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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A Humorous Vanity Tale
by Betty Jo Tucker

The dictionary describes vanity as “an excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.” And French philosopher Henri Bergson’s observation about vanity seems most appropriate for this review. He wrote, “The only cure for vanity is laughter and the only fault that is laughable is vanity.”

What Happened to Mr. Cha? – a comedy film from South Korea directed and written by Dong-kyu Kim – ends up illuminating Bergson’s point. It deals with a once popular actor obsessed with his celebrity image. And, guess what? That role is played by In-Pyo Cha, a real actor who must have been going through some of the problems faced by this lead character. No wonder he delivers such a marvelous performance in this fictionalized version of his life.  

My husband and I laughed throughout the movie. Funny characters, slapstick comedy and sight gags pop up in the strangest places. Plus, there are some “firsts” for me. For example, I’ve never before laughed while watching a speeding car in a movie. And I can’t remember seeing a film with a tiny dog called Twinkle or a hero with a wagging finger as his signature gesture.

An actor who is growing old

still wants to look both brave and bold.

He tries to keep himself real strong.

Then one day everything goes wrong.

 

He takes his dog for a slow stroll

and ends up naked in a hole.

What will his fans think of him now?

He’s in no state to take a bow.

 

Check this one out, my movie friends.

The entertainment never ends.

A comedy with laughs galore.

Dear Mr. Cha, we want some more!

It’s no surprise that actors are extremely susceptible to vanity. They need managers, fans, photo shoots, publicity, etc. – and this movie takes advantage of those showbiz trappings.  

To reveal anything more about What Happened to Mr. Cha? might interfere with your enjoyment of this special offering, so I will close with two more relevant quotes about vanity.                        

“Vanity is what makes the man in a rut think he’s in the groove.” Evan Eser

“Vanity is my favorite sin.” – Al Pacino

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a fan of South Korean movies like Train to Buzhan and admit to binging several of their TV series, including my favorite Something in the Rain. However, this is the first time I’ve seen the excellent actor In-Pyo Cha. 

(Released by Netflix.)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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