Friday, May 16, 2003

Down With Love (IMDB) (Netflix)
What Far From Heaven did with 1950s melodramas, Down With Love does to 1960s romantic comedies, by being faithful to the genre, but also sending it up, way up. Rene Zellweger's character has written a how-to manifesto for women to think about romance and sex just like men—that is, hold the former and go heavy on the latter. Ewen McGregor is a ladies' man and investigative journalist who first ignores her, then when the book becomes a world sensation, decides to expose her for what he suspects she really is—a poseur who really just wants a house and 3.2 children. Campy hilarity ensues.

As one who didn't think he liked campy hilarity, this movie was a pleasant surprise...then cause for concern; a possible indication of latent tendencies. Putting identity issues aside for the moment, the movie has an intelligent script that mines the Austin Powers comedy territory, Zellweger and McGregor commit all the way to their roles, and the pace is brisk. Brisk, but about 15 minutes too long, if that makes any sense. The umbrella joke plays out before the finish, diluting the payoff. Fans of Doris Day/Rock Hudson flicks will get the most out of this one.