Three separate holiday affairs, tenuously connected by their shared destination, are cruisy and bright, though rarely surprising, in the entertaining South Korean criss-crosser "Romantic Island."

Three separate holiday affairs, tenuously connected by their shared destination, are cruisy and bright, though rarely surprising, in the entertaining South Korean criss-crosser “Romantic Island.” Released Dec. 24 as a date movie, this amusing pic garnered only mild biz locally, and is too mainstream for most Western festivals. But other Asian markets — especially the Philippines, where the story is mostly set — may be more enthusiastic.

Inspired by a gamut of reasons, six Seoulites travel to the island of Boracay, south of Manila, to solve their problems. K-popster-cum-actress Eugene is pitch-perfect as runaway rock star Ga-young, whose hook-up with unemployed geek Jung-hwan (Lee Min-ki) is charming. Strongest thread depicts the melting of CEO bully Jae-hyuk (Hong Sang-soo alum Lee Sun-kyun) by happy-go-lucky free spirit Soo-jin (“Tazza” starlet Lee Soo-kyung, comically delightful). Third strand, about suicidal schlub Joong-shik (Lee Mun-shik), feels superfluous until it belatedly links all three stories. First-timer Kang Chul-woo helms in a slickly straightforward style, and all thesps give enjoyable perfs. Tech credits are up to South Korea’s usual high benchmark, though the studio work lacks the vividness of the location scenes.

Romantic Island

South Korea

Production

An SBSi Co. presentation of a DRM Entertainment Co., SBSi Co. production. (International sales: Mirovision, Seoul.) Produced by Lee Jung-sub, Shin Hyung-chul. Executive producer, Lee Nam-ki. Co-producer, Kevin Kim. Directed by Kang Chul-woo. Screenplay, Lee Jung-sub.

Crew

Camera (color), Choi Yun-man; editor, Choi Jai-keun; music, Tearliner; art director, Song Hye-jin. Reviewed on DVD, Sydney, April 4, 2009. (In Hong Kong Filmart.) Korean, English, Filipino dialogue. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Soo-kyung, Lee Min-ki, Eugene, Lee Mun-shik.
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