DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Down With Love
Down With Love
Fox // PG-13 // October 7, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted October 1, 2003 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:


Not exactly successful "counter-programming" to "The Matrix Reloaded", "Down With Love" was - to no one's suprise - lost in the shadow of the massive film it shared the same release week with. "Down With Love" certainly isn't without its charms, however, and certainly deserved more of a chance to seek out an audience.

Director Peyton Reed ("Bring It On")'s spoof of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson 50's/60's films stars Ewan McGregor as Catcher Block, a ladie's man/writer at a men's magazine. Catcher's fiercely neurotic editor Peter (David Hyde Pierce, who steals the show) arranges for an interview with newly popular feminist self-help author Barbara Novak (Zellweger). Missed connections and feminine distractions later, Catcher finds himself under fire from Novak.

When the book becomes an enormous worldwide hit, Catcher tries to reschedule the interview, but he'd missed it a few times too many. So, with new determination to prove that Novak's desire to have women treat sex like men do and not focus on "marriage" is a fraud, he creates - since the two never met, she won't know - "Major Zip Martin", an astronaut who falls for Novak.

"Down With Love" certainly creates an accurate representation of the films of the period. Costume design, set design and even more subtle details are accurate down to the last detail, which is surprising, given the film's rather minor budget. On the other hand, Marc Shaiman's bouncy score may be an accurate representation of the kind of compositions that backed films of the time, but it's a little too wink-wink, nudge-nudge at times for its own good.

That statement could extend to the film's humor, as well. Although McGregor and Hyde Pierce get the timing down perfectly, some of the film's jokes - mostly the sexual jokes - are anything but subtle. The film's ending is just a little absurd, too. The cast largely makes "Down" work, though: McGregor is fast and funny as Catcher and creates an amusingly naive and mild-mannered character in Zip. Zellweger is cute and light, but only occasionally hits her lines with the kind of snap the rest of the actors do. Hyde Pierce's editor steals the show from both, delivering the lines with an inspired, near-brilliant sense of timing and bewilderment.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Down With Love" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is generally a fine transfer, but there's certainly some concerns present. First is the picture's brightness level - the film seems a tad bit darker than I remember it appearing theatrically. Not majorly, but enough so that I almost instantly noticed something was up - or, in this case, down. Sharpness and detail are just okay; the picture likely was intended to have a slight touch of softness and does so once again here.

Flaws were scattered throughout, but never became terribly distracting. Some very light edge enhancement was present in a couple of scenes, while a trace or two of pixelation appeared. No specks or marks were seen on the print used though, which was a positive. The film's vivid color palette was nicely rendered, appearing well-saturated and clean.

SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack fares a little better. Marc Shaiman's score gets a considerable amount of reinforcement from the surrounds and immerses the viewer. Despite it being a comedy - and a period one, at that - the surrounds also get a decent amount of use for various sound effects and ambience. Audio quality is fine, as the score and dialogue sound clean and clear.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Peyton Reed, who previously recorded a very good commentary for "Bring It On", his debut. His track for "Down" is quite similar - Reed is able to keep the discussion fast and fun, including a strong mix of both entertaining stories from the set and production details that are valuable. Reed manages to sound very prepared, but certainly doesn't sound as if he's reading from notes. Reed does a remarkable job recalling specific details about how the look of the film was created, from the cinematography to the backdrops to the set design to casting.

Also: 5 deleted scenes, with commentary from director Peyton Reed; hair and wardrobe tests, blooper reel (one of the funniest blooper reels I've seen in a while), six featurettes ("On Location", "Creating the World Of Down With Love", "The Costumes of Down With Love", "Swingin' Sounds of Down With Love", "Up With Tony Randall", "Split Decisions"), HBO Special, music promo, "testimonial" and talk show clip and musical number from the film presented alone. No trailers, however.

Final Thoughts: "Down With Love" is fun, light and features fine performances. It sometimes tries too hard or doesn't try hard enough, but the humor hits the mark fairly often and the portrayal of films of the era is impressive. Fox's DVD offers average video and good audio quality, along with a few solid supplements. A recommended rental.

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. Endless Night
2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (4K Ultra HD)
3. Max and the Junkmen
4. Uncut Gems
5. The Point
6. Ten Commandments Digibook
7. Richard Jewell
8. Sonic the Hedgehog (Digital Preview)
9. Boyz N the Hood (4K Ultra HD)
10. The Wizard (Collector's Edition)


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2020 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use