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  • REVIEW: “Like for Likes (좋아해줘)” is Korea’s “Love Actually”

REVIEW: “Like for Likes (좋아해줘)” is Korea’s “Love Actually”

In her sophomore effort, director Park Hyun-Jin brings together a fantastic ensemble cast with a lot of Korean drama favorites for the lovely film Like for Likes.

The movie centers on three couples:

Like for LikesScreenwriter Jo Kyung-Ah (Lee Mi-Yeon) & the young actor she made famous, Roh Jin-Woo (Yoo Ah-In) are no longer on speaking terms. Jin-Woo is now top star and riding a wave of endorsements and numerous love calls following his army discharge. Kyung-Ah is looking to cast her next hit, which the powers that be want Jin-Woo to be the lead. They had a one night stand before he left for the army and some unresolved feelings come to a head when they refuse to work together and she denies his friend request.

Like for LikesRecently dumped chef Jung Sung-Chan (Kim Joo-Hyuk) & uptight stewardess Ham Joo-Ran (Choi Ji-Woo) get thrown together when he rents her apartment and she subsequently doesn’t have a place to live. Their living arrangement grows a friendship and Sung-Chan tries some sly matchmaking via an SNS (social network site) profile makeover for Joo-Ran. She loosens up her very tightly wound lifestyle and learns to get with the times in social media.

Like for LikesSongwriter and introvert Lee Suho (Kang Ha Neul) & show producer Jang Na-Yeon (Lee Som) instantly connect. Her bold moves makes quiet Suho open up and try things. She’s smitten by his shyness and touched by how he sees her. Suho has a secret he can’t seem confess to Na-Yeon. It’s not just her, he’s closed off to people he sees every day, relying on messaging to speak, but soon realizes he can’t stay that way forever.

The chemistry between all the actors are off the charts. My favorite couple is Kyung-Ah and Jin-Woo. Yoo Ah In definitely impresses with a role he’s grown accustomed to as the pretty & handsome younger man. We saw him like this with the amazing slow burning drama Secret Love AffairPairing him is the classically beautiful Lee Mi Yeon was a great choice. Gyung-Ah is a rare character, a woman who is successful and admired as well as feared because she is so good. Lee Mi Yeon plays it to a T with kind of certainty that a lot of female characters don’t have a chance to be.

Another favorite for me is Kang Ha Neul. His career has been on a steady climb since his debut in 2007. I enjoyed him in the movie Twenty and loved him in Misaeng (which also made Yim Siwan more popular). In this, he plays Suho with an awkwardness, but at the same time sadness. When his character meets Lee Som’s, his face lights up with a mix of curiosity and caution. You can tell he wants to move forward, but does he know how? Does he want to?

You’ll just have to watch.

The film would probably be considered a romantic comedy, but it isn’t laugh out loud funny. In trying to compare it to another movie, more than once I felt like I was watching something influenced by the British classic, Love ActuallyI really love that Like for Likes has a similar feel. Ensemble casts can be hard to follow, but this movie works well and while the theme of using Facebook or SNS might be dated in the future, one thing is for sure, the pursuit of love seems to still be the same. Like for Likes explores that and ties it all together, in an airport, too! (Love Actually fans will get this!)

On yet another kdrama actor note, I’m pretty sure Ji Yoon Ho (Oh Young Gon in Cheese in the Trap) is in this with a small/non-stalker part as a waiter. What a pleasant surprise.

[KK Rating 4/5] – I’d watch this again. And again. And again. With and without ice cream.

Release Date: February 25, 2016 in 17 major locations in North America including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Toronto. Check CJ-Entertainment.com for more info and times.
Production: 리양필름(주), JK film
Running Time: 122 MinutesNot rated, but possibly PG for adult situations.

Check out CJ Entertainment online for the latest in Asian Films and more:
Official Site: http://www.cj-entertainment.com
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/CJENT_USA

Tell me you love Love Actually. Comment below or tweet me @cherylfornia!

OhKDRAMA is a column exploring Korean dramas and then some.

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