Nothing Serious (2021) ☆☆1/2(2.5/4): No string attached, right?

As your average seasoned moviegoer, I usually find myself getting bored while watching romantic comedy films. Unless they are equipped with enough charm and appeal to hold my attention, many of romantic comedy films do not engage me that much as duly following their predictable plot and then arriving at the eventual happy ending, and most of such cases are quickly forgotten as I quickly move onto whatever I am going to watch next.

In case of South Korean romantic comedy film “Nothing Serious”, I was thankfully not that bored during my viewing, but I was also constantly aware of its plot mechanism and clichés throughout its 95-miunte running time. While it is supposed to be a cool contemporary genre piece for our digital age, the movie itself has nothing new or refreshing in my trivial opinion, and that is a shame considering the fairly enjoyable performances from its two appealing lead performers.

At first, the movie shows how things have been going nowhere for Ja-yeong (Jeon Jong-seo). She recently applied for the government grant to finance her independent podcast which may be a big breakthrough for her independent professional career, but she is not so sure about whether she will succeed or not, and she has also been quite depressed since she broke up with her ex-boyfriend several months ago. Although she is often consoled by her widower father as well as several close friends of hers, she cannot help but feel lonely as facing her increasing sexual need day by day during last several months.

That is why she begins to use a certain digital application for casual sexual encounter, but, so far, she has not been able to get any suitable man for her. Sincerely concerned about their friend, Ja-yeong’s friends suggest that she should aim lower a bit in addition to motivating her a lot, and, what do you know, she is subsequently approached by someone suitable for her on one day.

That person in question is Woo-ri (Son Sukku), and he and Ja-yeong soon come to have sex together shortly after their Meet Cute moment, but, as already shown to us from the beginning, Woo-ri has a hidden motive behind him. As one of the staff writers of some fancy magazine, he is assigned to write a series of columns about casual sexual encounters via that digital application, and, despite his initial reluctance as well as the lack of his experience, he agrees to write several columns as demanded by his forceful editor-in-chief.

Now you will have a pretty good idea on what will happen next, and the movie does not exceed your expectation at all. Yes, Woo-ri and Ja-yeong come to feel much better than before as they meet each other for sex again and again. Yes, even though they make it pretty clear to each other from the beginning that their meetings are simply for sexual pleasure, they eventually come to open themselves more to each other anyway. Yes, Woo-ri’s subsequent columns surely draw lots of clicks after published on the Internet, and he certainly comes to feel conflicted more when he has to keep meeting Ja-yeong for more columns to write.

In the meantime, the movie gives us a number of humorous scenes to enjoy. I like several casual moments of camaraderie among Ja-yeong and her close friends, and I also enjoyed an unexpected comic moment involved with the evening wedding ceremony of Ja-yeong’s ex-boyfriend. In addition, the movie provides a few good chuckles from the brash attitude from Woo-ri’s editor-in-chief, and I was disappointed to see that the movie does not utilize this supporting character further for more laughs for us.

Like many of other romantic comedy films out there, the movie comes to lose its cheerful mood after a certain inevitable moment which you could already see coming from the distance, and we are served with a series of genre conventions including, yes, a musical interlude for conveying to us some passage of time. I was relieved to see that the movie does not dwell too much on this part, but, unfortunately, the following ending feels unsatisfying for being too abrupt and convenient, and that was another disappointment for me.

Anyway, the movie is supported fairly well by its two lead performers, who deserve better considering the good comic chemistry between them. Jeon Jong-seo, who has quickly advanced during last several years thanks to her good performance in “Burning” (2018) and “The Call” (2020), demonstrates another side of her undeniable talent here, and she is especially funny whenever her character freely and unapologetically follows her sexual need and desire. On the opposite, Son Sukku’s low-key acting complements his co-star’s spirited performance well during several key scenes between them, and several other cast members including Gong Min-jung and Kim Jae-hwa have each own little juicy moment around Jeon and Son.

On the whole, “Nothing Serious” is merely passable while not bringing anything particularly new or fresh to its genre, but it is not a total dud at all due to director/co-writer Jeong Ka-young’s competent direction and his two lead performers’ engaging presence. I would rather recommend another recent South Korean romantic comedy film “Perhaps Love” (2021) because it is more humorous and entertaining in comparison, but I did not feel like wasting my time despite my lingering dissatisfaction with “Nothing Serious”, and you will probably enjoy the film more than I did.

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