Overall Score: 8/10
Character Development: 8/10 (As expected from the writer of 2 of my all-time favorite dramas )
Plot Development: 6/10 (Everything was fine until the plot got serious, then it just got boring)
Acting: 10/10 (Great cast and chemistry all around)
Soundtrack: 7/10 (I actually liked most of the songs, but no real standouts)
Enjoyability: 8/10 (first half of the drama was great…second half, not so much)
We follow the misadventures of four forty-year-old men as they go through their daily lives and the women that they love. Kim Do Jin(Jang Dong Gun) is a brilliant yet quirky architect who eventually falls in love with Seo Yi Soo(Kim Ha Neul). Yi Soo is a dedicated ethics teacher who at first has a crush on Do Jin’s business partner Im Tae San(Kim Soo Ro). Tae San, however, is in love with Yi Soo’s roommate, professional golfer Hong Se Ra(Yoon Se Ah). Their friend, playboy Lee Jung Rok(Lee Jong Huk), runs a cafe and a bar and is married to the very rich Park Min Sook(Kim Jung Nan). Legal counsel for all three men is widower Choi Yoon(Kim Min Jung) who unsuccessfully tries to fight his attraction to Tae San’s younger sister and Yi Soo’s former student Im Mae Ri(Yoon Jin Yi), who isn’t shy to show her feelings for Yoon.
This is one of the dramas this year that I knew I had to watch. I’ve been a huge fan of Kim Ha Neul since seeing her in On Air and the fact that this was being written by the same writer only made it that much better. And for the most part, I was not disappointed. Each character was uniquely written and the banter was as witty as any drama I’ve seen. I also thought that their relationships with each other were written beautifully as well.
Had this drama kept the same tone that it started with, it could have easily been top five for me. However, once it introduced what would be the central conflict of the latter half of the series, that’s when it took a turn for the worse. Out of nowhere, we are told that Do Jin had a child all along with his first love that he didn’t know about until the boy showed up out of nowhere. Collin(CN Blue’s Lee Jong Hyun) ends up transferring schools to Korea and is in Yi Soo’s class. Of course he is. I had no problem with the conflict per se, so much as the fact that it seemed tacked on and interrupted the flow of the drama in my mind.
The best part of the drama might actually be the short flashbacks to the male leads’ past that preceded every episode. We see how they met, get embarrassed by younger guys at a basketball game, argue over an old drama, and even argue about which SNSD member they like the most(Jessica 4 life!). Did it really add anything to the drama? Sure a little bit, but I honestly looked forward to seeing those as much as the episodes themselves every week.
I can’t say enough about how much chemistry was there between this cast. Each couple was amazing in their own right, even Kim Min Jong and Yoon Jin Yi despite the almost twenty year age gap between the two. I loved Kim Ha Neul as Yi Soo, especially in contrast to the diva character she played in On Air. Kim Soo Ro I’ve been a fan of for a while, but that has more to do with his appearances on the original season of Family Outing. This is not to say he’s a bad actor, far from it actually, but more at how entertaining I find him in variety. Yoon Se Ah, I’d seen in City Hall, but this drama is what made me a fan of hers. For the others, this was my first time seeing them act and I was impressed all around. Yoon Jin Yi has a lot of potential as a rookie actress and I’ll definitely look forward to seeing her next work.
For me, one of the biggest draws of this drama was that with so many main characters, you’re bound to find one you identify with and one that you’ll fall for. This is true for both guys and girls. For the girls you have your pick of the smooth-talking playboy Jung Rok, the cocky and handsome Do Jin, the brash and forthright Tae San, or the loyal voice of reason in Yoon. For the guys, you’re picking between four equally different types of girls: the perky and upbeat younger girl Mae Ri, the expressive and down to earth Yi Soo, the confident and outgoing Se Ra, or the hot noona(as my friend Thekoreanjjang calls it) in Min Sook. Seeing them interact with each other almost felt like a possible future that I can see myself in with my friends.
If slice of life is your genre of choice, this is definitely one drama to watch. For me, especially coming off the craziness of The King 2 Hearts, it was a welcome respite. I really wish it had ended better, but overall I was pretty satisfied with the series.