Volume 97, Issue 2
Thursday, May 29, 2003

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MOVIE REVIEW: Down With Love

Get Down with Ewan & Renee

Down With Love
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Paulson
Directed by: Peyton Reed

By Lori Mastronardi
Gazette Staff

If you want to be visually stimulated and entertained check out Peyton Reed's Down with Love, a new romantic comedy with a twist.

The film opens with colour and vigor as Barbara Novak (Renée Zellweger) arrives in bustling New York City and distinguishes herself by wearing alarmingly pink clothing among a sea of brown suits. She's eager to promote her new book, "Down with Love," which reveals how women should not succumb to men. More specifically Novak suggests the female gender must stray from the familiar ideals of love and marriage and grasp onto the shocking new attitudes of casual sex and equality in the workplace. Love, after all, is simply a distraction.

Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor), womanizer and star journalist of KNOW magazine, is characterized as "the ladies' man, man's man, man about town." Once Block refuses to provide his promised cover story on Novak's book, she proceeds to publicly disclose his naughty reputation on The Ed Sullivan Show, thus sparking a battle between the two headstrong characters.

Down with Love attracts the audience through ritzy 1960s decor, incessant wardrobe changes and by playing on chocolate's high aphrodisiac quality; so much so it assumes a complete replacement for sex. Sexual innuendoes incessantly pervades the film ˆ la Austin Powers, in an obvious effort to reflect the romantic comedies of Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

The soundtrack is lively and representative of the time period, peaking with Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" and the film's closing music video, "Here's to Love," performed by McGregor and Zellweger.

Despite the film's allure, it tends to lose its charm once Novak begins to stray from the female independence she preaches. The story-line tends to falter in overly convoluted revelations and bizarre plot twists.

Though Down is presumably characterized as a "chick flick," those with views of rigid gender distinctions and labels should watch this film to obtain a necessary, different perspective. Down with Love's comedic aspect provides a light, worthwhile view of the transformation from the repressed to the independent woman.

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