Love Clinic 연애의 맛” (2015) does not help this cause at all!
It is no help at all.
How Should I describe the plot of this movie?
The plot of “Love Clinic / 연애의 맛” (2015) can be said to epitomize the word cliché. You have a guy and a girl in their 30s, both doctors, meeting and immediately quarrelling which leads to an attraction. It is your basic formula that has been used in movies and TV over and over again.
You know where this is going.
And there is nothing more to the plot.
NOTHING AT ALL!
And I emphasize the nothing part more than usual. There is no external event driving the plot and framing the relationship developments.
No one is married!
No saving the book store!
No saving the rec centre.
There is not really even an overall theme to the narrative. Well.. there may have been on paper but nothing survived the execution. There is only the two leads going through their uninteresting and directionless lives acting like douches which makes the movie feel a lot like the “slice of life” type of movie. Thus, this movie requires a sensitive touch regarding its rather mundane elements.
“Love Clinic 연애의 맛” (2015) is not that kind of movie!
Do not expect it!
Even for a Romantic comedy movie, “Love Clinic” is filled with too many clichés and coincidence for a single movie.
This movie actually has not one but two cliché gay sidekicks!
They just pop in separately with different characters and contribute nothing to the plot.
Toss in a careless scattering of subjects including male erectile dysfunction, female daddy issues, psychological stress from a traumatic event, the shallow gag of having a female urologist and a male gynaecologist, the gender politics of a serial rapist, and you will get “Love Clinic 연애의 맛” (2015)!
I’ll get to gender politics a bit later!
Likeable Characters Wanted!
As I previously said, Romantic comedy movie are about character interaction with the emphasis on interaction and not character. However, while they do not need to have depth, the characters need to be likeable or, at least, interesting.
“Love Clinic” does not have any!
There are several reasons why the characters here are not likeable with one being that both characters are petty and just argue over and over in…
And too cliché ways
For ~ too ~ long~!
All of these do not add up to getting charmed by the characters.
Oh, and you may ask why too long?
This is a 101 minute after all.
This is not a really long movie for a romcom.
The plot of “Love Clinic” is lopsided with the first act taking up about 65 minutes. You basically have the two leads meet and go at each other like “cat and dogs” for the whole time. The execution is rather lacklustre. And the remaining two acts are stuffed into the remaining 30 minutes or so.
So, don’t expect any proper character development!
While I like a good bickering couple as much as the next person, this is just too much! For the first hour of so, you just want them to get hit by a car or something. The casting of the characters does not help.
What watching tons of Korean dramas and reviewing them has shown me is that the right casting can cover up a lot of clichés and lacklustre writing. This is true even in movies. Just think of “Coin Locker Girl / Chinatown 차이나타운” (2015). Read my review on that movie!
So, the casting of “Love Clinic” is rather baffling! I do not know who thought Oh Ji-Ho/오지호 and Gang Ye-Won /강예원could carry a Romantic comedy movie. While the Korean movie “Love Forecast” (2015) was not a great movie, it made a far more understandable choice in casting. Moon Chae-Won and Lee Seung-Gi are interesting enough to just watch them on screen for at least 30 minutes.
Who would think either Oh Ji-Ho and Gang Ye-Won could do the same?
Oh, Ji-Ho has been around for a decade and never shown much charisma or acting ability.
In fact, he does his best work is when he has nothing to do!
On the other side, who is Gang Ye-Won? I have literally no idea who she is! She seems to be at least a better actor than Oh Ji-Ho but she does not have the screen presence to be nothing more than a side character in the big leagues.
However, it is not totally their faults. Most of the characters in this movie are just unlikable and overall unmemorable as they are underwritten. The only characters who are not unlikable are the nurses but they are nothing more than a speaking extra role in the movie.
The Art of Raunchy?
What makes the characters more unbearable is that the movie does not understand what “Raunchy” is for a comedy movie.
“Love Clinic” is an Adult rated Movie!
It is about two doctors who are in the human reproduction medical fields. So, you can expect some sex-related jokes from this setup. However, this does not mean that we can categorize “Love Clinic” as being a “Raunchy” comedy movie.
I do not think that this movie understands that “Raunchy” is meant to make the characters edgy by pushing the borders of sexual taboos slightly while still keeping them likeable.
It is your lovable scoundrel thing!
What it is not is to be borderline sexist to the degree that makes the “Hangover” movies seem gender politics wise progressive. “Love Clinic” is one of those movies in which the girl cries out after your cliché “girl gets drunk scene” because she thinks the guy date raped her as if that is the most logical thing. Then, she complains why he didn’t date rape her.
Isn’t he interested in her?
Then, she falls for him because not actively trying to date rape a girl is such a special thing.
Yes, “Love Clinic” is that kind of movie.
The gender politics of the movie would be less prominent if the movie was actually funny.
It is not!
Decide what you are!
Tone-wise, “Love Clinic / 연애의 맛” (2015) is all over the place in terms of its comedy. Overall, it is close to being a “Dramedy” which is more of a drama with humorous elements. However, the discourse between the two leads in the long first act feels like a lacklustre “Screwball” comedy. In addition, the coincidence filled plot and the overblown physical reactions of the characters feels more like a “Slapstick” comedy.
And none of these comedy elements really work!
I mean that even if you accept the tonal confusion of the comedy, none of the individual elements of the movie work on their own.
The movie is simply not funny!
For example, there are 2 montages in this movie and I have not seen a montage executed this poorly in a while.
Oh and considering tonal confusion, there is no reason why “Love Clinic 연애의 맛” (2015) had to be Adult rated!
I do not mean that the rating board did a poor job unlike the creators behind this movie. This is an adult-rated movie!
There are about 4 softcore porn level scenes in this movie which shows most of what you want to see except for “Bush”. What I mean is that there is no reason those scenes needed to be in the movie at all!
While this movie is meant to be a sex comedy movie, the main characters are far from having sex through the movie as a rock on the streets. They are “chaste as the snow” for several different reasons that I will not go into here. Thus, do not expect any kind of nudity from your leads.
So, what is with the softcore porn comment you may ask.
You are given those scene courtesy of a side female played by “Ha Ju-Hee”. On paper, she is meant to be the romantic rival but she has almost no impact on the plot or the main couple’s relationship. If you just cut out her parts in the movie, the movie itself would not change other than it would get a PG-13 rating easily.
All of the sex scenes just involve her and basically an extra who has like 2 lines in the total movie. He is not in the movie for his acting skills since his face is on screen for less than a minute in total.
Well, okay maybe 2 minutes.
As I guy, I appreciate some softcore porn in my movies. It is just weird how much Ha Ju-Hee’s character and her nudity filled subplot has no impact on the actual plot or characters of the movie.
I would just cut those scenes out to bring home with me
The rest of the movie could just be tossed in the trash!.
The director Kim Dong-Won has directed 4 movies over the last 15 years with the most prominent being “R2B: Return To Base” (2012). He wrote the screenplay for that movie and this one. And the TOP Gun Ripped off “R2B: Return To Base” (2012) was extremely poorly written.
“Love Clinic” (2015) is not an exception.
I personally do not get who is letting this guy keep making a movie and letting him write.
“Love Clinic / 연애의 맛” (2015) is meant to be a raunchy romantic comedy. However, it is just sexist and not raunchy. It is not particularly romantic. The biggest sin of this movie is that it is boring and not funny!
What else can be said of a romantic comedy?
As a person who has seen more romantic comedies than many people’s lifetime movie viewing experience, I would say pass this one. You would be far less irritated by watching a “Hallmark” channel movie which is harmless.
Or just watch “Love Forecast” (2015)!
While it is not a great movie, “Love Forecast” (2015) has enough to be interesting.
In regards to “Love Clinic / 연애의 맛”, no one will remember it in 3 months other than the edited sex scenes floating around YouTubes! Those last for a long time.
I give “Love Clinic 연애의 맛” (2015) a grade of a D+.
Score: D+ or 3/10