Kang Woo Ram is busy preparing to get a job. Lee Hyun Ji is a would-be anchor, but she works at a homemade hamburger restaurant. One night, Woo Ram visits the hamburger restaurant and orders a double patty hamburger, which has a "buy one, get one free" sale. This is how their relationship begins. (Source: AsianWiki) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
I watched this because Irene was in itI have never written a review for a kdrama or a movie before, but for some reason I felt compelled to write one for Double Patty (probably because there are no reviews as of the time I am writing this). To preface, I had heard about Double Patty earlier last year when it was reported that Irene would star as the female lead in a movie. I was extremely surprised because the only prior acting experience she had was in a web drama that didn't really get much attention (I recall a lot of people talking about it), and starring as a lead in a movie seemed like a big jump from that. Now here is the review (I'm bad at writing essays so I'll just format my review based on the rating criteria above):
Story: The story is about two characters who each have goals (one wants to be a news reporter and the other wants to be a wrestling champion). They both strive towards their goals, experience setback, meet each other at their low points, help each other overcome their setbacks, and ultimately reach their goals. On a basic level this story is fine, but I think it was the poor execution of it that made me feel like it was bad.
The biggest problem I had with the movie is that the main characters' backgrounds and motives are not well established. In the first two and half minutes of the movie we are shown a slideshow of both characters and how they reached this point of wanting to do what they want to do. Lee Hyunji's father and her father's friend were in the news industry. And while the friend succeeded, Hyunji's father did not. We do not know why he ended up failing, but we are shown a picture of her father protesting against the privatization of news. As for the other character, Kang Wooram, we are shown that he got into Korean wrestling while growing up. The relevant characters in his backstory are his friend/rival who quickly surpassed him in wrestling, and his wrestling mentor (big brother figure?) who has just passed away. That was it. Each character was given less than a minute and thirty seconds to establish who they were and what their motivations were, and now the rest of the plot is driven by that. Now I get this isn't a television series, so we aren't able to have hours of screen time to set up the characters. But if this is all we are given, it is hard to feel interested or invested in our leads' journeys. Movies that do a good job of establishing the characters and their motivations don't just tell you who the characters are, but they show it to you. A good example of this, I feel, is Forrest Gump. In Forrest Gump, we see all the formative experiences the main character has (in fact, we almost experience them with him) and then we reach the point of the "current time". Now of course I'm not saying that a movie has to spend 80% of the time establishing the characters, I just think that character and motivation establishment can take its time and can develop even while the plot is moving.
The other thing that bothered me was the relationship between Lee Hyunji and Kang Wooram. The first time the characters have contact is when Wooram catches a few glimpses of Hyunji in a restaurant and outside, and just has the expression of "wow yeppeuda." Later, the first time the two actually meet is when Wooram goes into the burger place that Hyunji works at and awkwardly orders the late night special. From then on, Wooram frequently goes to the burger joint because he likes pretty girls and good deals (who doesn't) and their interactions compose of them checking each other out when the other person isn't looking. Following this unknown amount of time, Wooram shows up one night to the burger joint drunk and they are conveniently out of patties (even though the main thing they sell are burgers and there are no customers). She knows that he is sad because of his mentor's death so she takes him out to eat, then takes him back to her place for some beer, then decides to go to his mentor's memorial service with him, then they walk around his hometown like a couple, then she comforts him while he is mourning over his mentor, then she successfully encourages him to continue pursuing his wrestling goal all within 2 or 3 days. Of course it's possible for two stranger to progress their relationship this quickly, but it probably isn't very common. Furthermore, it may just be personal taste, but I find it hard to root for a relationship that is based off of physical attraction as opposed to one built on an emotional connection over time. Or maybe that's just the jealousy kicking in saying "we get it, you guys are both hot." Regardless, all I felt was a sense of apathy towards their relationship as I didn't feel moved or invested in it.
Basically the movie felt like it was mostly being carried by Irene's face and Shin Seung Ho's body.
Acting/Cast: Irene's (Bae Joohyun) acting was mediocre. The thing I looked forward to the most when watching Double Patty was seeing the range of emotions Irene was going to show. I was thinking "maybe we'll see her cry, or see her ecstatic, or even see her angry." But we got mostly neutral Irene, shy Irene, and smiley Irene (shy and smiley Irene overlapped a few times). I don't know if she was doing a bad job of expressing her character's emotions or if her character was just written to be really bland. Also, it felt like half of her scenes were either eating food or drinking soju like a commercial. I remember specifically this one scene where they were on her rooftop patio and she was handing Wooram a can of beer. She had her head tilted slightly forward, her hair gracefully falling down, perfect makeup, perfect lighting, a big smile on her face, and there was even some wind making her hair flow. This was in the middle of the movie and it looked like they were filming a beer ad. I paused the movie right then and there and considered closing out the tab. Nothing wrong with looking great and being a CF queen, but it seemed like either she or the director was leaning too much on that, and it gave her acting a very unnatural feel at times.
