DOWN WITH LOVE Add To My Top 10

Content -3
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: May 09, 2003

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Paulson, and Tony Randall

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Audience: Older teenagers and
adults REVIEWER: Lisa A.
Rice DOWN WITH LOVE is a campy
parody of old Doris Day/Rock
Hudson sex comedies from the
1960s. It opens with the
perfectly pink, coiffed
Barbara Novak (Renee
Zellweger) arriving in New
York City in 1963. Apparently,
this farmer's
daughter/librarian has just
written a book called DOWN
WITH LOVE, a title apparently
borrowed from Judy Garland's
famous song. In the book,
Barbara tells women how to
exist without love, because
love is confining and
repressive. The answer, she
says, is to learn to live like
men by having meaningless
sexual encounters divorced
from real love. Consuming
chocolate will solve the
endorphin problem, she
explains. This outlook will
ensure that women's minds are
free to pursue their dreams in
the workplace. Barbara's
contact at the New York
publishing house is a woman
named Vikki Hiller (Sarah
Paulson), who has managed to
get her an interview with the
famous hunky playboy, Catcher
Block (Ewan McGregor),
publisher of Know, a magazine
for "men in the know." Catcher
has just returned from an
investigative reporting tour,
where he's found out that the
U.S. is hiding smart Nazi
scientists. He is telling his
boss, Peter McMannus (David
Hyde Pierce), about the trip
when the two men move the
conversation to Catcher's new
socks which are made from a
new elastic technology that
helps it "stay up all day." A
secretary overhears them on
her intercom and thinks they
are talking about the male
anatomy. She falls over and
passes out, but Catcher waves
it off and boasts that he
doesn't even know the
secretaries anymore because he
goes through so many of
them. McMannus asks Catcher to
feature Barbara's feminist
book in his magazine, simply
because he has a crush on
Vikki Hiller, but Catcher
refuses. Finally, he agrees,
and a luncheon is scheduled.
Right before the luncheon with
Barbara, though, Catcher finds
an attractive woman and runs
off with her, phoning Barbara
with a lame excuse. Despite
Barbara's clever responses and
suggestions, he continues to
postpone the interview
rendezvous. Finally, Barbara
has had enough of the insult,
and she tells Catcher that she
will never, ever meet with
him. After only a few weeks,
Barbara's book has become a
runaway bestseller, and women
across America are turning to
chocolate, careers and telling
their husbands what to do. In
an interview with the press,
Barbara jokes about her
success by saying, "One of the
biggest sectors in our sales
has been church groups in the
Bible belt. They're burning my
books so zealously that they
keep re-ordering - just to
have another
bonfire!" Meanwhile, Catcher
is shocked that her book is
such a hit. He devises a plan
to disprove Barbara's theories
by making her fall in love
with him. He disguises himself
as sweet, southern astronaut,
Zip Martin, and dons a great
southern accent. He sends a
detective to Maine to find out
the scoop on Barbara, who
broke her heart and made her
so bitter. He has a long phone
conversation with Barbara, and
a split screen shows the
couple appearing to interact
(though they're in their own
homes) in some carefully
art-directed sexual
positions. Though Catcher is
successful in some of his
plans, Barbara has some sneaky
tricks up her own sleeve. The
big question remains: whose
philosophy will win in the
end? DOWN WITH LOVE has a few
strong points, including good
casting, great music and art
direction, and incredible
scenery. The opening scene
shows the protagonist walking
among hundreds of '60s cars
driving in New York City! The
outfits are extremely
authentic and very fun for
those who remember that
decade, and the furniture and
terminology ("What a gas!")
definitely bring a smile.
Doris Day and Rock Hudson fans
might enjoy the memories of
the original movies, and the
dance scene after the ending
credits is adorable. On the
other side of the coin, the
movie is campy and
over-the-top, but that gets
old after about 30 minutes.
Also, the attempt by the
actors trying to deceive each
other makes it hard to realize
a true sense of character
transformation, which is
crucial to a well-constructed
screenplay. The biggest
problem, however, is found in
the movie's feminist
worldview. Though portrayed
with silliness and humor, the
movie assumes that women find
love and marriage repressive
and confining and that they're
all looking for satisfaction
in work. The men are portrayed
as chauvinistic playboys or
gay acting weaklings. Though
several viewpoints are
considered, the movie ends
with a dissatisfying, slightly
confusing combination of
traditional and feminist
worldviews. The movie also
seems to say that people
should not believe in moral
absolutes. That sentiment, of
course, is logically
contradictory and, therefore,
false, because it sets up its
own moral absolute. Finally,
sexual innuendo and dialogue
about sex pervades nearly the
entire movie. For example,
there are visual jokes in one
scene about several forms of
fornication, sodomy, and oral
sex, and a discussion about
career contains some innuendo
about "being on top," working
"under" a woman, and so
forth. Please address your
comments to: Tom Rothman & Jim
Gianopulos, Chairmen Fox
Filmed Entertainment 20th
Century Fox Film Corp. A
division of Fox, Inc. & News
Corp. 10201 West Pico
Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
90025 Phone: (310)
369-1000 Website: www.fox.com

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 100 minutes

Address Comments To:

Content:

(FeFe, PC, HoHo, Ab, Pa, FR, L, V, SS, N, AA, D, M) Predominantly feministic worldview with sexual innuendo, extreme feminism, and homosexual humor underlying many scenes with one slur on Christians and one pagan portrayal of Buddha, a philosopher who has become a religious figure; light offensive language with one or two light obscenities; light violence such as brief boxing match shown and woman punches one man and slaps another; many allusions to sex, sometimes campy, with protagonist being major playboy with apartment furnished as a campy bachelor pad, complete with hidden bed, hidden bar, etc., where he tries to seduce women, much homosexual humor and false accusation of homosexuality put upon an effeminate, weak man, and visual innuendo in one scene referring to several forms of fornication and oral sex; upper male nudity, female cleavage, and woman's hair covers her nude breasts; numerous instances of alcohol portrayed, including man appears drunk and a person passes out; smoking; and, lying, deceit, a casual attitude about sex, and no moral absolutes.

