New for me
I really didn't know what I was getting into watching Dasepo Naughty Girls and immediately after watching, I still wasn't entirely certain what I saw. But after some consideration, I did realize that the film has a rather unique character, likely its greatest asset, but in terms of narrative, it shows some adaptation fatigue, with the multiple storylines not quite coming together. That's not to say that Dasepo isn't without its charms, including its visual flare and quirky socially liberal point of view, but the film would have done better with a focused sense of storytelling purpose.
Based on a racy, but popular webcomic, Multi-Cell Girl, the film is set in an "all accepting" high school, its attitude being very open to young sexuality and from the opening scene, we discover that every student has slept with another student in the class as a rumor of syphilis burns through the classroom. One storyline focuses on the class' poor girl (Kim Okbin), who literally has Poverty hanging on her back and while she makes some side money as a prostitute, she remains a virgin as her clients curiously only ask her for non-sexual favors. She bears a crush on wealthy pretty boy Swiss exchange student, Anthony (Park Jinwoo), who himself finds himself attracted to the one-eyed class outcast, Cyclops' (Lee Kyeon), younger sister (Lee Eunsung), who harbors a secret. Elsewhere, the class monitor (Park Hyewon) enlists the help of Anthony's troublemaker friends (Yoo Geun & Lee Minhyuk) to discover why the normally sex and fun-loving female students are turning chaste and studious.
In terms of characters and tone, there I've never seen anything like Dasepo Naughty Girls, creating a rather unique set of characters and environment. That's the film's greatest strength, as well as the quirky way that reality operates in it. Unfortunately, the film throws together adapted storylines from the books and doesn't successfully tie them together. While the two main storylines following the poor girl and the mystery of the chastened students manage to carry moderately well through the film, the two side stories around Anthony and the Class President (Lee Yongjoo) don't have considerable impact and are quickly forgotten, and would probably have better been left on the cutting room floor, especially as Anthony blends into the poor girl's story and leaves and confusing narrative thread when his own story drops out.
Although there are some considerable flaws in the film's compressed and adapted narrative, director Lee Jaeyong does manage to successfully bring to life the unique world of the students of this crazy high school. Interestingly enough, for all the wildness implied of the characters, the film actually remains quite chaste itself, focusing more on the quirkiness of the characters than their raciness and creates a surprisingly affable mood for the film. Furthermore, the film has a few musical moments, some of which get the full on noraebang (song studio) treatment, complete with highlighted lyrics. And the film really benefits from the well coordinated visual presentation, wacky as it is, based on the comics. The performances range from decent to strong, likely both weakened and helped by the inconsistent script.
But, aside from successfully creating a quirky, bright, lively, and unique world this side of Baz Lurhmann's Moulin Rouge!, Dasepo doesn't entirely overcome the narrative compression and inability to hone the multiple source stories into a coherent whole. So, while the film is visually and tonally memorable, and that was enough to retain my interest, it remains ineffectual in its narrative and so potential viewers will want to take it or leave it on whether the concept and aesthetics appeal to them. 7/10.