Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Drama Review :: A Gentleman's Dignity

SPOILERS, they will happen in this review. Hope you don't mind.

I was truly and pleasantly surprised with this drama. When I read only the synopsis, call me age bias, but I thought what can be interesting about the lives of [almost] middle age men? I could only visualize a half hearted comedy/melodrama that lacked depth and hard to like characters. The reality was the complete opposite. I never thought I could like four full grown men so much. That sounds a bit odd, let me rephrase: I never thought I could like and appreciate the friendship between four men. Yeah, I think that sounds more dignified... Did you see the play on words? Well, I am easily amused.

I loved the comedic dynamics between the four lead actors, left to right: Kim Soo Ro, Jang Dong Gun, Kim Min Jong and Lee Jong Hyuk.
I'd only ever seen Jong Hyuk in one other drama, which was serious and sad. I haven't finished it, but I've seen enough to say that this handsome bloke can act serious and as a charmingly immature character like he does in A Gentleman's Dignity. This was the first time seeing the other three gents and they've perked my interest to check out other material from them.

Back to the foursome spark--ahem, the gents above play best buds who've known each other for about two decades. Assuming this is the first show they've all acted in together, they did a bloody good job at making it appear they've known each other for years. Thus, their friendship was believable and a ball of fun to witness. Honestly, I think many of my favorite scenes were when all four of them were together compared to "individual" scenes with other characters.

One aspect of the show that took about the third episode to get used to were the flashback scenes that sort of introduced each episode. The biggest pro to the flashbacks was that they helped establish the long relationship the gents have amongst each other and of course an understanding of them individually. Each scenes scenario managed to tie into a future happening, so they weren't random scenes for time fillers, they served a purpose.
The only con, a small one perhaps, was sometimes the transition from the flashback to the present time was not always the smoothest. You may be the judge.

Of course each of their characters have a flaw or two, but they play it in such a way that you still like them. I've come across dramas where one trait completely turned me off of a character for the rest of the show. I'm sure characters are sometimes written to be that way, but other times I do believe the actor/actress can be held responsible for not helping to redeem their character, if that makes sense.
Here, however, it's clear we are meant to like all of them despite their flaw(s) and for me they succeed.

Jang Dong Gun as Kim Do-Jin

In an interview Dong Gun said this was his first comedy, which I would not have guessed. Assuming he has thus far only done serious pants roles, I clap my hands to him for the flawless switch.
I majored in theatre in college and at that time and even in high school, comedy is what comes easy for me, but serious roles are more challenging. Dong Gun said this comedic role was challenging, so I feel ya bro.

Lee Jong Hyuk as Lee Jung Rok

Despite being one of my favorite characters, I don't have much to say about Jong Hyuk. I think he's fantastic at comedy and his character knows, sort of, when to be serious. He's definitely the most immature character out of the four gents, but he also brings a refreshing light heart when his pals are needing a good laugh.
He is also a bit of a naughty boy, a big flirt, which is constantly getting him into trouble. 

Kim Min Jong as Choi Yoon

Min Jong's character was the calm and more stable minded gent compared to his buddies. I wouldn't say that he was serious all the time, just non-annoyingly mature for the most part. There is one particular scene that really sticks out in terms of comedy, where he excitedly meets a K-pop idol and has what seems no shame in dancing in front of her.

Kim Soo Ro as Im Tae San

Next to Choi Yoon, Tae San is one of the more level headed guys. He can be a bit frustrating at times, but still very likeable. Trying to avoid being repetitious in my descriptions, I don't have much more to say about Soo Ro's character. Thinking about it, although I like his character well enough, he doesn't stick out at the forefront for me.

Kim Ha Neul as Seo Yi Soo

Although I liked Ha Neul's character, she wasn't my favorite. On one hand her character is supposed to be a bit awkward, not really able to pull off a sexy vibe, a bit more of a cool chillax kind of lady. I think the scenes that tended to bother me, just a little, were her aegyo almost whinny sissy baby scenes. I'm used to these characteristics being over the top in shows, and even music videos, but with her it still didn't sit quite right with me.
Besides that, I will broadly say that she is talented. She showed a lot more depth later in the show when she's giving a cold shoulder to a certain fella.

Kim Jeong Nan as Park Min Sook

I swear I've seen this lady in another drama, but I can't recall which one. Ah well. I was glad that Jeong Nan had a fairly wide range, so to speak, to her character. She plays a wealthy woman and often times the wealthy person in dramas lack variety to their personality, making them seem almost one dimensional. Not with her. We get to see her, most often, as a confident business woman, she shows a soft side that just wants to be loved, we see her insecurities and a generous side to her as well.

Yoom Se Ah as Hong Se Ra

Wow is this lady stubborn and often arrogant. Thinking about it, she reminds me of the four main gents in the show. They are having issues with realizing that they're getting a bit older. Se-Ah's character, though only in her (mid?) 30s is nevertheless behaving like she's in her 20s--just needing to grow up. I can't quite put my finger on it, but she somehow manages to not make me dislike her. Frustrated at times, but not dislike.

Yoon Jin Yi as Im Meari

Meari's character, I'm quite torn about. She's supposed to be 24 years old, but sometimes or often really, she gave the impression that her mentality was stuck in her teens. Her character often brought up the fact that she's not a kid anymore and she is tired of the four main gents seeing her like a little girl. Sorry to break it to you lady, but your whinny sissy baby moments didn't argue the fact. This is what bothered me, her actions contradicted with her words--a lot.

Lee Jong Hyun as Colin

Yes, Jong Hyun is a member of CN Blue and for this fact of course the show had him sing and play the guitar a couple times. I wonder, when companies bring in musicians, did they already write the character as a closet musical talent or do they hastily add it in after they cast said musician? It doesn't happen every time, but prety dang often.

Anyhoodles. I can't say that I was blown away by Jong Hyun's acting, but I don't think he was awful by any means. Without giving away too much, I was taken aback by the kind of anti-climactic role he played. I felt that his character would be more "hands on" with the drama he brought along, buuuut it didn't quite turn out that way. If was more so the other characters creating the drama amongst themselves, if that makes sense.

Kim Woo Bin as Kim Dong Hyub

I liked Woo Bin's character. I actually wish he was in more scenes. This tall tall man plays a tall tall school boy who is a trouble-maker, but really a good guy at heart. A classic character, but still fun to watch. I even feel like they created a potentially juicy background story for him, but didn't play a whole lot into it. Pity.

Phew, that was a lot to get through. Oh, but my last remaining thought is two aspects of the serious times that happen. The drama that ensues after Colin's character shows up and is revealed as someone super important, mm, the heartbreak it creates was a bit much for me. Perhaps it's a cultural thing and this is really how it would affect people... I think that may be it, but still it was a bit over the top.

As for the longing Meari's character has for a particular gentleman, wow is that really stretched out. That's how these drama's work, they drag things out to keep you hooked no matter how frustrating or in this case, bordering on annoying. 
 Despite those two particular cons, this drama is definitely in my top favorites of all time.

I don't get to watch dramas/movies often enough, so instead of doing these posts bi-weekly, as I did for a little while in the past, it is more reasonable to do reviews once a month. This way you folks can easily keep up with each new show I talk about. We're all busy bees after all.
If you've read all of this, you get a clap of the hands from me. Thank you!

♫  Boyfriend - Dance Dance Dance  ♫
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(Images top-bottom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Jang Dong Gun, Lee Jong Hyuk, Kim Min Jong, Kim Soo Ro, Kim Ha Neul, Kim Jung Nan, Yoon Se Ah, Yoon Jin-Yi, Lee Jung Hyun, Kim Woo Bin)

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