The Korea Herald


[Herald Review] ‘Single in Seoul’ a bland rom-com about modern single life

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Nov. 28, 2023 - 14:51

    • Link copied

“Single in Seoul” (Lotte Entertainment) “Single in Seoul” (Lotte Entertainment)

Im Soo-jung and Lee Dong-wook seem like a good match in Korean romance flicks – as seen in Lee’s special appearance as Im’s ex in “Search WWW” (2019) -- but their reunion in “Single in Seoul is something of a disappointment.

Directed by Park Bum-soo and produced by the team behind “Architecture 101,” a 2012 hit film about young love, this romantic comedy film revolves around Young-ho (Lee) and Hyun-jin (Im), who slowly fall in love despite their distinctively different lifestyles.

Young-ho -- who dreamt of being single forever and enjoying every moment of life by himself -- meets Hyun-jin, who gives meaning to every action by the men around her. She pays attention to even a random man who sits next to her at a cafe leaving a folded memo on his tray, which turns out to have been just a discarded receipt.

Hyun-jin and Young-ho meet while working on publishing a book about single life. Young-ho, who is adamant about single life, sees a different side of Hyun-jin, a person who looks perfect on the surface but is actually quite messy.

While the film’s premise is relatable amid the rise in the number of single households here, as well as the number of those who prefer to remain single, it is the familiar background music such as AKMU’s “Last Goodbye” and Kim Hyun-chul’s “It's Been A While,” both used heavily in TV commercials, that makes it easy for the audience to follow the story.

When Young-ho’s first love Hong (Lee Som), a wanderlusting writer now living in Barcelona, makes a sudden appearance, however, the film begins to lose its hold on the audience. With the addition of a random new character, the film takes an ambiguous and off-balance turn.

This unnecessary addition drags down the plot, with both the melodramatic aspects and the comedic scenes failing to grab viewers' attention. In some scenes, the film feels rather like a documentary on how a book is published.

While “Single in Seoul” aims to tell a simple story depicting the lives of modern singles featuring a talented and attractive cast, the film is bland overall. The notable lack of memorable lines, wit and powerful romance overshadows the chemistry between the lead actors.

“Single in Seoul” opens in local theaters on Nov. 29.