Synopsis. Love On-Air is a 2012 Korean movie about a former girl band star, Jin A, now a radio show host. Unfortunately her radio show is no longer popular. She will be replaced by a new host if ratings do not rise. Enter the new producer, Lee Jae Ik, whose job is it to bring ratings up.
More Detail. Jin A’s heyday as the former star of girl band Purple, is ancient history. In today’s world, current teen stars have never heard of Purple, which galls Jin A when they come on her show to promote their music. The radio station owner is being pressured to replace Jin A with another Purple member, Mi Ra, who has never forgiven Jin A for disbanding Purple without her consent.
Jae Ik, the new producer, has a reputation for being demanding and Jin A does not hit it off with him initially. Jae Ik challenges her to create a new segment for the radio program to increase ratings. Jin A comes up with a concept of ordinary people sharing a life story and then singing a song that represents the story. The new segment turns out to be hit and the ratings go up. Jin A takes the opportunity to try and revive her solo musical career. Jae Ik and Jin In slowly become closer. But all is threatened when Jin A is banned from the radio for an impolite outburst and plagiarism scandal. When Lee Jae Ik attempts to bring her back, his job is put in jeopardy. Will Jin A make a comeback? Will Jae Ik lose his job? Will Jae Ik and Jin A admit their feelings for each other?
What I liked about Love On-Air:
* Jin A, female lead, was played by Lee Min Jung. I remember Min Jung from Boys Over Flowers where her chemistry with male lead, Lee Min Ho, threatened to overshadow that of the female lead. As Jin A, Min Jung captured the lost but still trying to make it vibe this character had. She had charm, poise, and moxy, all positive traits. Her self sacrificing moments smacked of noble idiocy which is not a favorite plot device of mine. If she was interested in Jae Ik, she did not overtly show it. I knew he was developing feelings for her, but Min Jung did not show the reverse.
* Jae Ik, male lead, was played by Lee Jung Jin. I have never seen this actor in anything. He was a pleasant surprise. Easy on the eyes with a wonderful smile, he was all male and likable even when he was being firm with Jin A and the radio show team. I like this iced coffee drinking producer and felt his gradual appreciation for Jin A in his glances that grew warmer and longer as the movie progressed. I would definitely check another production with Jung Jin.
* Jin A’s mother, was played by Kim Hae Sook. I remember Hae Sook from her terrific turn as the mother in I Can Hear Your Voice. As Jin A’s mother, Hae Sook embodied the character with the right amount of sass and love for her daughter who was trying to find herself.
* Jin A’s long suffering producer, was played by Lee Kwang Soo. I remember this distinctive looking actor from City Hunter. Kwang Soo was the ability to use his tall body to appear awkward or gangly. The secondary story with his romance was tiny but cute.
* Radio segment ordinary people stories. This was the star of the show. The selected ordinary people stories, for example, a man remembering his dead wife or a daughter accepting her step-father were well written and acted. When they sang you could tell these were not professional singers but their songs were heartfelt and lovely.
What I did not like about Love On-Air:
* The romance was too subtle and cerebral. Only in the last moments our couple becomes a couple.
* The ending segment of the movie got a bit jumbled and did not finish as strong as it could.
This was a nice film and easy to watch. I was surprised how the ordinary people stories resonated and were quite touching. This was the best part of the movie. The romance was secondary to Jin A’s struggle to reinvent herself. I could have used more romance to complement Jin A finding her purpose in the next phase of her life.