Nice Guy: First Impressions

Sheer perfection. In the word CUTE.

Almost cannot believe he’s playing emotionally deranged and conflicted playboy in Nice Guy.

After so many months of waiting and anticipating, finally, Nice Guy on my screen for good! Admittedly I had built up quite some expectations for this drama earlier on due to my soft-hearted spot for the writer Lee Kyung Hee and the great cast line-up. I haven’t seen any of the director’s previous works (but have heard good things about him prior) so I only had the former to count on to get me into the story. Tried to keep my overwhelming excitement to the lowest and bottom-est, but all the NG spoilers and promo pics ruined the my perfect plan. How can I do that with Song Joong Ki hovering over me every other day?

Anddddd verdict after Ep 1? Good, not great or as gripping as I’d expected, but good. I LIKE!

Thing is, I’m not drawn to the plot as much because it feels ordinary and predictable, cliched and formulaic if I may. The tropes are very familiar, and we can pretty much foresee how things will end for the main characters (my bet definitely not a good ending). But LKH does wonders to me, even if her plots are washed out overused and done before, I always manage to find a heartfelt connection with all or if not some of her characters. She exaggerates her narrative at times, but the way she does and writes melodrama, it’s always been more like than hate for me. I’m such a sucker for tears hah, be it manufactured or organically derivative.

The main 3 players in the drama are interesting and intriguing tho somewhat caricature like. They can be quite banal and dull if not for the solid execution and portrayal by the actors. I love how their relationships and dynamics are unfolding thus far and I like that no time is wasted in bringing the plot right into action. I hope LKH explains or delves a lil deeper into Maru’s devotion or feelings towards Jae Hee because I’m still not fully convinced that he can forsake everything and go so far for her. There must be something more than just the pure love or relationship that they’ve had in the past. Eun Gi on the other hand is interesting because of her link between the 2 people, their lives interconnected and intertwined in crazy ways. I don’t fancy the connection because it’s too typically dramatic but I’m going to give that part of the story a benefit of doubt. Her straightforward and no-nonsense attitude can be annoying but I like my female leads to be strong and confident rather than weak. I don’t think we’re supposed to like her on the front, at least right now. So I’m going to see how everything pans out before I make a call on whether I like her.

Ep 1 sealed the deal for me, I am going to watch this for Song Joong Ki, and SJK alone even if drama goes down the drain later on. It’s a plus point that the director’s doing such a fine job in execution, viewers are lured in without over-wrought or glossed out directing, but quietly and smoothly with effective music scores. Because I think he has a good grasp of what he’s aiming at and is handling and reigning LKH’s script well. The dramatics and histrionics are there, so typical and stereotyped, but you see how well things are reined in with a director who knows and understands.

But yes, Song Joong Ki! How can I not love you more and more and more?! Boy is doing a fantastic job as Maru. I love his character already, love the different layers he’s adding to his character, and more than anything, the wide acting range he’s displayed this far in just one episode. The switch from nice boy Maru to the cold and unaffected Maru may have been a tad abrupt, but I like that the pacing is brought fast-forward so swiftly (so I don’t have to wait a chunk to get to the point of the drama). I always held a view that SJK has a certain vulnerability in him, in the way he looks and gazes, straight or into thin air. The way he infuses his character with coldness (in front of the gals he uses) and cheekiness (in front of his best pal played by the ever so hilarious Kwang Soo), it’s such a great treat to the eye. Not only does he give each emotion and expression his all, he switches in between each effortlessly and naturally, like I’ve never seen before. This boy may be pretty and adorable, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he cannot do estranged or dark. He’s got a great deal in him.

Moon Chae Won is good so far, I won’t go as far to say she’s WOW convincing (because there are moments when I’d snap out from her character), but she’s doing fine. It helps that she’s tried out diverse acting roles before Eun Gi, because this is not an easy role to nail, you can either be really good at it, or fail miserably. I like her confidence and sass, but something about her speech or delivery bothers me a tad. I get what she’s trying to convey but sometimes I wish she wouldn’t look as if she’s trying too hard to force her confidence and femme fatale character on us. We know. I hope she will settle into Eun Gi ASAP because drama is ultimately about her and Maru, their love story.  Park Shi Yeon, lady’s a queen of tears and is really good at it. I love it when she cries because she always seems so into it, be it a happy, sad, dramatic or emotional scene. Her improvement all these years has been a delight no doubt. You know if it wasn’t for MCW being female lead, I’d totally root for Jae Hee and Maru. Their connection is strong and bittersweet and I believe it would be a great love story to explore above everything. Whether their love could conquer all, even foibles of character that we detest and resent. I do not think her love for Maru wasn’t true 6 years ago, and in fact think (from her scene with EG’s father) she loved him a lot, but I certainly think she had and has other priorities in life that she cannot let go, and that love isn’t the main one.

A note and special mention of Kwang Soo and Lee Sang Yeob in this episode, who managed to shine in the brief seconds and moments they’ve been given. In particular Lee Sang Yeob who totally rawked his lawyer character in his scene with MCW. I mean, who in the right mind who call his character that?! NO WAY. He can have me anytime man, get it away and done with, Eun Gi is just not for you. And Kwang Soo’s just the ray of sunshine one can always count on for laughs. I love his relationship with Maru in a way that he balances out Maru’s darker side, and by always being by his side no matter what he does.

Chemistry wise, SJK rawks, even with Kwang Soo! I think he has plenty of sparks with PSY, and almost everyone else so far. He hasn’t had a full-fledged scene with MCW yet so it’s still too early to tell. But I do think they will hit it off quite quick because of Jae Hee. And when he begins on his quest to screw their lives. Not the best way to treat the women who love you with all their hearts, but one can only endure things this far when one’s got nothing to lose.

