Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince

The First Shop of the Coffee Prince

A Review

Twenty-four year old Go Eun Chan, played by Yoon Eun Hye has had a rough life. Her father died when she was young and Eun Chan takes on several jobs to help support the family to include delivering food, teaching Taekwondo, peeling chestnuts, sewing eyes on stuffed dolls and delivering milk. While delivering food Eun Chan meets rich boy slacker Choi Han Kyul, played by Gong Yoo who has just returned to Korea from the United States where he has been living. She finds Han Kyul sitting on the couch talking on his cell phone with just a towel wrapped around his waist. Eun Chan is so embarrassed she runs off forgetting the money. Han Kyul mistakenly takes Eun Chan for a boy and wonders why he was embarrassed to see a half-nude man since he was also a male and wonders if the young man can possibly be gay.
Their paths cross again when Han Kyul is on an outing with a female artist named Han Yoo Joo, who too has just returned from the United States after two years. Two years ago Yoo Joo used to date Han Kyul cousin Choi Han Seong, played by Lee Sun Gyun but left him for another man. In the mean time Han Kyul has been secretly carrying a torch for his cousin’s girlfriend for nine years.
Yoo Joo’s purse is snatched at the same time Eun Chan is making a delivery. Eun Chan witnesses the crimes and goes behind the culprit, captures him and retrieves the purse. She instantly recognizes him as a young man who is interested in dating her younger sister. Eun Chan doesn’t want him to get arrested since basically he’s a nice young man so she makes up a quick plan for him to get away. Eun Chan returns the purse to Yoo Joo but the plan backfires and Han Kyul accuses Eun Chan of conspiring together to rob Yoo Joo. Eun Chan argues her innocence but he is not fully convinced. Eun Chan insists that Han Kyul pay for the repair of her scooter that was damaged in the scuffle.
Eun Chan’s learns that the landlord is about to raise the rent and she knows she has to take on yet another job to help out the family. So she takes on a temporary position as a waitress in a wine bar. It is there that she meets Han Kyul’s cousin Choi Han Seong, a music arranger, who takes an instant liking to Eun Chan because she is a cute young woman. Yoo Joo goes to see Han Seong. He is very angry at the way she walked out on him but realizes that he is still in love with her.
Han Kyul grandmothers decide that is time for Han Kyul to get married so she and his mother begin to arrange dates with attractive young woman. Han Kyul isn’t ready to get married or give up his slacker ways. He has plans to return to the United States where he has been offered a position in with a toy manufacturer, so he comes up with a plan to convince his grandmother that he is gay and enlists the pretty male Eun Chan to help him for money. Eun Chan agrees to help him because her family needs the money.

Eun Chan and Han Kyul develop sort of a friendship and Han Kyul begins to trust him. Meanwhile his grandmother is tired of her grandson’s laziness and puts him in charge of run down coffee house and gives him a short time to make it a success and to make a 300% profit. Han Kyul doesn’t want to do it but is talked into it by Eun Chan with the guarantee that he also hires her. The grandmother has put Han Kyul under the guidance of a master coffee barista who is a bit of a slob. But with the help of Eun Chan and three other males he hires, including the one that snatched Yoo Joo’s purse they turn it into a pretty nice establishment, called the Coffee Prince. Han Kyul decides to only hire handsome young men to work in the shop to draw in the young female clientele.
Han Seong discovers that Eun Chan is the person responsible for delivering milk to his home every day and that Eun Chan has made friends with his dog. The two of them become friends and he takes her out to dinner a couple of times and they talk and play sports together. He cannot believe that his cousin can’t see that Eun Chan is a girl. Han Seong falls in love with Eun Chan and tries to hide it from Yoo Joo, and at the same time Han Kyul also falls for Eun Chan and is confused for having those types of feelings for a male and it makes him question his sexuality.
Review: Funny, funny, funny from the very beginning. Thankfully the director had sense enough to cast an actress that can actually pull off the part of looking and acting like a guy. Yoon Eun Hye is an excellent actress with big pretty expressive eyes and a spirited independence that makes you root for her from the very beginning.
As the handsome male lead, Gong Yoo gives an absolutely superb performance as a young man who wants to enjoy his life and not be tied to his family’s business. It is easy to see how he mistakenly thought Eun Chan for a boy and I give him props for coming to the decision that you can’t really pick who you fall in love with.
I really liked Lee Sun Gyun cast in this part as Han Gyul’s cousin. He’s funny and surprisingly enough I thought his character was quite handsome when he wore his glasses instead of the other way around. What I did not understand was his relationship with Han Yoo Joo. He loves her, she left him, she returned, he took her back even though he knew she would leave him again. And then there was this thing about him knowing that Han Gyul has been in love with her for nine years and he wasn’t worried about it. Hmm, not in the real world.
Chae Jung Ahn really pulled off the part of the selfish artist Han Yoo Joo who wanted what she wanted when she wanted it and she didn’t care who she hurt to get it. Although I like the fact that she was independent and could take care of herself, but I did not like the way she didn’t care for anyone else’s feelings.
I truly like the three other young men who Han Gyul hired at the Coffee Prince. It’s nice that each character came with personal issues that blended in perfectly with the story and didn’t weigh it down. Add Eun-Chan’s shoe-shopping mother, her spoiled brat younger sister and the quirky male butcher who is in love with the mother, and Coffee Prince’s coffee barista and you have the perfect cast of characters to pull off a very successful drama. I give this drama 5 Fleur De Les for excellence and highly recommend it.

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