Down With Love

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:PG-13 for sexual humors
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor
Directed By: Peyton Reed

Final Grade:

I’ve been down with the chicken pox. I’ve been down with the flu. I’ve even been down with kidney stones. But, I’ve never been down with love. And after viewing the film of that title, Down With Love, I’d rather be down with syphilis.

The story of Down With Love follows two main characters on opposite ends of the gender spectrum. First we meet Barbara Novak (Zellweger), who’s just written her book, surprisingly titled Down With Love. She shows up in the big apple and immediately introduces her ideas to the world. Soon all the women are getting uppity and “acting like they have minds of their own” (those are NOT my words, they’re the film’s).

Then we meet Catcher Block (McGregor), prized bachelor of the city who spends his meal times with lovely stewardesses. He also is the star reporter for Know Magazine, “The Magazine for Men in the Know”, and is requisitioned to do a story on the new star Novak.

This of course turns into the silly story of man tricking woman and woman tricking man that worked so well earlier this year in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. The problem is, the jokes in this film are unfunny, and scenes of sexual innuendo are thrown in at random moments just to try and be funny. A particular scene involving split-screen and a telephone call that reminded me of an Austin Powers gag was especially annoying, and not a soul in the theater laughed. Apparently filmgoers are getting smarter!

Down With Love almost had me pleased with a great plot twist in the final half-hour, but it then threw the idea out like a parking ticket. My brain screamed in pain as the film negated its own words and returned exactly to the answer that every other romantic comedy uses. The ensuing events proceeded to have less originality than an echo.

I suppose fans of the Rock Hudson/Doris Day collaborations of the 60’s will enjoy the film’s homage to those films, and the visuals were perfect for the style of the film. The stars also were charismatic as ever, they just didn’t choose a film in which that charisma would matter. These are the only things that give this film any pull toward the realm of quality filmdom, and they’re weighed down too heavily to ever let the film complete the journey.

I love Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger for their effort, and they’re a pair of stars that deserved much better. If you can make it through the film to the end credits you’ll be treated to a fun little song and dance number that lets the stars of the last two-years’ musical hits show off, a number probably put there to try and make us forget how bad the movie was. Unfortunately, Down With Love is a trifle, meaningless film that never makes it past annoying to entertaining. And I’m not down with that.

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