GENRE: Romantic Comedy

FeFe

PC

HoHo

Ab

Pa

FR

L

V

SS

N

AA

D

M

Summary:

In DOWN WITH LOVE, it's New York City in 1963, and love is blooming between a journalist playboy and a feminist advice columnist who thinks he's a lovable astronaut. Despite some clever and campy features, the movie leaves audiences with a somewhat confused worldview combining traditionalism and feminism, with scenes full of sexual innuendoes played for laughs.

Review:

DOWN WITH LOVE is a campy parody of old Doris Day/Rock Hudson sex comedies from the 1960s.

It opens with the perfectly pink, coiffed Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger) arriving in New York City in 1963. Apparently, this farmer's daughter/librarian has just written a book called DOWN WITH LOVE, a title apparently borrowed from Judy Garland's famous song. In the book, Barbara tells women how to exist without love, because love is confining and repressive. The answer, she says, is to learn to live like men by having meaningless sexual encounters divorced from real love. Consuming chocolate will solve the endorphin problem, she explains. This outlook will ensure that women's minds are free to pursue their dreams in the workplace. Barbara's contact at the New York publishing house is a woman named Vikki Hiller (Sarah Paulson), who has managed to get her an interview with the famous hunky playboy, Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor), publisher of Know, a magazine for "men in the know."

Catcher has just returned from an investigative reporting tour, where he's found out that the U.S. is hiding smart Nazi scientists. He is telling his boss, Peter McMannus (David Hyde Pierce), about the trip when the two men move the conversation to Catcher's new socks which are made from a new elastic technology that helps it "stay up all day." A secretary overhears them on her intercom and thinks they are talking about the male anatomy. She falls over and passes out, but Catcher waves it off and boasts that he doesn't even know the secretaries anymore because he goes through so many of them.

McMannus asks Catcher to feature Barbara's feminist book in his magazine, simply because he has a crush on Vikki Hiller, but Catcher refuses. Finally, he agrees, and a luncheon is scheduled. Right before the luncheon with Barbara, though, Catcher finds an attractive woman and runs off with her, phoning Barbara with a lame excuse. Despite Barbara's clever responses and suggestions, he continues to postpone the interview rendezvous. Finally, Barbara has had enough of the insult, and she tells Catcher that she will never, ever meet with him.

After only a few weeks, Barbara's book has become a runaway bestseller, and women across America are turning to chocolate, careers and telling their husbands what to do. In an interview with the press, Barbara jokes about her success by saying, "One of the biggest sectors in our sales has been church groups in the Bible belt. They're burning my books so zealously that they keep re-ordering - just to have another bonfire!"

Meanwhile, Catcher is shocked that her book is such a hit. He devises a plan to disprove Barbara's theories by making her fall in love with him. He disguises himself as sweet, southern astronaut, Zip Martin, and dons a great southern accent. He sends a detective to Maine to find out the scoop on Barbara, who broke her heart and made her so bitter. He has a long phone conversation with Barbara, and a split screen shows the couple appearing to interact (though they're in their own homes) in some carefully art-directed sexual positions.

Though Catcher is successful in some of his plans, Barbara has some sneaky tricks up her own sleeve. The big question remains: whose philosophy will win in the end?

DOWN WITH LOVE has a few strong points, including good casting, great music and art direction, and incredible scenery. The opening scene shows the protagonist walking among hundreds of '60s cars driving in New York City! The outfits are extremely authentic and very fun for those who remember that decade, and the furniture and terminology ("What a gas!") definitely bring a smile. Doris Day and Rock Hudson fans might enjoy the memories of the original movies, and the dance scene after the ending credits is adorable.

On the other side of the coin, the movie is campy and over-the-top, but that gets old after about 30 minutes. Also, the attempt by the actors trying to deceive each other makes it hard to realize a true sense of character transformation, which is crucial to a well-constructed screenplay.

The biggest problem, however, is found in the movie's feminist worldview. Though portrayed with silliness and humor, the movie assumes that women find love and marriage repressive and confining and that they're all looking for satisfaction in work. The men are portrayed as chauvinistic playboys or gay acting weaklings. Though several viewpoints are considered, the movie ends with a dissatisfying, slightly confusing combination of traditional and feminist worldviews. The movie also seems to say that people should not believe in moral absolutes. That sentiment, of course, is logically contradictory and, therefore, false, because it sets up its own moral absolute.

Finally, sexual innuendo and dialogue about sex pervades nearly the entire movie. For example, there are visual jokes in one scene about several forms of fornication, sodomy, and oral sex, and a discussion about career contains some innuendo about "being on top," working "under" a woman, and so forth.

Please address your comments to:

Tom Rothman & Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen

Fox Filmed Entertainment

20th Century Fox Film Corp.

A division of Fox, Inc. & News Corp.

10201 West Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90025

Phone: (310) 369-1000

Website: www.fox.com

In Brief: