Down With Love Goes Down in Flames

Carrie Cleaveland

Now I remember why I generally like to pretend movies from the 60s don’t exist.
When will I learn that just because a good-looking actor is in the movie doesn’t mean the movie itself is good?
Unless you are a fan of campy 60s flicks or Ewan McGreggor, I can’t think of a single reason to recommend this movie. Although I didn’t expect a great movie masterpiece, I did think Down With Love would be exceptionally cute, and satisfy my occasional “chick flick” craving. While funny and loaded with cheesy characters you can’t help but love, the movie lacked anything remarkable or unique to truly capture my attention. Even the Doris Day films Down With Love parodies have better plots.
But no matter how much I despise the campy quality of the 60s cinematography, I nevertheless tip my hat to Down With Love’s attempt to mimic that campy quality. When driving in cars, the background movement made no attempt to seem real. Several backdrops likewise did not blend in with the actors. One of the only things Down With Love had going for it was that it set out to be a bad 60s film and had no illusions of being anything but. I give credit where credit is due, and as a cinematic commentary, credit is most definitely due.
Ewan McGreggor and Renee Zellwegger remain superb in an otherwise mediocre film, and along with David Hyde Pierce breath enough life into the film to keep me from falling asleep. But even they couldn’t stop Down With Love’s ship from sinking. It is a credit to these actors not only that they did an excellent job, but that they did so despite poor dialogue and thin plot.
Speaking of which, the previews tell you everything you need to know. Barbara Novak’s (Zellwegger) book enflames the female populace to spurn love and marriage and enter the work force, severally endangering the lifestyle of ladies’ man Catcher Block (McGreggor). Block then tries to get Novak to fall in love with him in order to denounce her and resume his Austin Powers-like lifestyle. Down With Love is certainly cute, but sadly doesn’t offer much more. I can think of several cute “chick flicks”, however, which boasted something more substantial than lead-actor sex appeal to keep me interested. C-