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      How to Use Guys with Secret Tips

      2013 1h 56m Romance Comedy List
      Reviews 70% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings An overworked woman tries to improve her standing with men using a self-help video. Read More Read Less

      Audience Reviews

      View All (3) audience reviews
      jesse o You know, I've always been very critical of South Korean rom-coms for always following the same goddamn formula without any real variation or subversion of the usual tropes. It's always the same thing over and over and over again. One of their preferred forms of telling a romantic story is to have the guy be an arrogant, rich jerk to a woman who's hard-working, decent and bubbly. You don't wanna know how many times I've seen this trope play out. Either that or it's the other way around and the guy is humble and sweet and the woman he's in love with steps all over him. These films have the same three act structure. First act is goofy and silly. Second act is a little more serious and the third act (or at least after everything is resolved) is goofy and silly again. In a lot of these films there's also a great usage of histrionics that just drag everything down. I've been asking, for AGES it seems, for someone to actually do something different with the genre. Something that flips the genre, at least in this country, on its head. And I'll be damned if this isn't the closest thing to subversion of the usual South Korean rom-com tropes. I'll be honest, I don't remember the last time that I enjoyed a South Korean rom-com as much as I enjoyed this one. I'm honestly trying to remember, but I'm drawing a blank on it. Here's the thing, most of these films aren't actually bad, but the way they play into stereotypes and follow the same melodramatic narrative paths, make me dislike them more than I probably would normally. Again, sometimes you just want something different and this film is precisely what the doctor ordered. I think first things first, when it comes to reviewing this flick, is talking about the completely absurdist tone of its comedy early on. Basically, Bona is this assistant TV commercial director. She allows everyone to step over her and use her talents for their own benefits. After 5 years of this, and being stranded by the crew after a shoot, she's sick and tired of it all. She starts walking home, I believe, before coming across this man and his van and the videotapes he sells for every situation. If you can imagine a situation where you might have to confront someone or use some sort of skills you don't have, he probably has a tape for it. Anyway, this character psychoanalyzes Bona and assumes, correctly, that the men in her life step all over her and they do not appreciate her talents. He then proceeds to sell her these instructional tapes on how to use men for her purposes with various different tactics. This happens very early on, but this is still when the movie really begins, even though the silly and absurdist tone has already been established. What can I say about the instructional tapes? They're, to me, easily the best part of the film. And that's taking into consideration that I thought everything (and everyone else) surrounding the tapes was really good as well. The tapes begin with the man, whose name we never knew, talking straight into the camera and giving Bona advice on what she needs to do. To illustrate how things should go, he has these two actors, one man and one woman naturally, act things out in an incredibly awkward fashion. These segments usually end with the male actor giving a strange thumbs up and smile. It's so fucking ridiculous, but that's what made it so damn entertaining. I suppose one could make the argument that it's trying hard to be quirky, but I never felt that way. And, even if it was trying too hard, all I care about is if it entertained me, which it did. Naturally, moving forward, Bona starts to rise up the ranks of her chosen field as the advice the tapes give her are actually working. There's this arrogant actor that she ends up falling for and, of course, things come to a head later in the film once he finds out that she's been using these tapes to manipulate him, as it were. The film, particularly for such a conservative country as it relates to mainstream rom-coms, does try to examine male behavior and how to get around that or how to use that behavior for your own gains. Another thing that surprised me is that as Bona rises through the ranks, some people, including the arrogant actor she fell for, start to question if she slept around to get her position. Bona points this out to Lee, the actor, and she says if she was a man, he'd just be called ambitious, but if she does it it's because she slept around. It's not like they go super in-depth with this, that's really the extent of it all, but it's surprising to see from a country such as this. I will say that, if there are some weaknesses, it is the fact that the movie becomes just another rom-com near the end. There's no melodrama, thank goodness, but it is every rom-com you've ever seen for a while there. I do believe that they do a good enough job at injecting some of the film's traditional absurdist humor in these moments, but there's much less of them than there were at the beginning. I don't think that ends up hurting the score too much. The rest of the film is so damn good and entertaining that I can't really hold it too much against them. And, again, they still had some of that trademark humor. All the actors in this movie are great, I cannot complain the slightest. The writing is clever and quick-witted. And I've already gone over its absurdist humor. I'm not saying that every attempt at humor in this film works, I'm just saying that, like, 90% of them do. While I certainly had a few issues with this, this movie is just a breath of fresh air from a country that really needed some new blood injected in their rom-coms. I don't think this will be everybody's cup of tea, but I'd recommend it if you're looking to have a blast watching something super silly. Very good movie right here, I don't care who knows. Which is why I'm posting this review on websites that are visited by a lot of people. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Cute Korean movie. Downtrodden woman is sick of being overlooked and disrespected both at work and in her personal life. One evening, following another disastrous day at work which leaves her stranded, she encounters a stall in the middle of nowhere and a man sells her a set of video tapes. The tapes promise to change her life. What follows is nothing you can take seriously. Video tapes? Really?! But it's a fun kitschy idea and enjoyable to watch. I don't think it's giving much away to say she has a makeover and what a difference getting the fringe out of her eyes and the horrible hoodie off! Suddenly things are looking up, but can she live with herself? Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Audience Member Quirky rom-com chickflick from Korea. Hollywood should take note. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis An overworked woman tries to improve her standing with men using a self-help video.
      Director
      Lee Wonsuk
      Screenwriter
      Lee Wonsuk, Noh Hye-yeong, Ha Sujin
      Production Co
      Showbox Entertainment
      Genre
      Romance, Comedy
      Original Language
      Korean
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Apr 12, 2017
      Runtime
      1h 56m