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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is so out-of-place and self-conscious that it's almost
painful to watch at times. "Down With Love" shows that sometimes actors
feel like turning up for work and getting paid just like the rest of
us. The tone of the film lurches between carbon copy scenes from the
sugary "Rots-Your-Teeth-As-You-Watch-It's-So-Sweet" Doris and Rock
movies it claims to be "honouring" and lowbrow humour with a distinctly
bitter, modern taste.
Ewan MacGregor puts in a stock "Cheeky Boy" performance. He seems to be enjoying himself in the role but I never found him convincing. In real life Rock Hudson was as gay as they make them, but he clearly had a chemistry with Doris Day and he always gave a good solid, masculine performance. MacGregor is certainly masculine in "Down With Love" but his usual screen presence is outshone by the "So-White-They-Look-Fake" gleam of his perfect teeth.
Poor Renee Zelwegger really struggles to give her role some depth but she is badly let down by a script that won't let her be one thing or another. Is she a feminist or is she an old-fashioned girl at heart? Frankly, who cares? Zelwegger has to try and play a 1960s version of Bridget Jones without the gently mocking commentary and it just doesn't work. The poor, poor woman is hampered at one point by a scene where she has to explain the whole of the plot, on her own, in a single shot. It would have been less painful to watch her try and carry a bag of cement up a spiral staircase whilst wearing high heels. By the end of this scene, I was squirming in embarrassment on her behalf. It felt like it was never going to end and I could feel other moviegoers tensing in their seats as they watched her. All around the cinema, faces were illuminated by the soft glow of watches as we all began to wonder when the ushers were going to open the doors and let us out.
The sign of a truly awful film is that moment when the characters have to explain what's going on to the audience. Not only did poor Renee have to do this, but she was forced to do it in the style of a 1950s public information film announcer.
This film sucks. Even appearances by Tony Randall, David Hyde Pierce and the luminous Jeri Ryan couldn't save it. Tacking a ghastly musical number onto the end just added insult to injury. What were the producers thinking? Did all the money for the film come from little old ladies and were the producers planning a "Springtime For Hitler" con job? In that case, why hire MacGregor and Zelwegger to front it? Nothing about "Down With Love" makes any sense.
Down with Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake (the so-called "Writers") and director (in the loosest of terms) Peyton Reed, I say. Reed in particular should stick to re-makes of already mediocre Disney films and leave satire, pastiche and homage to the grown-ups.
I totally agree with Mary on this one. I too was looking forward to
this movie and both my wife and I agreed, after seeing it, that any
sophistication and comedic value of the 50's/60's comedies this was meant
parody was totally lost on the director. This was more like an in your
TV comedy with a big budget. It wouldn't have surprised me if there would
have been a laugh track to tell us where to laugh! We went home and put
our DVD of Pillow Talk (1959) to ease the pain!
Instead of letting the audience in on the joke, the script left it to a 3 minute monologue at the end, leaving us with one (oh, yeh, that's funny) laugh. If the audience new the inside joke from the beginning I believe it would have been funnier throughout the movie as we would know what each character knows but the other doesn't.
The sets where generally great (except as noted below) and David Hyde Pierce was a standout as an actor who understands comedic acting and timing, unfortunately Ms. Zellweger and Mr. McGregor (two actors I admire) don't and must rely on good directing, this is where I place the blame on Mr. Reed. Sophisticated comedy should be played straight and left to the situation and witty repartee to bring out the humor instead of hitting us over our heads with it (did ya get it audience, did ya!). That may be fine for Ace Ventura or Austin Power movies where comedians can pull it off with great aplomb but not in a romantic comedy with actors who are not natural comedians. Given good direction a talented actor can do anything, an example is Rob Marshall's direction of Ms. Zellweger and all others in Chicago. But no amount of acting skills can overcome inept direction.
In general the costuming was excellent with the exception of the initial pink suit worn by Ms. Zellweger; the collar was so big it made her look like a frightened turtle, her head almost disappeared in one scene. Great effort was made to use original footage of New York but when the scene was in an apartment the skyline was very crudely painted mattes (did the budget run out?). It may have been intentional but for me it was too jarring. Tony Randall's character was just plain mean with no redeeming feature, what a waste.
All in all, with the exception of David Hyde Pierce and, to some extent, Sarah Paulson all the parts were caricatures. This movie was a great idea wasted by poor writing and very bad direction.
I appreciate a lot Rennée Zellwegger. But here she's playing a "Doris Day" role, without being Doris Day. And Ewan McGregor .... is not convincing at all. He and his partner could do a film of, say, gay guys. The director chose a style used by MGM in the late fifties, which fatally invites to comparison with Doris Day's movies, which were fine, for the epoch. He could have chosen a modern setting, without the affectations and exaggerations of the main actors, and then perhaps we would see a good film. I have seen a lot of interesting films on nearly the same theme, and they were very enjoyable. But, as it is, the film is just AWFUL. I would have ended here, were it not for the requisite of 10 lines of comments...
I have to start off by saying that my opinion of this film may be a bit
tainted, because I am a man, and this movie was definitely made for the
humans with chromosomes, xx. This movie was bad, even for a chick flick. I
got suckered into this movie, because it was my friend's birthday, and this
is what she wanted to see.
This movie plays off every stereotype imaginable, both within the genre of romantic comedy and in the era it is set in. As in true romantic comedy fashion the characters both work at a magazine. Who could believe it? Renee actually doesn't really start at one, but she does at the end. Also, both of the main characters are tricking the other one. How many times has this been done before? Then at the end after the girl gets mad at the guy she comes to her senses and ends up with him at the end. Truly original (sense the sarcasm.
