Available on Prime Video, the Filipino-Korean film Ultimate Oppa is a fluffy, lighthearted romantic-comedy. A simple, but sweet story that fulfills your basic rom-com needs. The film won’t break any new ground and may not be the most polished film you’ll ever see. But Bela Padilla and Kim Gun Woo share a wonderful chemistry that is more than enough to carry the film through to the predictable, but satisfying end.
After negative experiences with Filipino men in her life, aspiring writer Yana (Bela Padilla) turns to Korean drama and the popular Moon Shi Woo (Jasper Cho) to find her perfect man. She gets a chance to meet him in person and compete for a chance to be his “first lady” during special fan activities. But during the event, she will meet Shi Woo’s manager Jay (Kim Gun Woo) who she soon finds herself falling for instead.
It’s a familiar set-up. And the various rom-com and even romantic drama themes and ideas that are sprinkled throughout can make the film feel very predictable. Most of the film is set and filmed in Korea, taking full visual advantage of the snowcapped mountains of Pyeongchang. The setting provides the proper backdrop for the dream-like story of a fan finally getting to meet her idol, only to fall in love with someone she may have never expected.
Though the premise itself can appear quite thin, the film moves at a breakneck pace, speeding through one fluffy romantic happenstance to another. It requires you to know exactly who you’re supposed to be rooting for from the beginning. And there is never any question who is supposed to end up together in the end. Any antagonistic conflict is quickly and neatly resolved. And the lines (which are in English, Filipino and Korean) can hover toward the more cringeworthy side of the spectrum.
Despite the clunky screenplay, Bela Padilla and Kim Gun Woo are both charming romantic leads. Though both may be more widely known for their dramatic performances, they have a strong chemistry here that allows them to effectively deliver with the familiar rom-com situations.
And ultimately, it is that chemistry that has you hanging on to the very end. Ultimate Oppa may not be anything new, but it doesn’t set out to be anything more than a simple, fun and sweet time. And for that, it accomplishes its modest goal.