Review: ‘Innocent Steps’

Mun Geun-yeong, the elfin-faced star of "My Little Bride" and psycho-horror "A Tale of Two Sisters," keeps "Innocent Steps" light on its feet. Romantic comedy about a washed-up ballroom champ and a teenage imposter won't replicate its local success (north of 2 million admissions this spring) far offshore, but is worth a peek by Asiaphiles for Mun's performance.

Mun Geun-yeong, the elfin-faced star of “My Little Bride” and psycho-horror “A Tale of Two Sisters,” keeps “Innocent Steps” light on its feet. Romantic comedy about a washed-up ballroom champ and a teenage imposter won’t replicate its local success (north of 2 million admissions this spring) far offshore, but is worth a peek by Asiaphiles for Mun’s performance. Pic is also superior to last year’s ballroom meller, “Dance With the Wind.”

Hoping to make a comeback, Na Yeong-sae (Park Geon-hyeong) arranges to marry an ethnically Korean champion dancer from China. Only after they’ve registered does he find his bride is actually his intended’s younger sister, Jang Chae-rin (Mun), with almost zero terp experience. Between avoiding Eros’ darts, Yeong-sae tries to train Chae-rin to competition standards in three months. Plot doesn’t hold water for a second, but Chae-rin’s gradual transformation from hick teen to sexy dance partner is cleverly handled by Mun (and pic’s makeup and costume departments), and thesp is a nifty mover on the dance floor alongside musical performer Park. Helmer Park Yeong-hun (“Addicted,” 2002) delivers a good-looking package that only runs out of steam in the final reel.

Innocent Steps

South Korea

Production

A ShowEast release and presentation of a CultureCapMedia production. (International sales: ShowEast, Seoul.) Produced by Choi Sun-shik, Heo Jae-cheol. Executive producer, Kim Dong-ju. Co-exective producer, Kim Jang-wook. Co-producer, Yi Pil-hun. Directed by Park Yeong-hun. Screenplay, Park Gye-ok; adaptation, Park Yeong-hun, Park Hyeon-gyu.

Crew

Camera (color), Kim Jong-yun; editor, Shin Min-gyeong; music, Choi Man-shik; production designer, Shin Jeom-heui; art director, Yu Gil-weon; costume designer, Lee Ji-yeong. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 16, 2005. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

Mun Geun-yeong, Park Geon-hyeong, Park Weon-sang, Yun Chan, Kim Gi-su, Jeong Yu-mi, Lee Dae-yeon, Kim Ji-yeong.
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