This movie also plays off every stereotype that you can imagine from the 1960s. The sets are awful. The acting is awful. This is awful. Truly, truly awful.
Not only is this movie unoriginal and the story has been done a thousand times before, I have to point out a specific scene in the movie. This is when Zellwiger is telling off Ewan. Her speech is about 4 minutes long, containing run on sentences and you are only left getting lost in what she is talking about. You lose her after about 30 seconds.
In Conclusion, this movie is terrible, even for a "chick flick." Many times during the film I was hanging my head in shame and just anticipating the end. I found myself truly laughing once in the entire movie and it delt with a MAD Magazine. Don't waste your time on this rubbish.
I am a fan of classic movies and I LOVED the Doris Day/Rock Hudson films.
I eagerly looked forward to seeing this film. If done right, I'm not
opposed to "remakes". But this film is a perfect example of why so many
people are. It's difficult to imagine how this film could've been worse.
Aside from a few borrowed plot devices and being set in the same era, this
film had nothing in common with the Day/Hudson films. The whole point of
those films was that Day was an innocent, decent, "good-girl" while Hudson
was the womanizing playboy. They was exact opposites, which is why she was
so appalled by his life style, and why he eventually ended up falling in
love with her (because she was so different from the girls he dated). In
"Down With Love", Zellweger's character is going around telling women to
sleep with any man they meet. It could hardly be more different.
I felt that Zellweger's acting was fake and over-the-top. McGregor was much better at pulling off a Rock Hudson like character, especially when he was portraying Zip Martin. But, overall, the whole first half of the film was so badly done it seemed almost cartoonish. It was like a bad "Saturday Night Live" skit.
However, what I found the most disturbing were the MANY "off-color" sex jokes. Sure, the Day/Hudson films had some sexual innuendoes in them, but there were usually subtle and infused into the plot. In "Down With Love" the jokes were more they just innuendo. They were obvious, trashy, crass, crude, offensive, and completely gratuitous. It seemed they used any excuse to throw in a dirty joke every few minutes.
The only bright spot in this film was the excellent performance given by the always wonderful David Hyde Pierce. His portrayal of Tony Randall's character was dead on. To sum up, avoid this film at all costs!! It's not even worth the price to rent it. If you long for the feel of those great early 60s romantic comedies, go watch "Pillow Talk" or "Lover Come Back" because "Down With Love" doesn't even come close.
I saw this movie on a plane. I have no idea why I bothered to watch it to
the end. It's dreadful.
Renee Z. is so effected that it's painful to listen to her, she twitches constantly and the 60's clothes show how thin she is, making it painful to watch her. Ewan M. is no good in the film either, tho it's harder to specify what's wrong with his peformance. However, since the film is an all round dud then any deep analysis of where an individual performance went wrong is pretty pointless at the end of the day.
Don't go even if you're offered free tickets.
Okay, who paid for this movie to be made anyway???? They wasted lots of money and time on it. I thought it was one of the stupidest ones I've seen in awhile. I know it was supposed to make fun of 60s movies, but it's just plain boring and too full of sexual stuff. I prefer Doris and Rock any day...
Avoid this film at all cost's. Complete waste of time! I feel cheated out of time and money. Zellweger is diabolically rubbish, pouting is not acting and her constant butt wiggling makes her look like she has had a hip replacement. NOT SEXY! McGregor is very disappointing, hard to think this is the same guy who did Shallow Grave and Train Spotting, let alone was allowed to be known as Obi Wan. If it wasn't for David Hyde Pierce I would have been forced to burn the DVD. He is the only saving grace. And he is no where near his best. I will be avoiding Peyton Reed movies in future as I really don't think I could take the pain. Why why why did this film get funded when there are so many other films out there by great unknown talented filmmakers just begging for funding. The movie world gets more and more scary!
Stuck watching my niece, I had to endure this fluff. Everyone involved slept walked thru their roles. No one cared. Not one of the actors seemed interested. The script writers didn't care. The director didn't care. Unconvincing, dull, and a very bad take on the cheesy feel good romantic movies of the 1960's. There was zero chemistry in this movie. Not everyone has chemistry with their fellow actors in a movie. But this movie managed to generate no chemistry between ANYONE. Zip, zero, Nada. why this movie was shown during the day is beyond me. sickeningly fluff, too cute for it's own good, and just plain bad. I actually felt good to fall asleep at points during this movie. In the brief spells of sleep, my dreams made more sense then anything in this movie. This had to be one of those payback movies. you know, the one someone agrees to be in simply because they own someone else a favor. No one should watch this film. it's bad, almost worth being skewed on MST3K if it were still around. It's not even good enough to be on MST3K. This has to be one of the most inept films ever, and that's sad considering the cast. Overall, the cast themselves are talented. They just go to waste, wallowing in this stinker. 90 plus minutes of my life i'll never get back. Gone for good. To think of the better uses of the time. Like going in the yard, and counting the blades of grass.
This movie desperately tries to recreate the atmosphere of the 50/60s romantic comedies. No matter whether one likes those kind of movies, they were at least able to convey a bit of charming cat-and-mouse game of the main characters. However, this movies fails miserably trying to do this because the props are too exaggerated and look rather ridiculous. Still, this is something one could put up with but the dialogs are breathtakingly stupid and dull. If you're looking for a movie to put yourself or somebody else to sleep this is the flick to go for. It is quite hard to understand what the agent and the main actors must have thought accepting these roles. Ewan McGregor had already shown outstanding abilities as an actor, but the choice to take on this role is rather arguable. One can only hope that the pay-check was hefty, otherwise I cannot think of any other reason why somebody would do such a movie.
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