Though Asian romantic comedies have almost zero market in the West, except as remakes, “Rules of Dating” is well worth a look-see by programmers of Far East-friendly festivals. Dialogue-driven look at two wannabe lovers has a more free-ranging style than most slick Korean romancers, plus a standout performance by actress Gang Hye-jeong. Pic was a surprising summer hit, with 1.5 million admissions (some $9 million).
New high school teacher Choi Hong (Gang) is immediately targeted by a colleague, lothario Lee Yu-rim (Park Hae-il), who calmly suggests sex over dinner. After she turns him down, the two have accidental intimacy while drunk on a school outing. Their subsequent ups and downs — both have partners, and she’s due to marry a boring doctor — riff on the genre by making sex rather than romance the driving factor. Dialogue is frank, and the film’s easy flow, helped by a light guitar score and restless editing and lensing (with the camera like a voyeuristic third party), satisfyingly suspends belief. As the teach who likes sex but is worried by her lack of love, Gang carries the picture, with a nice line in put-down glances.