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DOWN WTH LOVE

Set in sixties Manhattan, this homage to the Doris Day-Rock Hudson romantic comedies puts a straightforward, career-obsessed feminist at the mercy of a devious, sybaritic journalist.

CAST: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Paulson, Tony Randall, Peter Spruyt

DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed

"Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor as Doris Day and Rock Hudson? Are they kidding? Despite the preposterous plot, the nauseous cotton-candy décor and the smarmy, leering double entendres, ‘Down with Love’ is a contrived and long-winded attempt to parody ‘Pillow Talk’…Ms. Zellweger was better suited as a bruised éclair like Roxie Hart, but as a pink and fluffy fashion victim with feminist roots that change from frame to frame, she looks like years of disco-dancing in stiletto heels are taking their toll on her dainty, arched feet…Scrawny and pasty-faced, McGregor’s no Rock, or even Tab. The effect of too many parties is self-evident. He may not be ready to exchange dance steps for 12 steps, but a copy of the Big Book and a six-pack of Diet Coke can’t be far behind." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"‘Down With Love’ is really an extended parody of the Rock Hudson/Doris Day films—‘Pillow Talk’ was the best and most famous -- but the term ‘extended parody’ describes exactly its greatest flaw: the strain of sustaining the artifice over the long haul. It's like a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch on a $60 million budget…It makes anyone with a long memory see how good an actor Rock Hudson was…he was brilliantly spontaneous, warm, sexy and magnetic in those films. McGregor doesn't hold a candle to him…As for Zellweger, she seems a little more comfortable and appears to enjoy aping the goofy stylings of the period…The truth, though, is that the twitchy Hyde Pierce steals the camera every time he's on it." --Stepehen Hunter, The Washington Post

"Peyton Reed's buoyant homage to the Hudson-Day pictures wears its affection for that bygone era on its sleeve…Every inch of every Cinemascope frame — from the zippy title credits to the geographically absurd Manhattan sets to the modular furniture to the glass martini pitchers — is designed to plunge you into a fairy-tale 1962…Mr. McGregor's wiry, wolfish energy is more like the young Sinatra than the bulky, slow-moving Hudson, but never mind. His high-flying playboy is a lithe Lothario…And if Ms. Zellweger puckers where Ms. Day might have grimaced, she manages, as Ms. Day did, to swivel engagingly between goofiness and sex appeal…‘Down With Love’ is, for the most part, intelligent and amusing, even if it never achieves the full-tilt zany desperation of Delbert Mann's ‘Lover Come Back,’ the best of the real Hudson-Day movies." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Hollywood seems to have found its new Cary Grant in McGregor, who scored as an idealized heartthrob in ‘Moulin Rouge’ and backs that with a pitch-perfect rendition of a vapid playboy rating a comeuppance. Zellweger won't remind anyone of Doris Day. She has neither Day's beauty nor her voice, though she does her Trixie Hart best in an end-credit duet with McGregor…In the spirit of the film's buoyant campiness, may I say, up with ‘Down With Love’?" --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"The world has changed a lot since the early 1960s, and integrating today's moods with the mores of that bygone era is trickier than it may seem…director Peyton Reed and his collaborators juice up the picture with a lot more overt sexiness -- or rather covert sexiness, since it's coyly conveyed by leering allusions, vulgar sight gags, and an endless supply of smarmy double entendres…Beneath its color-drenched images and vintage wide-screen cinematography lurks a flatly written script directed with a lack of gracefulness and imagination. Add a total lack of chemistry between the stars and you have a promising package that grows steadily less lovable as it goes along. Down with this movie!" --David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor

"Resurrecting a fun genre and pairing the stars of two recent popular musicals is a great idea, but ‘Down With Love’ is merely an entertaining diversion that unfortunately fails to fully live up to its promise. The problem lies with the paucity of sizzle between the romantic leads…They just don't look like they're having any fun together, particularly the bony Zellweger, who has trouble filling out the wow-worthy ensembles and perpetually looks like she's sucking on a lemon." --Megan Lehmann, The New York Post

"Blind ambition and blond ambition equal bland ambition in ‘Down With Love,’ a thoroughly misbegotten comedy. How could the filmmakers have thought that audiences needed an homage to Doris Day, the singer-actress Pauline Kael once referred to as ‘the All-American middle-aged girl,’ and to plastic super-hits like ‘Pillow Talk’ (1959) and ‘Lover Come Back’ (1961), which made Day a huge star?…The gap between the moviemakers' ambition and their wit is dizzying. It's as if they thought they were filming ‘The Importance of Being Unimportant.’" --Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun

"Director Peyton Reed gets the film's look and, in moments, its disingenuous innocence, but you have to wonder what he and the screenwriters, Eve Ahlert and Dennis Drake, thought they were parodying. The actors clearly haven't a clue. McGregor sharks around agreeably…but there's something uncertain about the performance, as if he can't find his footing…Zellweger lets her guard down better than most actresses…But she doesn't have Day's resiliency, which enabled Hudson's jokes to bounce off her so well, or that glorious way of moving across a room…Trying to send up a movie as self-consciously artificial as ‘Pillow Talk’ is like deploying a double negative: the satires cancel each other out." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times