How To Use Guys With Secret Tips

(South Korea, 2013)
North American Premiere
116 minutes, HD CAM, Korean with English subtitles
Directed by: Lee Won-seok
Starring: Lee Si-yeong, Oh Jeong-se, Park Yeong-gyoo, Kim Jeong-tae, Lee Won-jong, Kim Joon-seong

As predictable as the tides, every February brings a fresh new batch of romantic comedies to theaters around the world and Korea is no exception. While Lee Won-seok’s debut feature HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS stays firmly within the rails of the tried and true rom-com conventions (self-centered people dishing out terrible relationship advice while misunderstanding everything), it has a ton of heart, charismatic leads, a unique visual verve, and comes together in a way that just works. We were not prepared to have our socks charmed off by this film, but we all fell in love and wanted to share it with you!

Choi Bona (Lee Si-yeong) is an overworked second assistant AD to a famous commercial director where she has been stuck for the last 5 years. She is bitter and angry at the rampant sexism in the industry and is romantic comedy ugly. This is the kind of ugly where you are really amazingly attractive, you just need to wash your hair and everyone in the office is surprised that they have been working next to a model for half a decade. After a particularly disastrous shoot she finds herself alone on a beach where she meets Dr. Swalski (Park Yeong-gyoo) and is talked into buying a set of self help videos entitled: HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS. At first she wonders why she wasted so much money on these videos but as she transforms from a walking, angry, androgynous sweatshirt who sulks in the corner of the office to a cute, pixie-cut wearing, confident director in her own right she finds herself addicted to the videos.

To add into this mix we have an Lee Seungjae (Oh Jeong-se) a shabby no-talent star who is slowly won over by Bona’s tricks until he is driven mad and ends up in an extended gag involving public nudity and a traffic stop. One of the freshest films visually to come out of Korea this year, there is a mad cap energy, especially in the first half of the film, that is on one hand a caustic take down of the film industry, and on the other a non-stop innuendo hurling rush of comedic timing and chemistry. The absolute best part? There is no tragedy. A lot of our favorite Korean comedies often get crushed under the weight of a melodramatic third act where cancer, incest, and impossible family relations are handed out to the main characters like the world’s saddest consolation prizes. Not here. The film remains a fun ride, with an awesome soundtrack throughout, and populated with likeable characters, and so when there are some moments where the film is shackled by genre tropes, the audience is already won over and we forgive it.


Sunday July 7, 5:15PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets

Thursday July 11, 3:00PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets