[REVIEW]: Penny Pinchers (2011)

Hello everyone! I’m here with a movie review because it’s been a while since my last one, and, I need a break from some of these intense dramas I’ve been watching these days. I’ve only seen a limited few of Song Joong Ki’s movies including A Frozen Flower (where he plays a minor role) and A Werewolf Boy. I promise I’m a better fan when it comes to watching his dramas. Anyway, Penny Pinchers has been taking up space on my watch list for a few years now (oops), so I decided tonight was finally the night to settle down and give it a look.

[Be Forewarned: Spoilers Below].


Ji Woong (Song Joong Ki) is a college graduate with a bleak future. He has no job, no common sense, and no issue calling his mom up to ask for money. The only thing Ji Woong does have is a constant hankering for sex. Unfortunately his love life is a bit bland due to his failure to nail a single job interview and make a stable income. He lives in a lowbrow rooftop apartment where is he struggles to pay his monthly rent.  In fact, he is so poor that he can’t afford a pack of condoms. His mother eventually cuts him off, due to her own store being raided by a wild boar. He gets evicted, but ends up striking a deal with a young woman named Hong Sil (Han Ye Seul).

Hong Sil is much the opposite of Ji Woong in many ways. Unlike Ji Woong, she is less optimistic about her financial situation and is much more frugal when it comes to money. She is willing to make a dime any way she can whether it means swindling others, avoiding public transportation, digging through trash, or stealing packs of sugar from the local cafe. As a result, she is very isolated and hasn’t much knowledge on dating and normal couple activities. She avoids hospitals, movies, concerts, and other venues or activities because she considers them a waste of money. She even believes relationships cost too much.

After finding out the town is doing renovations, and is willing to pay tenants a stipend if they relocate, Hong Sil decides to pay Ji Woong’s rent in order to collect his $6,000 fee. She informs the landlady that she will cover Ji Woong’s missed rent payments if she evicts him in return. This way she is able to collect his relocation money and hers once she relocates herself. Hong Sil now has a good chunk of money, but if she wants to be able to reach her goal of $200,000 she’ll have to open an account in someone else’s name. This is where Ji Woong comes in. Hong Sil strikes a deal with him allowing him to live on her roof and learn the art of penny-pinching, but only if he agrees to do whatever she says for a period of two months.


This movie was simple but a fun watch. It has some sad elements to it as it follows two poverty stricken characters and their struggle to live a decent life. Ji Woong’s optimistic and child-like character adds humor to the dark reality of the pair’s situation. Hong Sil’s story is a bit more miserable, as her father gambled away all their family’s money to the point where they couldn’t even properly scatter her mother’s ashes.

My favorite part of the movie is definitely watching the friendship and ultimate relationship between Ji Woong and Hong Sil grow. In the beginning, they both have different love interests and are clearly just tolerating each other, but as they spend more time together it’s cute to watch them look out for each other. Ji Woong’s devotion to Hong Sil by the end is really sweet too. I love when he sells everything he has, even his beloved scooter to buy her the tree where she scattered her mother’s ashes so that it wouldn’t get taken away once the golf course was built there.

Overall, the movie isn’t anything spectacular, but I don’t think it was ever trying to be. You get what you see with this one. A simple romantic comedy that delivers what it set out to accomplish. I found myself laughing but also sad during the darker moments. The ending was satisfying and exactly what you’re hoping for by the time you reach the end. The acting was great, especially Song Joong Ki, but I really liked Han Ye Seul as well.

If you’re looking for a good romantic comedy to watch, give this one a try. It has some great tongue in cheek humor and great leads as well. If you like Song Joong Ki, this is a must watch. His character is not only cheeky, but endearing as well! It’s not especially deep, or groundbreaking material, but I think that’s okay.

If you haven’t already, you can watch the trailer for Penny Pinchers, here.

Rating: 5/10


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