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Overall Rating
3.8

Awesome40%
Worth A Look: 24%
Average: 16%
Pretty Bad: 16%
Total Crap: 4%

8 reviews, 52 user ratings


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Down with Love
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by Scott Weinberg

"The best 1960s comedy released so far this year."
4 stars

For the most part, I loathe any modern film defined as a "romantic comedy"; not because I'm a cold and callous guy but because most of these movies are lazy and pedantic and poorly veiled vehicles for whatever rich lady may be the current Big Multiplex Draw this week. In a genre overloaded with moronic contrivances, tiresome plot devices and characters so transparent they should be starring in a HOLLOW MAN sequel, it's cause for admiration when something new comes along. And in Hollywood, "new" just means "really old and repackaged".

It's not necessary for one to have a familiarity with the old Rock Hudson/Doris Day flicks from the 1960s in order to enjoy the effusive and good-natured silliness of Peyton Reed's Down with Love - but it may help a little. In a sub-genre of movies where everything seems programmed by computer, it's encouraging to see a movie that achieves originality by harkening back to the painfully innocent days of 1962.

Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger step into the Hudson/Day formula as Catcher Block and Barbara Novak; he's a playboy with a killer reputation, she's a new author on the scene. Her book, Down with Love, is a call for emancipation: no longer should women be content to solely raise babies and keep a spotless house. Through Barbara's book, women all over the world are discovering their own independence. Catcher Block (a chauvanistic ladies' man and mega-popular magazine columnist) is having none of it.

In your typical modern-day rom-com, Block's plan would be the entire plot: he tries to sabotage her into falling in love while she continues to rebuff her advances. Clearly a movie needs more than this meager storyline to keep it afloat.

And that's where Reed and his superlative art designers come in. Like this movie or not, there's simply no denying that it's an absolute joy to LOOK at. That the screenplay deftly juggles some effective bits of what I call Three's Company gags ("It's not LONG enough! I can't make it FIT!") and gives people like McGregor and David Hyde Pierce some truly funny things to say is the icing on the cake. I can't really speak all that much on the film's devotion to its source material (I've only seen one Hudson/Day flick and that was more than enough) but the simple truth is that Down with Love plastered a bemused little grin on my face and it stuck there until the end credits showed up.

Down with Love is broad, silly and sort of predictable. It's also a refeshing breeze of cool air at a time of year that most people are gearing up for CGI explosions and machine gun violence. (I love big-budget insanity too, but this movie plays as perfect counter-programming for the summertime heavyweights.) Laden with excellent performances and surprisingly funny moments, Down with Love is a lightweight trifle to be sure; but it's a lightweight trifle that kept me laughing and smiling for 100 minutes.

