Why Jang Geun Suk is the Prince of Asia: Pretty Man (Bel Ami/Beautiful Man/Pretty Boy) Korean Drama Review
Pretty Man was one of those K-dramas that could have gone either way for me, pretty much until the very end when it all unexpectedly came together. There were parts of the plot that made no sense, and aspects of the characters that I loathed, but somehow by a little magic it kept me coming back for more, and even left me satisfied at the end. After short thought I contribute this largely to the mystery that is Jang Geun Suk's charm. I can't explain it, and never believed in it before, but this drama has undeniably led me to understand why it is that Jang Geun Suk is indeed the Prince of Asia.
The main reason I was drawn to Pretty Man was because of IU's charming ability to make you want to be her, or to at least be her best friend. Her character, Kim Bo Tong, is this strange combination of awkward, adorable, whimsical, slightly perverted, very determined, and incorrigible in her determination to love the male lead.
IU portrays this child-like innocence and wonder like no other actress. Her big round eyes, porcelain skin, rosy lips, and cute little haircut all contribute to this ability, but beyond that she just exudes an excitement as if she's discovering the world for the first time and is in awe of all of it, especially of the male lead, Ma Te (Jang Geun Suk).
I just couldn't resist this female lead despite the fact that her type of one-sided love and obsession for the male lead always is a huge turn off for me (see my Playful Kiss review for another example of my hatred for puppy-like female leads). It still really bothered me to see her give and give relentlessly to Ma Te even though he snubbed her and used her so arrogantly, but in spite of this assault on my senses, I was able to overlook it. IU magic!
One reason I think I was able to get past that was that I LOVED the second male lead David Choi, played by Lee Jang Woo. Since he played such a big part in the drama, more so than most second male leads, I sometimes forgot entirely about Ma Te. He provided a great distraction from the parts I hated and I was sucked into his equally quirky, innocent, and loyal character. He definitely was the other half of IU and their interactions were hilarious and awww-inducing.
I knew he wasn't going to win, but I managed to live in denial completely for about 14 of the 16 episodes. Then it all went south when the male lead finally decided to do a complete, sudden 180 and fall in love with the female lead.
|Oh my heart! I was so sad for him.|
|I want you by my side David!!!|
|Oh man, this moment when he was trying to seduce the electric fairy was when I first realized his charm.|
Pretty Man succeeded in this, but the timing was all off. Ma Te was not nice and showed hardly any signs of love towards Bo Tong until the last two episodes. This should have happened by episode 8! It was too little too late. They totally missed the couple blissful episodes in the middle that they should have had, and the male lead never grew on me.
Overall, I enjoyed Pretty Man partly because I tricked my roommate into watching it with me so we bonded over it, partly because the whimsical feel of it was fun and light after watching so much crying in Heirs, partly because I love IU, partly because I wanted to marry the second male lead, and ultimately because Jang Geun Suk is the Prince of Asia and kind of the Prince of My Heart, just a little bit.
For all its plot holes and the obnoxious female lead's love for the male lead, I can recommend it as a fun, light hearted K-drama to watch when you just want to mindlessly sit back and relax. There wasn't too much excessive crying or longing, but it will give you the pleasant FEELS.
What did you think of Pretty Man? Did Jang Geun Suk steal your heart? Which of his hairstyles did you hate the most? Comment below!