Down With Love (2003)
Main cast: Renée Zellweger (Barbara Novak), Ewan McGregor (Catcher Block), Sarah Paulson (Vikki Hiller), David Hyde Pierce (Peter MacMannus), Rachel Dratch (Gladys), Jack Plotnick (Maurice), and Tony Randall (Theodore Banner)
Director: Peyton Reed
Down With Love is a horribly pink homage to the Doris Day and Rock Hudson classic Pillow Talk. Since I am not one of those people that fall over gasping in orgasm over those "bee-yoo-ti-fool movies of the old days", color me not amused by the hopelessly clichéd script that reads like a plot straight out of a bad romance novel. I should know - I've panned enough of these bad romance novels in the book section of this website. The last thing I need right now is to watch a big screen version of the Gullible Man-Hating Stereotype mating with the Oversexed Lothario Stereotype among pink, frilly, but substance-free garishness.
It's 1963. Barbara Novak is a smalltown lady that has written a book entitled Down With Love. It teaches women to approach sex like men and not fall in love because to her, love sucks and makes victims out of women. But the male-run publisher does not support her and for some much-needed publicity, her agent arranges for her to be interviewed by playboy bunny-air-stewardess shagging Catcher Block. Catcher doesn't like the idea so he gives her the runaround. When her book becomes a bestseller and she humiliates him on TV, he decides to seduce her and hence ruin her under an assumed identity.
Set among pink, pink, pink dresses, shoes, and more dresses, this movie is like a pornographic Givenchy boutique. The whole battle of the sexes theme is given a tired execution and the movie proceeds to cobble together tired chick flick clichés to add to the dreariess. Of course Catcher falls in love with her and of course love makes ideal fools out of all of them in the end. Renée Zellweger, winsome and charming in Chicago, is cloying in her attempt to come off as "1960-sophisticated" here. Does she have to speak as if a rubber ball is stuck down her throat all the time? Ewan McGregor, bless his oversized dong, is just sleepwalking here.
Strip away the 1960s nostalgia and this movie is nothing more than a very average chick flick. Both Zellweger and McGregor have played leads in better movies of the nostalgia trip theme previously (Chicago and Moulin Rouge respectively). David Hyde Pierce is amusing at times but he is just recycling his Niles Frasier act here. There is really nothing much that Down With Love can offer unless one is a big fan of the color pink, a McGregor groupie, or someone that zealously believes that today's movie is all crap compared to those wonderfully "pure" movies of yore.
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