Rom-coms have such a tried and true formula to them that when one tries to move away from the genre tropes and distinguish itself under its own merits, some kudos must be given to the attempt. A shame then that Art of Seduction plays quite true to form, and what little it does do to separate itself from the multitudes actually sucks the fun out of it and makes it a chore to watch.
Art of Seduction suffers from being too dry to be entertaining. Watching the two “masters of seduction” in Son Ye-jin’s Han Ji-Won and Song Il-Gook’s Min-Joon, dance around each other is too mechanistic to be enjoyable; to the point one wonders whether that was the intent. That both lead characters have reduced romance to a set of rotes creates a distance between them that prevents them from being “lost” in the relationship. The suspicions and hidden agendas are known at the onset while the variables are calculated and the probable results tabulated. Admittedly this approach is somewhat charming initially but quickly withers and dies when such impeccable strategems mirror one another and both are forced into the realm of improvisation.
This would normally be less of a problem since the driving force of any Rom-Com lies in how the leads attempt to bridge the distance in the name of “love”. However, the complete lack of chemistry between the two means that, in the end, we just do not care. There is the constant sense of a game of one-upmanship that pervades their courtship that undermines any warmth between them such that, in the end, when they do get together (Does that count as a spoiler?), there is more a sense of professional camraderie rather than any intense emotion. The closing credits feel more akin to watching a balance of accounts than the coming together of two people after herculean efforts.
In the end Art of Seduction ends up being quite a soulless experience and the only recommendation that can be given to this film is as a date movie with the express intent of not actually watching the movie itself.