I picked up this drama mainly because of the cast — Park Shin Hye whom I loved on You’re Beautiful and Heartstrings, and Yoon Shi Yoon who stole my heart as Tak Gu in Baker King (King of Bakers). This, aside from the synopsis that promises a light romantic comedy with a lot of eye candy. In the end, I would say that this drama did not wow me as I expected but it did provide for an entertaining way to spend 16 hours stuck in my room (not necessarily in one sitting) during the four day Lenten holiday.
Go Dok Mi is a shy copy editor who is more comfortable holed up in her apartment rather than mingling with the people in her neighborhood. She harbors a major crush on her neighbor, the handsome doctor Han Tae Joon who lives across her apartment. As a result, she spends most of her time spying on him through her window using her trusty binoculars. Oh Jin Rak (Kim Ji Hoon) is a cartoonist who lives next door to Dok Mi who admires her quietly and communicates with her through notes with messages and doodles that he sticks on her milk carton everyday. Their rather quiet neighborhood is shaken with the arrival of Tae Joon’s famous cousin, the loud and exuberant gaming genius Enrique Geum, who after a rocky start develops an interest in his introverted neighbor and vows to make her open up to the world before he leaves Seoul.
Flower Boy Next Door is a pretty cut and dried drama. It has a very simple story made complicated by the seesaw of emotions and the polar opposite personalities of its two lead characters Dok Mi and Enrique. Shin Hye takes on a rather depressing character in Dok Mi and the cute girl next door persona that fans have taken a liking to in previous dramas is nowhere to be found in this series. What is left is a rather vulnerable and flawed character that audiences will still find relateable to. Shi Yoon on the other hand, who has proven himself in heavy dramas, challenged himself this time with his portrayal of the man child with hidden depths — Enrique Geum. At times, I found him too loud and obnoxious in this series and I liked his quieter more sensitive moments more but his cuteness makes up for whatever lapses he had as an actor in this drama. Still, I think that this type of role does not suit him. It just seemed too forced. On the other hand, Kim Ji Hoon as Jin Rak was a standout in this drama, providing a well balanced character that was comfortable with both drama and comedy side of his role. The scenes where he was being jealous of Enrique were to die for and made me laugh out loud.
However, I felt that there was something that was lacking in the drama that made it lose impact in some way. Perhaps the lack of good theme music as well as background music, or rather its grim depiction of Dok Mi’s past through countless flashbacks. The problem I think, with this drama is that it was basically half baked. It was not funny enough in totality to be a romantic comedy nor was it heavy enough to be a hard core drama. It’s such a shame because I really felt that with a few minor tweaks, the chemistry between Shin Hye and Shi Yoon could have been played up more if there were some adjustments to their roled.
All in all, Flower Boy Next Door was not what I had expected. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Really, the best thing about this drama, sad to say is the number of cute guys cast in this series.