Le Grand Chef

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“So who’s going to die this time?”

That is what I would get when I try to get my friend Esther to watch a Korean movie with me. For the last 5 Korean movies we have watched, the protagonists are always dying of something. From cancers, blood disorders, AIDS, cancer, terrible accidents, you name it, you will have it.

The stories are terribly predictable and cheesy. Nevertheless, Esther who prides herself as an intellectual and knowledgeable manager just adores Korean movies despite all her complains. It’s like her saying how Korean barbeque would make her clothes smell, but she still goes back to that same smoky restaurant every other week.

The comedy Le Grand Chef is no exception to the formulaic rule. Well, nobody dies but you would probably predict the ending of this story of two young chefs cooking up a storm in competition to out-cook each other. It does not help that one is good looking, while the other just has that rough bad guy look.

Unlike Hollywood movies where the leads are always suave and charismatic, there is always something very ‘kampung’ about Korean male leads. Call it the ‘curse’ of The Sassy Girlfriend. Lead Kim Kang-woo though not the typical male macho, exudes an earnest and sincere charm that every mother would approve should their daughter bring him home for dinner.

Let’s not forget the two other important people in a Korean movie – the pesky girlfriend and a silly looking sidekick. They are absolutely needed to stir up laughs by being very ridiculous. Perhaps the fierce and shouting girlfriends can always satisfy the inner desires of the traditionally submissive Asian girls.

Movies do not often reflect reality. With no offence to all my Korean friends, Esther was indeed terribly disappointed when she did not find any Rains or Sang Woos in her trip to Seoul. She has to understand that no every Singaporean girl looks like Fann or Fiona either.

My advice to guys would be to bring a packet of tissue if you are bringing your girlfriend to watch a Korean movie. Even if the protagonist does not die of cancer, it would come in handy when the male lead is a lot cuter than you.

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