As for Shin Seung Ho, his acting was not bad. Although not particularly amazing, he did have the one crying scene which was a pretty good performance.
Everyone else was fine, but none of them really stood out too much either.
Music: The music did its job, I didn't really notice it and I don't feel like going back through the movie to listen to the sound track. There was that one song that Irene sings that you hear in the trailer.
Rewatch value: The only reason I would rewatch this would be to give it a proper review. Then again, I rarely rewatch movies so I might not be the best person to make a take on this.
Overall: I don't think a 5.0 is "bad". If we rate a movie from a scale of 1 to 10, regardless of the distribution, the average should be 5.5 right? So a 5 is just below average. I don't know what to say except that I did not expect that it would take me over two and a half hours to write a review and now I'm up at 4 AM not knowing what I'm doing with my life. I spent more time and energy writing this review than I did on my English papers in college. There is more I would like to talk about on this movie, but I'm bad at articulating my thoughts in written form so this will be it.
Irene and Seung Ho was a clickbaitI notice there is little reviews for this movie and I got to say that I fully agree with the first detailed review in support of his views. I am writing this review are to further provide my personal perspectives on how this movie experience went down for me without any spoilers just in case anyone is planning to give it a watch.
To keep it spoiler-free, I will be giving a more general-vague description of what I felt went wrong with the story-line. The first biggest flaw is definitely the character introduction that doesn't provide adequate backstory for the viewers to understand the relationship and motives between the cast. Perhaps the director assumed he placed enough information later on in the movie so that we could start understanding the point of view but it is like trying to force the viewers into this "speculation-mode" without feeling any concreteness as to whether the director intended the motive to work out like that. There was many side characters that was just "barely existing" and falls under this 2 Dimensional category where they seems unique but doesn't actually have any substance at all. I don't feel the weight of their emotions nor place enough importance of getting to know them even though the actors/actress had done an amazing job in other movies/dramas I have seen from them. As an example, Min Sung Wook and Jo Dal Hwan played really confusing characters.
Second flaws is how messy the story is ordered and the lack of natural progression the viewer would expect. An example I would give is the hit and getting hit theory where there is always a reaction to every action. When one scene happens, naturally the next scene should match the previous scene but this movie skip that whole entire "next scene" and showed us the outcome. As if someone was punched in the face and the next thing you know, they are in the hospital without showing anyone fetching the person to the hospital. The story jumps like that and it doesn't help my viewing experience in building up my emotional attachment to any character. It defeats the purpose of watching a story for their journey.
Third flaws is the reasons as to why the relationship began between both Main Leads. Usually physical attraction is the first trait people would notice and the leads do have that. However, beyond physical attraction is the emotional attachment that is formed from the journey experience by both parties. This department is severely lacking and they can almost be considered as separate entity from what I have seen. They are independent but there is nothing truly holding them together. They are goal-driven and that's very much to it.
Let's just say that they weren't able to fully display what Irene could potentially have acted in a range of emotions. I highly agree with the first reviewer on this as I wished they would show more of her desperation in her acting rather than keeping her neutral all the time. Even the Male lead had those moments so I am wondering why they couldn't replicate it with the female lead. Although the male lead "desperation" part has already weaken severely from the flawed story line, I wasn't bought into the story so the actors couldn't show us their potential at all. Sometimes I just feel like everything is too perfect with how Irene and Seung Ho looked, it made the story less realistic and more of a success fantasy story. They have potential but it wasn't used to the fullest.
Nothing stands out here and the ending credit sung by Irene was alright.
Only chance I would re watch it is for Irene's visual or to see the beautiful shots they had with the landscape. The burger CFs does make me hungry for one. Double Patty time.
Overall, I gave it 5.5 because 5 star drama usually have very big flaws in directing, story writing and acting in terms of my criteria. It is bearable in that I can still finish the whole movie/drama but I can't say I enjoy the finished product. Sure, there is tidbits which I liked and gave it an extra 0.5 but that is as far as I will go. I usually give 5 star to content I finishes since I would have dropped something if it is already below that 5 star range. My recommendation if you do plan to watch it is to treat it simply as a very lighthearted success story of two individual without needing to think too much about the story itself. Just see the visual and potentially you may like it.