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How to Use Guys with Secret Tips ("Namja Sayongseolmyungseo ")

Canadian Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2013
  • 116 mins
  • HD
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
WINNER: Audience Award, Udine Far East Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival 2013

“Unique, vibrant and endlessly creative” – Pierce Conran, TWITCHFILM

Even in 2013, sometimes it seems like little progress has been made for women in the workplace. HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS transforms the classic gender divide into an endlessly entertaining battle of the sexes for the modern world. Beaten down by the rampant sexism of the male-dominated field of television commercial production, Choi Bo-na refuses to trade on her sexuality in exchange for professional advancement, and consequently remains trapped in her position as an assistant director. Overworked and underappreciated, she spends her workdays in a cocoon-like yellow hoodie, hiding both her talent and her innate beauty.

After a particularly harrowing commercial shoot where she encounters the egotistical star Lee Seung-jae and once again falls victim to her boss’s tyrannical behaviour, Bo-na is abandoned by her self-serving crew on a remote beach. She soon discovers a beacon of light in the form of a lone man selling a large collection of instructional workplace videos. $500 later, Bo-na is the owner of the entire How To Use Guys With Secret Tips series, which promises to maximize female prowess while minimizing male dominance in the workplace. From the effects of an assertive smile to the ways in which a night of drinking can be used to a woman’s advantage, this instructional video is a hilariously nostalgic take on VHS culture and ultimately satirizes antiquated one-dimensional Hollywood romantic comedies like HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU and HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS.

At the same time, HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS readily acknowledges that there is indeed a kernel of truth to the clichés that define the timeworn gender gap. Human nature will find a way to create strife between the sexes despite the progression of time and technology. There’s a competition in all of us, male and female, to achieve professional success and find personal completion through romance. In the end we all just want to be found — a point that’s delightfully emphasized through the film’s repeated nods to Where’s Waldo. With stellar performances by Lee Si-young and Oh Jung-se (Fantasia 2011’s THE UNJUST and PETTY ROMANCE), HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS makes “having it all” look effortless. All you need is a VCR and a little bit of time.

— Lindsay Peters