REVIEW: 'LIKE FOR LIKES' (좋아해줘) IS A SOCIAL MEDIA ROM COM WITHOUT THE SOCIAL MEDIA
Let me get this out of the way. Like for Likes has little to do with social media. Though marketed as a kind of modern day romantic comedy exploring how social media networks like Facebook bring people together, we have a very ordinary and sometimes interesting movie instead.
The Hyeon-Jin park directed film followers three love lines, the first between two older single people who find themselves living together, two twenty somethings - one of which is a guy who is half deaf, and a young man who's returned from the military pursuing an older woman from his past. The ordinariness of the narratives isn't helped by the sheer unbelievable nature of each scenario. All we really have is the actors, but they can't bolster a tired concept.
Like for Likes is most reminiscent of American money grabbing films like New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day,. Both of those films marketed a cast of over a dozen famous actors with loose underdeveloped plot-lines. For a 2 hour film, sticking together a half a dozen love stories together and hoping that it fits isn't likely to make for an exciting film, but if those movies teach us anything, there is money to be made.
Fortunately, Like for Likes has only three love lines to work with and a fun cast, the standouts being Kang Ha-Neul, Kim Joo-Hyeok and Esom. It helps that Joo-Hyeok is absolutely hilarious as the surrogate older brother to Ha-Neul, and Ha-Neul is a very good actor with some great emotional depth as his half deaf character would convince us.
The rare moments Like for Likes feels unique is when characters fret over the use of social media and texting to initiate or progress a relationship. We've yet to see a movie execute this with accuracy or to much success, and sadly that trend continues as Like For Likes uses Facebook as a temporary gimmick, but without any sense of commentary or substance.
Beyond a few touching moments, Like For Likes isn't anything special and it doesn't try to be. It's a movie with popular actors doing cute things in loosely knit together love stories, but we don't come out of it with a new outlook on life
PLAYBACK RATING: DON'T WATCH
Like for Likes was viewed at KOFFIA, 2016 in Sydney. Be sure to check out upcoming movies in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.