Truth be told, if I were to come across Son Ye-jin's Han Ji-wan character, with those bambi eyes and pretty face, I would go jelly too. But that'a about it. I guess I pretty much ruled myself out of the dating scene, for the time being at least, to fall for her manipulative charms. Perhaps it's true that a pretty face can turn a monster into a mouse, and boy, does Son Ye-jin turn heads.
She plays a "player/swinger" Han Ji-wan, a private banker who uses her good looks to win customer confidence, or uses it to seduce any man she fancies, for whatever multiple reasons. If anything, players/swingers are quite insecure folks, despite the confidence they project on the exterior. Audiences might have noticed her playing opposite Korean heartthrob Bae Yong-jun in April Snow, where her character was mostly calm, composed, demure, quiet. Here, she goes to the opposite end of the spectrum, with her gregarious, scheming nature in full contrast with the former character's. She also seemed to have slimmed down a bit from her chubbier April Snow outing, but yeah, nobody's complaining ;-P
Playing the alpha-male seducer, her counterpart/rival/mark, is actor Song Il-guk. As a good looking architect, Seo Min-jun is a chip off his father's playboy ways. Like Ji-wan, he too is able to turn on his charms to snag the woman he desires, and when he's tired of it all, after reaching his goal, he brings them to a setup fortune teller, using Fate as an excuse that things will not work out.
So The Art of Seduction presents to you, the tricks both sexes use on their prey. And it turns up the heat, when the two players meet. Here's where the usual tricks don't seem to work, especially when used on experienced, first-rate players who have worked the ground using similar tactics, and counter-tactics. The narrative was played out rather ordinarily, with one side being presented a scenario created by the other, and how they wriggle out from, then the tables are turned using a different scenario, and it goes on. And unfortunately, for far too long.
It does get to you after a while, as you'll start to feel the length of this 100 minute movie. Some of the tactics used were recycled, like Ji-wan's expensive car accident trick, and Min-jun's cost of cigarette statement. For non-Korean speaking folks, you might get lost during the early sight gags where MCQs in Korean flashed onscreen. Thankfully this technique isn't used for the entire movie.
Many situations presented in the movie also pushes the envelope of believability - how much would a man go to satisfy the unreasonable/weird demands of a girl? It's the games people play, and how much do you want to get involved? And it does seem weird that the men Ji-wan snags (with her skills) always turn out to be the ah-peks (older men have all the fun?) while Min-jun does well with better choices (by better I mean more pleasing to the eye).
On the whole, the movie is pretty campy fun, despite some scenarios not being reasonably plausible. You get to laugh at the jokes (some being quite weak though, and can be seen a mile away), toilet humour even, but more importantly, depending which way you swing, the eye candy on screen would be satisfying enough to forgive the flaws.