Review. How to Use Guys with Secret Tips focuses on a downtrodden woman who decides to take a chance and follow video tips to manage men to her advantage.
Synopsis. What if you are a long suffering female employee, who is always overlooked or whose male coworkers use your ideas and credit themselves instead of you? If given the chance to reverse your powerless state with tips to improve status…would you take the chance?
More Details. How to Use Guys with Secret Tips is a 2013 Korean film that stars Lee Si Young as Assistant Director Choi Bo Na and Oh Jung Se as star Lee Seung Jae. Bo Na is overlooked, stepped on, and tired of it. After a commercial shoot starring Seung Jae is complete, her coworkers leave without her and she’s stranded. Bo Na finds a store where a charismatic man sells her a series of videos to empower herself and play to win in a man’s world. She watches the videos and find the tips work. While using the tips she becomes involved with Seung Jae. Is their relationship advantageous or real? Can Bo Na empower herself permanently?
What I liked about How to Use Guys with Secret Tips:
Clever and Funny Story. This film had laugh out loud moments throughout. I loved that the lead character was a woman, and one that wanted to become empowered. The writers (Lee Won Suk, Noh Hye Young, Lee Ho Jae) created characters that were flamboyant but relatable. There were lags so it wasn’t completely riveting, but it was never dull.
Inventive Production Values. The trio of producers (Kim Hyun Shin, Yoon Chang Sook, Eo Ji Yeon) created scenes that were non-standard, in a good way. The cinematographer Kim Sun Ryung had moments that were visual winners. You felt like you got a taste of the production behind the scenes which always interests me.
Lee Si Young as Assistant Director Choi Bo Na. Tired of the status quo Bo Na dares to empower herself and make her directorial mark when the opportunity presents itself. Bo Na works with Seung Jae and they become involved. Is she using him or does she care for him? Does it matter? Will her success be short lived? Si Young created woman that was willing to change her ways to get opportunities that previously eluded her. Si Young has an angelic face but a determination that wasn’t steely (and harsh) but rather a bit desperate (and honest). Her chemistry with the other actors was excellent. I loved watching a film with a female lead, it doesn’t happen often. Even better, this character was not cookie cutter.
Oh Jung Se as star Lee Seung Jae. While fighting to stay a star, flamboyant and arrogant Seung Jae is drawn to Bo Na when they work together and become involved. Is he using her or does he care for her? Does it matter? Will his star power rise or fall? Jung Se threw himself into the role playing awkward moments with zest. I’m not sure his character would grab me as much without Jung Se’s abilities to highlight the appeal and heart of Seung Jae.
Shout out to the support characters framed our leads. Two veteran actors delivered solid performances; Lee Won Jong made me laugh as Director Yook Bong and Park Young Gyu made me smile as Bo Na’s guide, Dr. Suwalski, via the amusing videotapes. Kim Joon Sung had comedic timing as fellow star, Oh Ji Hoon, and rival to Seung Jae.
What I did not like about How to Use Guys with Secret Tips:
Very Little. This movie stomped on and embraced the traditional roles for men and women. Bo Na wavered when I wanted her to hold firm but it that is a minor quibble.
How to Use Guys with Secret Tips worked for me in every way: a female lead I wanted to succeed, a male lead that was interestingly flawed, a story that empowered our lead with laughs throughout, and production values that enhanced the story. This film was a winner.