***Official "DOWN WITH LOVE" Review Thread***

Discussion in 'Movies' started by TheLongshot, Apr 30, 2003.

  1. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    May 12, 2000
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    Down With Love - Review.

    I saw a screening tonight. What a silly and wonderful movie.

    It is 1963 New York, and Barbara Novak (Zellweger) has just arrived in New York to take it by storm. She's just wrote the book "Down With Love", a feminist how-to manual on how to get ahead in the world by denying men love (and the power of chocolate). In promoting the book, her editor has landed her to be interviewed by the top men's magazine, and by their top reporter, Catcher Block (McGregor). Catcher is a "man's man", a jerk with a different woman every night, but charming enough to get away with it. He doesn't care much for Ms. Novak and her book, so he blows her off for a series of stewardesses (one of which is the beautiful Jeri Ryan). Through improbable circumstances, her book becomes a big hit. Her book cramps his style, and after being publically humiliated, he is bound and determined to bring her down by having her fall in love with him.

    This is definitly Doris Day's New York. One where women where multiple designer dresses a day, apartments are impossibly huge and all have the view of the New York skyline, executives are all known by initials, and where you can pay one guy to tell the rest of New York what to do. The story is definitly in a similar vein as "Pillow Talk". The twist is that it is the 21st century now, and it is parodied heavily. There is a certain amount of winking at the camera, and a lot of Austin Powers type of double-entendres. It works quite well for this film, since there is no way you can take a lot of the improbable situations seriously.

    Both Zellweger and McGregor are on top of their game here. McGregor is certainly setting himself up as leading man type being very charming in both of his "characters". Zellweger probably isn't quite Doris Day in looks, but she's got the pouty lips to make it work and she has excellent chemistry with McGregor, with dialog bouncing of each other like clockwork.

    The guy who steals this movie is David Hyde-Pierce, who plays Catcher's editor. Pierce is good at playing these insecure nebbishes, and he's wonderful here, taking over each scene he's in.

    The only fault I can find with the film is that the third act drags as they get everyone where the writers want them to be. Even then, it still works in its own way, and is probably there to underline the whole ridiculousness of the plot. BTW, stay to the end of the credits, it is worth it.

    Probably one of the funnier comedies that I've seen in years. I recommend it. Make sure you see it with someone you love.


  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Feb 12, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for Down With Love". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    Believe it or not, I did see this film.

    The opening introduction sort of stumbled out of the gate, but boy did it gather momentum, and put out that snazzy late-60's vibe to the whole story, and had it speeding across the finish in no time at all. It was fun, and poked and prodded at the "battle" between the sexes in terms of love, work, family. The 2 leads are engaging enough and served the story sufficiently to get across that "vibe" to make the time period seem stereotypically genuine.

    The script is filled with double entendres, and it's done in a fun, playful spirit for the most part. I didn't think the film dragged at all once we get through the initial introduction for Barbara Novak (Renee Zellwegger's character).

    I give it 3 stars or a grade of B.
  4. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Apr 29, 2000
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    Saw it last night. Absolutely loved it. Good "unclean" fun. Renee & Ewan carry the lead parts very well. The plot is fun. The dialogue is excellent. The supporting characters do their job well.

    All in all, a very witty modern spinning on the classic 60s screwball comedies - it's reverant and irreverant at the same time, and handles the material well. If you're expecting a straight take on the old classics, you may be disappointed.

    And the song sequence over the end titles was done brilliantly.
  5. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Nov 5, 1998
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    Copied from the 2003 film list

    Down With Love
    7 of 10

    This film was running as a 6.5 until the credits song which gave it a nice boost. The film has its heart in the right place and the efforts are outstanding in many cases, like acting and art direction, but the writing is a little confused. The idea is solid and fun, recreating a Rock and Doris sex farce, but the methods in the writing have trouble settling on how to go about doing this. What struck me as most awkward were how the more overt sexual jokes stood out as better suited for Austin Powers than this film. The charm of the type of film they were trying to create is that it has a little bit more innocence.

    It's not all like that however, and when its on target its great. Again, all the actors are terrific in their roles. In the end I couldn't help feeling like I just saw a missed opportunity with this one. Do a rewrite and you might have had a big hit on your hands. Instead its a cute rental flick.

    PS - It's interesting to note that the film pairs the singing talents of stars from the 2 big musicals the last 2 years - Ewan and Renee. For some reason that just struck me as kinda cool when they sing together at the end.

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