Sunday, February 26, 2012

Full House Review (2004)

Drama Rating: *****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Han Ji-eun, an aspiring author, is tricked by her best friends into a free trip to China while they sell off her house due to a need for some quick cash. Once in China, Ji Eun realizes she's been duped and reaches out to Lee Young Jae, a famous actor whom she happened to meet on a plane, for help. With his aid and through various circumstances, Young Jae and Ji Eun end up in a contract marriage which was intended to help Ji Eun regain ownership of her former residence. However, the 'fake' marriage obviously ends up creating a host of confused feelings between Young Jae, Ji Eun and Young Jae's childhood friends Hye Won and Min Hyuk. Will the foursome be able to resolve their feelings and find the one truly for them?

*Spoiler warning*

The Full House storyline is fairly well written with a compelling story and great screenwriting to boot.
The relationships though, do get a bit draggy and repetitive after a while, with the same arguments repeating over and over, and the same angst repeated in episode after episode. Although feelings often aren't necessarily easy to sort out, dragging out those feelings of insecurity and indecision can only get you so far in a drama storyline before it starts to wear its welcome. At some point the back and forth gets a little irritable as the storyline always seem to fall back into the same pattern over and over (without saying more, I'm sure you'll see what I mean =P). Aside from this, the story was fairly appealing and is told with a very natural flow.

There is only so much a writer can do to make a drama appealing as the cast needs to be top notch to do the script justice. Rain and Song Hye Kyo certainly held up to that bar, making the tenacious Han Ji Eun and the loveable Lee Young Jae come to life, with their chemistry capturing the audience's heart and imagination. Young Jae and Ji Eun's antics, while certainly quite adorable, do get a little repetitive after a while as I mentioned above. Han Eun Jeong's Kang Hye Won and Kim Sung Soo's Yoo Min Hyuk certainly didn't make things any better as their characters were major contributing factors to lengthy feel. Kim Sung Soo played his part well and Han Eun Jeong's performance was sufficiently good as not to run the series off track. The occasional appearances by Ji Eun's friends Hee Jin and Dong Wook and Young Jae's family were welcome interruptions, providing plenty of comedic material and side relief.

Full House has a surprisingly catchy musical selection which was carefully chosen to fit with the drama plotlines. Although a number of tunes are used for various themes, their measured usage early on ensured that the drama didn't feel overly repetitive while providing familiarity and charm. The only problem this faced as the drama neared the end was the minor issue of repeated scenes and as a consequence, the repeated soundtrack made it seem like a broken radio for a while until the end rolled around.

Full House is your quintessential romantic comedy. With a strong cast, a fun and amusing script and a suitable soundtrack, its not hard to see why this drama stands out among the most famous and most highly rated dramas from Korea. Personally, I'm more or less in agreement with what most reviews have had to say about Full House though the only thing I would add is the point about the repetition near the end. At that point, the series does start to wear on you a little and I think shortening the drama a bit or introducing some other twists (like new characters) might have been more appropriate than continually re-hashing things over again and again. Aside from that, I'd recommend sitting back to enjoy one of the finer dramas of the Korean Wave!

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