When con artist Go Du-sik (Cho Jung-seok),
who’s been convicted ten times, learns that his estranged younger brother, Judo
champion Doo-yeong (Doh Kyung-soo) has gone blind from injuries during a
competition, he pleads for parole to care for his sightless sibling. Thus
begins a Korean Odd Couple, but far more viciously combative. Both
brothers have more than their share of accumulated emotional baggage, much of
it stemming from the fact that they have two different mothers, whose
identities remained something of a mystery for years, causing Du-sik to run
away from home at an early age and start his nefarious life.
Sibling rivalry can be a great subject for a
movie, and My Annoying Brother is a more-than-worthy entry in this
genre. The first half could be construed as the darkest black comedy, with the
noxious Du-sik turning his sightless brother into a veritable punching bag for
abuse, both verbal and physical (“Ass hair” is his favored nickname for him).
And Doo-yeong often gives as good as he gets, with his bratty bro sometimes
sprawled on the floor writhing in pain from his brother’s martial-arts
adeptness. The very nastiness of the situation between this irrepressible
lowlife and high-minded virgin jock, with frequent instances of gross-out humor
and Three Stooges-type violence-for-a-laugh, is frequently uproarious.
And then, halfway through, the film does a
U-turn, with the discovery of a physical challenge to Du-sik that goes far
beyond blindness, and things dangerously threaten to veer into the maudlin. But
it’s a tribute to the vision of Yoo Yeong-ah’s basically warm-hearted
screenplay and Kwon Soo-kyung’s savvy, well-timed direction, as well as the
strong performances of the leads—and also the always spunky Park Shin-hye as
Doo-yeong’s case worker—that you keep watching. And, damn, if you don’t find
yourself concealing a sniffle or three, as this Korean Rain Man becomes
something of a tearjerker along the order of The Champ, or any sports-themed
epic aimed at making audience’s eyes well up. It’s nigh-irresistible and, for
once, all the sentiment seems fully earned; small wonder this film was a top
grosser in its native Korea.
FULL ARTICLE: http://www.filmjournal.com/reviews/film-review-my-annoying-brother