Odds are you'll like this flick insofar as you appreciate the talents of Mr. McGregor and Ms. Zellweger. Both are absolutely spot-on perfect here, and their performances lend the film a confident posture which elevates it way above our modern-day romantic comedies. To see this sort of colorful goofiness presented with such professional gusto is a rare occurence these days. Guys, forget that it's labeled as "romantic". Fact is this movie's just plain old funny.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7652&reviewer=128
originally posted: 05/18/03 06:48:09
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/20/11 Ark Fun! Brilliant colors, plus that monologue of hers at the end ROCKS! 4 stars
7/12/09 the dork knight Hope you like sex-related puns. Only DHP saves it. 3 stars
10/01/07 Mable Cowpie A nice parody of the era - entertaining 4 stars
12/16/06 Ika Brilliant! The Actors, the plot, the movie! Awesome! 5 stars
10/27/06 Rio Was great up until they decided that love was good. 3 stars
6/11/05 Lucy Catcher Block Rocks my Socks! 5 stars
5/28/05 Lacey Very well done, flawless casting, great twist at the end. 5 stars
4/30/05 Alyson I say the best romantic comedy since Grease! 5 stars
9/23/04 Temenouzhka Zaharieva - ID and journalist According to the quality os set design my rating is 5 5 stars
9/15/04 random* fantastic send-up- um, fellow commenters, you missed the joke 5 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva Pathetic all that to get a guy 2 stars
6/04/04 Elizabeth Jewell Everything this woman accomplished was for love of this jerk? Say it ain't so. 2 stars
5/30/04 The More You Know The pepto bismol film formula always makes me nauseous. 1 stars
5/07/04 Amy Wardle It was funny in a way that it was so lame you had to laugh. 2 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt A smart, fun, stylish, and underrated film! 4 stars
2/16/04 Jim Michaels Satirizes the 60's uptight, yet zany style without succumbing to derision or delusion. 5 stars
1/25/04 Ryan Think that is was just awesome! Perfect casting... 5 stars
10/08/03 Sarah Attention dumb people, this movie is a remake of Pillow Talk (1959) 4 stars
10/06/03 Ali Ali Oxygen Free Renee Zellweger&Ewan McGregor ain't no Doris Day&Rock Hudson! No way! Nohow! 2 stars
10/05/03 Stephanie Throckmorton Wanders into all territory, none that it doesn't see fit to overkill. 2 stars
10/03/03 Troy Butler 4.5 stars, ... a great fun movie!!! If only more romantic comedies were made this well!!! 5 stars
9/22/03 Ray Loved it! Up with Down With Love! Doris and Rock would have got a chuckle out of it too! 5 stars
9/02/03 chloe I LOVED it and didn't expect to at all, now I'm hunting out the old Doris Day films 5 stars
8/20/03 murphy daniels snif snif sooo bewdiful 5 stars
8/17/03 Nicole Absolutely fantastic 5 stars
8/15/03 Paul Dempsey When a Hollywpod star promotes film in Oz you know it's a dud. 2 stars
8/13/03 Nancy295 Fun but not the real thing. Ewan and Renee should work together again. 4 stars
7/25/03 Kelly Attention dumb people:Ewan & Renee are NOT SUPPOSED to be playing Rock & Doris! 5 stars
7/20/03 Verbal Me Excellent movie, refreshing and hilarious! 5 stars
7/12/03 ali ali oxygen free Renee Zellweger&Ewan McGregor ain't no Doris Day&Rock Hudson! No way! Nohow! 2 stars
7/11/03 Stephanie Throckmorton Wanders into all territory, none that it doesn't see fit to overkill. 2 stars
7/09/03 natasha_theobald witty, well-acted, briskly paced, good when it's naughty fun 5 stars
6/29/03 Titus As a romatic comedy, this is absolutely tops. Great script 5 stars
6/11/03 Brannie Herez Brannie, This movie looks sooo bad that i wont even bother to pay for movie tickets. 1 stars
6/03/03 E. Allen This was a fantastic movie! It kept me smiling long after I left the theater! 5 stars
5/31/03 San Alexandra Great mavie! I loved the whole back in the 60's thing even though i'm only 14. 5 stars
5/29/03 Emily I love Ewan, this was a great movie! 5 stars
5/28/03 Dalian et rae Read the book -- this works more in literary format 3 stars
5/27/03 wintermute A pretty package with nothing inside 2 stars
5/24/03 Full Throtle Ahead Really funny movie! Everything about it was great! 5 stars
5/24/03 Nancy Niedzielski call me a hopelessly Down-with-Love girl, but this was a waste of 94 minutes of my life 2 stars
5/22/03 peter nnnnnnnnnn 1 stars
5/22/03 Todd something you could sit through 3 stars
5/22/03 Jai I never thought this movie would be as good as it was! 5 stars
5/21/03 Emmy Really great and funny! 5 stars
5/21/03 Kim (not Novak) Excellent--a silly movie for smart people. Perfect from start to finish. 5 stars
5/20/03 Dick BAD 1 stars
5/20/03 Rover Brilliant!! Funny! DHP is awesome! 5 stars
5/19/03 Michelle B Loved it. Ewan and Renee are hilarious. 5 stars
5/19/03 v.e.r. rz &emc were both terrific in playing their roles also the film was very amusung. 4 stars
5/19/03 holli I'll never again be satisfied with predictable, lifeless, modern day romantic comedies! 5 stars
5/18/03 George Jung Holy Fuck...best fucking movie of the fucking year so fucking far. Fucking amazing. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-May-2003 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Aug-2003




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