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Down With Love

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Down With Love

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor
Director: Peyton Reed
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: May 2003
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Paulson, Tony Randall, Jeri Ryan, Rachel Dratch, Melissa George

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Remember those deliciously delightful Doris Day/Rock Hudson sex comedies? Set in 1962, this homage to that old-fashioned genre begins in Manhattan with perky, coquettish Bobby Novak (Renee Zellweger) launching a feminist manifesto of female empowerment in the boardroom and the bedroom that warns women to just say 'no' to romantic entanglements and advocates "a la carte" sex. Bobby and her sharp-tongued editor Vicki (Sarah Paulson) have a hard time convincing their cantankerous publisher (Tony Randall) to take the concept seriously so, instead, they focus on a cover story in a hip men's magazine called Know. That brings Bobby into a direct confrontation with hotshot writer/playboy cad Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor) who has his own agenda involving his boss/buddy Peter (David Hyde Pierce), who yearns for Vicki. A complicated mistaken identity farce evolves - and must then be agonizingly explained.

Problem is: director Peyton Reed, along with screenwriters Eve Ahlert and Dennis Drake, can't decide whether to imitate that chaste era - in which the bold gender politics of advocating casual sex would have been entirely too shocking - or attempt a hip, campy parody. And while the dialogue has snappy double-entendres and ribald innuendoes, there's zero chemistry between Zellweger and McGregor. On the other hand, production designer Andrew Laws has faithfully duplicated the color-saturated palette of the Day/Hudson movies, beginning with the kitschy Cinemascope logo and splashing onto lavish sets and Daniel Orlandi's costumes, photographed by Jeff Cronenweth, using split screens, swipe images and rear projection. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Down With Love" is a snazzy, stylish 7. It's spark-filled, frothy fun.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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