A novel concept paves the way for a parade of local stars to grace the screen in The Beauty Inside, a Korean version of the Intel/Dell romantic web series of the same name. Han Hyo-joo plays the girl while almost two dozen names (well known to Asian viewers, not so much for everyone else) play the guy (or sometimes girl) in a story that sees a person try to woo their crush, even as they wake up as a different person every day.
With such an unrealistic setup, suspension of disbelief is a must, but the film’s Achilles heel is not its tacit refusal to explain the protagonist’s unusual ailment, but rather its failure to live up to its title. Director Baik, with his first feature-length credit, films the romance as though it were a two-hour version of one of his music videos. The lighting is hazy, the same fancy brands crop up again and again and the many versions of the lead that Han Hyo-joo does take a liking to are all definitely beautiful on the outside.
Things do get off on the right foot, as a breezy tone and polished filmmaking guide us through a story that is not without its charms, at least initially. Alas, with precious few attempts to mine the concept’s obvious comic potential and a second half that is mired in hazy romance, The Beauty Inside succumbs too soon and too firmly to the foibles of its Korean melodramatic peers.