Beloved, I’m crazy for you.
In a small nightclub So Jung (Han Ji Min) switches to a ukulele to sing her latest song: “Your day begins with an alarm… Alarms are always on time… Get up to the wake alarm… Wash to the shower alarm… When the alarm rings 12:15 pm… You go inside a store… At the store she is always there… You want to tell her how you feel… So you set an alarm and a plan… To make the perfect confession for the only girl exactly like you… Like him… like her… lonely you”
To Mr. Han’s (Jung Jae-Young) horror So Jung sees him in the audience. She points him out of the crowd: “Its plan man! He’s the plan man!” So Jung starts a cheer: Plan Man! Plan Man! (the audience turns to him and starts to cheer too: Plan! Man! Plan Man!) Mr. Han is embarrassed and screams: “That’s personal!” He storms out the exit.
PLAN MAN is a funny, endearing rom com from Korea currently showing in RED by HBO. Actor Jung Jae-Young plays Han Jeong Seuk a librarian with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. In his case he plans out his day almost to the millisecond, from the moment he wakes he irons out his bed sheets. In his mind it’s the people who don’t plan, who don’t obsessively clean up after themselves who are ‘crazy’.
The problem comes when he falls for 7-11 cashier Ji Won (Cha Ye-Ryuun). Not only is she pretty but is definitely another OCD. He notices her ‘appealing’ habits of arranging the display, disinfecting her hands and endlessly cleaning glass surfaces. Big surprise he is inept with the opposite sex. Enter So Jung (Han Ji Min) who volunteers to help him date the lovely Ji Won. So Jung needs Mr. Han because she’s obsessed with joining an American Idol-type contest for bands.According to the rules So Jung could not enlist herself as a soloist and she needs him, who just happens to know how to play the keyboards.
Jung Jae Young
Jung Jae Young is a veteran actor of Korean cinema and has played a wide variety of unusual heroes. According to his Wikipedia page / credits include: “a war-weary North Korean officer who befriends his counterparts from the South in WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL, a shy rural farmer who travels to Uzbekistan in the hopes of finding a wife in WEDDING CAMPAIGN, a Joseon merchant who gets drawn into plans for developing a rocket against the Ming Dynasty in THE DIVINE WEAPON” to name a few.
Evidence of his talent are countless Best Supporting and Best Actor Awards. His most recent Best Actor awards are from 68th Locarno International Film Festival, 35th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, 9th Asia Pacific Screen Awards, 53rd Gijon International Film Festival for the movie RIGHT NOW WRONG THEN in 2016.
Needless to say he was very convincing as someone with an OCD here in PLAN MAN but also tragically funny. While having made more than a dozen movies he’s a relative newcomer to TV. For 2018 he is in the show STRANGE FAMILY and has recently completed the film ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT ALONE.
I noticed a number of Korean movies that seem to borrow some concepts from Hollywood. MISS GRANNY that has a Sarah Geronimo hit remake is a combination of FREAKY FRIDAY with elements of PRETTY WOMAN (especially with the Roy Orbison soundtrack). PLAN MAN seems to be similar with AS GOOD AS IT GETS because of characters dealing with OCD. Apart from that however, this is a more original or different take altogether.
PLAN MAN is definitely funnier at the same time points to traumatic past events that may explain the disorders or mental state that people find themselves in. While it is a comedy, it also deals with the lack of ethics in the TV broadcast industry and how it may destroy lives permanently.
In AS GOOD AS IT GETS, no less than Jack Nicholson plays the cranky OCD guy pestering the lovely Helen Hunt. PLAN MAN has Han Ji Min who plays the endearing musician songwriter So Jung. Mr. Han sees her as messy, quirky. She’s a cat lover who frequents a turo turo (Filipino term for sidewalk eatery) that specializes in intestines and tripe. Mr Han asks, “How can you eat it when dung passed through them?” She replies, “That’s why they’re so good!”
KEYS TO THE HEART
Han Ji Min is one of those Korean superstars the whole world seems to fall for these days. She also stars in KEYS TO THE HEART, a drama that was just released April of this year in cinemas. Owing to her acting abilities, she’s more somber almost unrecognizable there as an heiress who loses her joie de vie after a serious car accident.
KEYS TO THE HEART’s storyline is about an over the hill MMA fighter who has difficulty accepting his special needs brother. This touching drama is also currently showing in RED by HBO.
Han Ji Min
Han Ji min’s accent is endearing or cute when she speaks English (at least in role of So Jung). For example she pronounces plan man as Puh-lan man! Puh-lan Man! It becomes an unmistakable 3-syllable cheer. I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s just her or a Korean thing. Then I saw the translations for the title from Korean, which were spelled Pel-raen Man. This isn’t unique to the Koreans, the Chinese also add a syllable or two when translating some English words. This makes it easier to read and pronounce phonetically from their language.
She also writes a song about the Triangle Gim Bap, a rice cake / sushi like product. It’s on the 7- 11 shelves she works in. Like the fried chicken, fried siomai in Mini Stop or siopao and Hot dogs in Philippine version of 7-11.
Ji Min also has an uncanny resemblance to Leica Carpo who is known as a marathoner. Leica was a former publisher of Sunday Inquirer Magazine, the weekend mag ofPhilippine Daily Inquirer. These days Leica runs her own public relations firm in the U.S.
In real life Han Ji Min has a heart of gold. Her educational background as a Social Welfare graduate from Seoul Women’s University has given her an insight in using her fame to help those in need. Back in 2009 she visited a rural village in Bukidnon, Philippines. It was for a TV show focused on charity work called World Special Love from the Korean tVN network.
A youtube video, shows her having fun from the plane trip via Philippine Airlines. The unmistakable red, yellow and blue tail of PAL could also be seen when she lands. Han ji Min was so moved by her experience with the kids that she wrote a book about it: WE’RE ALREADY FRIENDS: HAN JI-MIN’S PHILIPPINES DONATION BOOK.
Proceeds from the book were then donated to educational programs of kids in the Philippines, other developing countries and even North Korea. In 2012, she was also designated as goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP. Ji Min returns to the TV screen in 2018 for the romance FAMILIAR WIFE.
Walking in Seoul
Apart from the language and food, the city of Seoul figures prominently. The small side streets and alleyways seem to create an impression of a pedestrian friendly metro. All the locations revolve around just a few blocks from each other. The characters walk from one scene to the next. His workplace, the library to the corner store, his therapist, the nightclub So Jung plays. They even have their own version of the large pedestrian crossing in Tokyo although definitely not as chaotic.
In this movie Mr Han may be the title character but its Han Ji Min (as So Jung) who will melt your heart. Beyond her adorable smile it’s her fun, quirky personality and kindness that makesaudiences love her.