Romantic comedies make a contract with the audience to provide some laughs and some optimism about human nature. It's puzzling when reviewers complain about a romantic comedy being predictable, because the genre by its nature pretty much tells us what the ending will be. We don't look to rom-coms for "what will happen" but for "how will it happen."
"Whatcha Wearin?" (international title), aka "My PS Partner," includes the elements necessary to a good rom-com, but spices up the "how will it happen." The conversations between the male characters are raunchy, sometimes hilariously so, but the relationship between the hero and heroine is as sweet as it is sexy. And though the dirty talk distinguishes WW from other Korean rom-coms, it doesn't distract us from the emotions at stake.
The heart of the story is the two central characters and their honest phone conversations about relationships and emotions. The scenes of sex and phone sex would definitely earn it an R rating in the States--in fact, the MPAA would probably censor a bit before agreeing to an R rating, given the American squeamishness about sex. But the film's humor doesn't arise from the sexual situations. Instead, it comes from the inevitable tension between the cool people our characters want to be, and the emotionally bruised people they really are.
I'm wary of movies described as "raunchy," because in American movies the word "raunchy" usually means making fun of the fact that grown- ups have sex in the first place. But WW won me over quickly with its cheerful mature embrace of phone sex, masturbation and the pleasures of dirty talk in general.
The likable leads have a ton of chemistry. Actor Ji Sung deserves particular credit for making his character endearing and attractive, while also a kind of every-man, a quintessential guy with a broken heart who occasionally puts his foot in his mouth. Though I've seen Ji Sung play several larger-than-life characters in K-dramas, here he shows he's equally talented in a more naturalistic role.
The heroine of "Whatcha Wearin?" complains at one point that "love songs are so obvious." The hero replies that "love is obvious." That lack of cynicism anchors the dirty talk and makes for a delightful comedy.
Update: On re-watching this movie a couple times, I have to comment on its elegant structure. It's a textbook example of how to keep a film moving forward, without losing a relaxed, comic style. Too often rom-coms wander off course in the second act, but this movie knows where it's going even when it takes necessary detours.
My inner snob likes to reserve 10 stars for Serious Movies about Serious Subjects. Like, say, the Holocaust. But another part of me believes that comic films are as important as dramas. In fact, a romantic comedy is potentially more controversial than a Holocaust movie. No one's going to defend the Holocaust, but everyone has an opinion about dating, right?
In my original rating of this film, I penalized it a couple stars for being a comedy instead of a Serious Movie about Serious Subjects. But I've decided that was dumb. Within the genre of romantic comedy, this one hits all the right notes, so I'm upping it. If a rom-com can deserve ten stars, it's this one. I would agitate for an American remake, except we wouldn't be able to do it nearly as well.