My PS Partner
My PS Partner
aka 나의 P.S. 파트너 aka Naui P.S. Pateuneo aka Whatcha Wearin’?
Written by Byun Sung-Hyun, Kim Min-Soo, and Kim Soo-A
Directed by Byun Sung-Hyun
Filthy talk with no filter mixed in a romantic comedy package gives us My PS Partner. But don’t be fooled, this film doesn’t lean on its frank sex talk, that’s just icing on the total package. The male character Hyun-seung is suffering from a recent breakup after seven years with the girl, complete with the mental trauma from all the highs and lows. Yoon-jung is coasting her way through her long relationship with a boyfriend who can’t be bothered to even propose after five years, and spends all his time at work (work sometimes being a female coworker’s vagina!) Her malaise as she follows the trajectory everyone and society has set for her is heartbreaking, and her fantasy sequences of actually standing up for herself just compound the sorrow.
Korean romantic comedies are one of my favorite genres, because they never just stick to romance and comedy, but their emotions run across the entire map. It’s not unusual for characters to be dealing with deep emotional trauma in between scenes of slapstick comedy. My PS Partner was on my radar while still filming thanks to the rumors it was going to be raunchy. It’s that in spades, but the portraits of the two damaged souls that are united by a simple misdial are vivid.
In an attempt to spice up her love life (or at least get her boyfriend to stop spending all his time on spreadsheets), Yoon-jung calls him for some phone sex (the PS of My PS Partner) and demands he not talk, just listen. Thus some full-fledged sensual phone sex action takes place, except thanks to a misdial (Yoon-jung was unable to transfer her addressbook into her new phone and had to do them all manually) she instead dials Hyun-seung, who is confused and then thinks it is some sort of phone sex line.
What starts out as a misdialed phone call turns into much more as the two begin talking. Soon they become more connected, freed by the semi-anonymity afforded by the phone. Eventually they meet and get closer, but both of them are still on their own paths. It becomes apparent the two are meant to be together, but will that happen or will Yoon-jung sleepwalk her way into a terrible marriage and Hyun-seung live with regret? Also what color panties are you wearing?
My PS Partner features those great scene transitions Korean film figured out long ago and the rest of the world has failed to keep up (even with Stoker featuring them front and center!) It looks great, and we quickly jump through time both as it passes and into flashbacks. Hyun-Seung has several flashbacks as random little things suddenly make him think of treasured (or not so treasured) memories with So-Yeon, including a very sexy sequence on the couch as he tunes more than his guitar. Someone in the writing pool has had a regretful breakup, because the feelings are all too real.
Hyun-Seung is joined by the required best friends, including the incredibly horny best fried every romantic comedy lead seems to have. Seok-Woon (Kim Sung-Oh from The Man From Nowhere and She Is On Duty) spends most of the film talking dirty and decrying traditional relationships. Thus it is a gag that he suddenly has a girlfriend (with blonde hair!) near the end of the film, a counter to the straitlaced Young-Min (Moon Ji-Yoon), who loses his girlfriend as she went to study overseas and took an unexpected male anatomy class.
Yoon-Jung has even quit her job because Seung-Joon demanded it, saying he would provide for her. She spends much of the film planning and designing lingerie for her own eventual business doing that. That’s really her only creative outlet, her time with her two friends (one of which is her younger sister who got pregnant in high school — how often do you see any film that acknowledges that stuff happens??) is limited and she can’t even have a decent conversation with her mom without mother getting all disturbing. With Seung-Joon always working, Yoon-Jung is perpetually alone, thus a voice on the phone that can provide conversation is a welcome diversion. Yoon-Jung dreams of doing more with her life, but her fantasies where she stands up for herself are just that, fantasies, and she frustratingly does nothing as Seung-Joon parades his mistress in front of her or fails to realize she wants to get married.
Often romcoms will feature one of the characters careening towards a doomed marriage, something they feel they’re obligated to perform for some reason or another. Yoon-Jung’s wedding gains the ire because her entire character is frustration and lack of doing things for herself. But even though things eventually end up ok (SPOILER!), it’s not because Hyun-Seung swoops in and becomes her new savior. Yoon-Jung goes on to achieve her own success with her lingerie business and finally gets some happiness that’s hers, as she’s free to do what she wants. Thus her then pursuit of Hyun-Seung feels genuine and not just a pathetic girl chasing after a frog prince.
The scene from My PS Partner that will forever be stuck in my mind is Hyun-Seung singing about panties at Yoon-Jung’s wedding. The whole thing just snowballs spectacularly and then smashes into the wedding causes chaos. Another awesome scene is near the beginning, when a waiter (played by Kim Jun-Ho) makes a deal with Yoon-Jung to have what she thinks is a proposal be more special. The result throws an absurd layer over the disappointment. My PS Partner‘s frank conversations give it a unique voice, as the conversations are framed in respect to relationships and aren’t just a bunch of horny teenagers saying things to be outrageous. There is a level of sincerity there that pushes My PS Partner into a great film.
Rated 9/10 (CJ, symbolic, can’t even propose right, mom, mistress, blueprints, nerd, friend, musician)
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