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K-drama review: Lee Jong-Suk gives out Shah Rukh Khan vibes in 'Big Mouth'

When bad guys say, ‘You’re cute, so don’t think, but repeat the strategy we wrote for you,’ what does the lawyer in a K-drama do?

July 30, 2022 / 05:13 PM IST
Lee Jong-Suk in Korean drama 'Big Mouth', streaming on Disney+Hotstar. (screen grab/trailer)

Lee Jong-Suk in Korean drama 'Big Mouth', streaming on Disney+Hotstar. (screen grab/trailer)

My maid saw this contraption at my house, and she asked: which Korean show made you buy this? How could I admit that it was Lee Jong-Suk using the upright vacuum in Romance Is A Bonus Book that had not just me, but thousands of women across the world buying Dyson Upright Vacuum cleaners? How could I say that it was awesome to see a hero do household chores like vacuuming and still look cool, calm and collected? How could I tell her that I was smitten by this delicious romance between a younger man (writer, editor-in-chief of a publishing house) and an older woman (a bright copywriter who works as an office help because she needs a job after a horrid divorce)...

Lee Jong-Suk gives you those Shah Rukh Khan vibes in this new show on Disney+Hotstar called Big Mouth (nothing to do with the animated show on Netflix), and the show already feels like a winner. What are ‘Shah Rukh vibes’, you ask? The reaction women have when Shah Rukh opens his arms wide and beckons the heroine to run into that embrace. The reaction when he fumbles around the heroine in a movie, the way he falls when he notices Deepika Padukone emerge from the car in Om Shanti Om… Lee Jong-Suk makes women feel the same way.

Amazon should start a store that sells ‘things you saw in K-dramas’ with Piripiri foaming collagen cream, dual-tone lipstick, coffee sachets, watches and more…

But I digress. The new show Big Mouth that just dropped its first episode on Disney+Hotstar is all about a lawyer who’s not really good at the job, but is offered a big case where the bad guys want a trained puppet rather than a lawyer; they want someone who will not question them, but follow the script written out for him.

Why Lee Jong-Suk? Because he looks adorable when he’s being yelled at by his wife. Because only he could get away with saying, ‘If you divorce me, I am staying with my father-in-law.’

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This is the story of a charming, ineffective lawyer who is offered a chance to redeem himself. It’s an offer that comes with a bag full of cash. Pause the show and ask yourself: What would you do if someone offered you cash to do something not too kosher?

If Lee Jong-Suk helped inadvertently sell vacuum cleaners, then his co-star in this show, Im Yoon-Ah has been the face of Miu Miu, Michael Kors, Estee Lauder and more. She’s a nurse in this show, married to Lee Jong-Suk and is fed up with his ‘big talk’. Im Yoon-Ah is so beautiful, women want to wear Lee jeans because they want to look like her. Initially I was taken aback at her yelling at her husband, but then I was reminded of Shah Rukh Khan in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge: a rogue who is charming, but in a country like ours - where college degrees and jobs are used to fetch dowries - would anyone marry such a guy who has failed in the pursuit of academic excellence?

But K-dramas tend to bring the heroine into the main story so slowly that just the first episode does not make me say, ‘Looks like the heroine too has a substantial role.’

I suppose it’s her threat of ‘do something about returning the money or else’ that sets the hero on a path where we shall see his brains work to get the better of the bad guys.

Lee Ki-Young is Mi-ho’s (Im Yoon-Ah) father in the show. He’s a nice guy, getting pulled into the arguments between his nurse daughter and lawyer son-in-law.

The show keeps you glued with things slowly getting dangerous. Who hates the sweet Lee Jong-Suk so much that they put something awful in his drink? Why is he in action-packed scenes in the preview of the second episode? Is he really a bad guy called Big Mouse? Is his ineffectiveness as a lawyer just a coverup for his bad activities? Will his wife help him out of the terrible mess he has gotten in?

So many questions, I sound like the trailer of a bad '70s murder mystery. But I was happy to watch the sweet, trusting Lee Jong-Suk turn into a cool guy who bugged the prison cell…
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.
first published: Jul 30, 2022 04:58 pm
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