Overall, a very solid beginning despite the typical LKH cliches here and there. If anything, I’m fully onboard for SJK. I just have a nudging feeling that he will step things up a bit more and blow me away.

Ep 2 now please!

credits: tumblr / NG baidu / as tagged

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14 thoughts on “Nice Guy: First Impressions”

  1. am liking Nice Guy as well for SJK…He’s such a very good actor…whenever he’s on the screen I just can’t take my eyes away from him…and I watched the episodes raw….did not really matter if I understood the dialogues perfectly, just to look at SJK’s face and the different emotions playing on that beautiful face is enough for me…and I agree to your review towards the two female leads… PSY is getting better acting wise..I think she’s perfect for this character,,,MCW? she’s doing well so far, am excited to see her vulnerability after she sheds off that cold exterior…. I do hope Nice Guy continue to be good…It’s been quite sometime since I’ve seen a melo that really touched my heart and made me shed buckets of tears…..Thank you for this post ripgal…. Cheers!!!!

    1. I think all 3 leads have been solidly cast, and what else gives other than having the chance to witness all of them grow into their characters. I’m not worried about PSY at all because she’s proven to be quite a versatile actress herself thru her past projects. SJK and MCW on the other hand have not really had a chance with the roles they’re playing right now, so I’m looking forward to have myself blown out of the water with their performances in future.

  2. I agree with pretty much all of your points, but I have to say I think femme fatale is the wrong descriptor for Eun Ki and absolutely not how MCW is playing her. If anything, Eun Ki seems to be the anti-femme fatale, in that she certainly doesn’t use her feminine wilds to ensnare her victims. With Eun Ki’s personality, I’d even say it’s an idea she’d abhor (what she sees in Jae Hee, possibly). I think Eun Ki is being played as pretty much a straight up cold b**** at this point. And after watching both episodes again with subs, I’m appreciating more what MCW is doing with character.

    1. Oopps, I used the term a bit too loosely… heheh XD thanks for pointing that out. I haven’t seen Ep 2 yet, but have heard diverging views and comments about MCW’s portrayal of the character. Some said she’s fantastic, some said she’s awkward.. but I haven’t heard a bad word yet.. so my hopes are still intact that she’ll surprise us later on. 🙂

      1. Just done, liked her performance a lil bit more but am still not totally enraptured by her yet. Park Shi Yeon OTOH stole everyone’s thunder in Ep 2, including the already so awesome SJK.

      2. PSY did an awesome job in ep. 2 in displaying her inner feelings. MCW on the other hand, is a cold b**** who can’t be read from the outside. So far I’m liking what she’s showing us and am waiting for more after she takes off that icy shield around her

      3. I agree with both sentiments, I think she’s fantastic in some instances, and then a bit awkward in others. She still needs to settle into the character a bit, and I would like to see her tap into something more internal for Eun Ki, to allow us deeper into her psych. But I also like that, right now, her Eun Ki is holding us at an arm’s length – brimming with all this intensity on the surface, and yet still closed off, still not letting us in. It seems to ring true to the emotional state of the character right now: Eun Ki’s emotions having been bottled up for so long, that it seems even she has lost touch with them. I do want to see Eun Ki with a bit of warm, more instances of vulnerability. But I also like that MCW is portraying Eun Ki with so much b**chy conviction. Because at this point, the character is operating on two modes: offense and defense, just full on survival.

      4. I’m glad you’re liking MCW’s protrayal a bit more with episode 2. I agree, not 100% yet, but I’m liking more what I see of the character and MCW’s approach with her in episode 2.

        And yes, PSY is doing an incredible job. As is SJK.

      5. @liaahx, I like your point on EG’s mode of interaction with people. She’s so closed off to the world and prickly to everyone who tries to touch her, even her assistant/lawyer. Perhaps that’s the reason why I’m still finding it a tad hard to relate to her, she pushes everyone away.. even the viewers. MCW’s got good moments, some awkward.. some parts of her speech/delivery still bug me a bit but it’s not too big of a problem.

        What I worry now after Ep 2, is that how will she turn from prickly b***h to the softie EG before Maru we saw in the preview? I cannot buy a personality change because of love, but yet I really don’t want an amnesiac plot on us (tho it’s been set earlier on in the summary).

      6. @ripgal, her manner of speaking is naturally very soft and sedate IRL, so I think it’s something she’s working hard to change up in order to keep up with Eun Ki’s more sharp and aggressive dialogue. True, it’s not perfect yet, slightly awkward in a few instances. But I think, already, starting with episode 2, we’re seeing her more natural in her delivery.

        I hope there isn’t a bizarre change of personality either after the amnesia. I kind of have faith in LKH though, I think she’ll do something smart with this plot line and with the character. But yeah, I like this fiesty Eun Ki, I hope we get to keep her.

      7. Yes please, I’d rather have feisty and no-nonsense over nicey-soft.. but the earlier teasers dun seem to be quite promising on that. Hopefully Lee Kyung Hee’s magic still works.

        Anyway, found a good NG MV focusing on Maru.

        SJK oh SJK, how much you’ve grown 😀

    2. I am looking forward to those scenes in the preview so am not too bothered by the possible incongruency they imply. I’m hoping it’ll be handled well and will wait to react after seeing it in context. Really, I’m just very excited to get some EunMa scenes.

      Great MV! Thanks for sharing.

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