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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Ewan McGregor, Renee Zellweger, David Hyde Pierce
DIRECTOR
Peyton Reed
SCREENPLAY
Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake
MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13
RUNNING TIME
101 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
20th Century Fox
 "Down With Love" Review 
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I'd been resisting seeing this film, starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, for quite some time. Something just hasn't felt right, despite the fact that I am a fan of both performers and enjoyed this type of 60's style romantic comedy. Something just hasn't felt right, so I've avoided this film. Tonight, I finally rented this film and here I am at the end of the film still feeling like "something isn't right."

First, I was bothered by Zellweger...which surprises me. I adore her in almost everything, and yet I never felt like she firmly established a character here...was she city? was she country? was she really going to commit to acting either one? I never bought the performance because I could never clearly see who she was trying to be.

McGregor, on the other hand, appeared to have a blast playing Catcher Block...he certainly had the look down, the style, the charisma...yet, I have to admit that his accent bothered me. I never heard an explanation for the accent, and yet it was clearly not New York. Other than this minor issue, I loved McGregor here.

I loved the set design, the colors...the style...while we certainly don't see films like this anymore...it is fun to watch and paced nicely. It did feel like the sexual innuendo was over the top...While 60's romantic films certainly had innuendo...it was more subtle...more playful...too often, we would bounce from innocent to dirty in 4 seconds...it was abrupt and felt out of place. I'm far from a prude, but it just didn't seem to fit here.

The music here is wonderful, the mood perfect...the supporting cast wonderful, including a perfectly cast David Hyde Pierce. It was nice to see Tony Randall again, and Sarah Paulson was competent but not fantastic.

In short, this film is far from a dud...but, I just don't feel like it ever decided what it wanted to be. I question whether director Peyton Reed had a clear vision, because clearly I thought the performances lacked focus. This film...I wanted it to be a "B" range film, but I just can't justify higher than a C+.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
    • B: 3 Stars                         
    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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