Fox // 2008 // 92 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Joel Pearce (Retired) // August 27th, 2008
She's beautiful, smart, funny and TOTALLY CRAZY.
While this may seem sudden to you, this letter has been a long time coming. I've been trying to put it off, hoping that things would eventually start to get better again. They haven't, though, and I realize now that I can't ignore these problems anymore.
Please, don't get me wrong. You were my first love, and I'll never forget the wonderful times we had together. You brought me Star Wars at a crucial time in my life, and it changed everything for me. I remember the summer that Independence Day came out. I thought it was the coolest thing ever at the time, and I really believed that we'd be together forever. We had so many great times together: watching The Simpsons and Buffy, curled up together on the couch in my parents' basement watching The X-Files in the dark...I knew then that I had found the one I wanted to be with forever.
Lately, though, you've started to change, and it's even getting hard to recognize you as the studio that I once loved. It really hurt when you cancelled Firefly, and then last year you didn't even give Drive a chance. Now, there's all of these rumours about Watchmen getting shut down over an underhanded lawsuit, and I'm starting to wonder if you really care about me at all. You used to be one of the most daring, sexy studios in Hollywood, but it's been a long time since you've brought anything exciting to our relationship. Over the past few years, it's all about safe bets that don't turn out that well, repeats of the same movies over and over again.
And now, here I am, holding the screener for My Sassy Girl in my hand, and so much about our relationship has come into focus. You know full well how much this movie means to me. The original is the best romantic comedy ever made, and I've been begging for an American release for years. Instead, you made this remake, and it's one of the harshest betrayals I've ever experienced. It's also made me realize a number of things about our own collapsing relationship.
The story of My Sassy Girl is a little too much like what I've been going through with you. This really nice innocent guy named Charlie (Jesse Bradford, Swimfan) gets completely steamrolled by this attractive but troubled girl named Jordan (Elisha Cuthbert, House of Wax). He takes care of her when she passes out drunk at a subway station, which starts up their rocky romance. While she mostly treats him like crap, he falls hopelessly in love with her anyway, and she puts him through a lot of pain and suffering.
The best thing I can say about the remake is how close the script conforms to the original. Many scenes are transcribed almost exactly from the original film, including a number of things that I didn't expect would be left in the remake. Unfortunately, My Sassy Girl isn't really a remake of the 2001 film, so much as it is a remake of the translated script. While much of the dialogue remains intact, I'm convinced that director Yann Samuell (Love Me If You Dare) and the cast never actually watched the original film, or didn't entirely understand it. The original is extremely funny and deeply touching, but neither of those characteristics translates to your version.
The biggest problem? The titular character isn't especially sassy. In the original, the girl rips across the screen like a whirlwind. We totally understand why Gyun-woo would want to be with her, even though she beats him up and controls his life. Here, Cuthbert just fizzles as an annoying drunk. It makes no sense that Charlie would want to be with her, and her lack of spunk makes her more like a yippy Yorkshire terrier than Ji-hyun Jun's Tasmanian devil. Add to that an annoying sidekick that wasn't in the original, poorly delivered dialogue and pacing that demonstrates a near shocking level of ineptitude, and I can say pretty confidently that this signals the end between us.
Maybe you'll claim that it's unfair to judge this movie solely on how it compares to the original, which most people in North America haven't seen. To that charge, I counter that it could be seen by more people if it would actually get released here, and that I would have even preferred to see a dub of the original to this bottom-of-the-barrel remake. And you know how I feel about dubs. Ultimately, the remake of My Sassy Girl shows just what you've turned into. You lack the courage to take a risk on the original, so you set up a by-the-numbers remake that you know will be successful. When the Asian remake craze wears off before production begins, you don't even take that risk, instead tossing it to a second-rate production team and slipping it out on DVD, hoping that fans of the original won't notice what you've done. This, from the studio that once took a risk on Star Wars and Alien, who released Fight Club into the mainstream market.
So that's why it's over. I really don't like who you've become, and even though I will always remember the wonderful times we had in the past, all the feelings I have for you are gone now. I've been hurt by you too many times to blindly put my faith in you anymore, and I'm breaking this off before I get hurt again. I know it's going to be hard to avoid you completely, so I hope that we'll still be able to be friends. These recent events are going to be hard to forgive, though, so you'll need to be patient with me as these wounds heal.
In the meantime, I'm going to be listening to Beck's Sea Change, eating frozen yoghurt, and watching Buffy Season 3, just to hang onto how great things used to be.
Goodbye, Fox. I'm ready to move on, and I hope you will too.
Sincerely (but not affectionately),
Review content copyright © 2008 Joel Pearce; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* IMDb: Superior Original