Down With Love

As I have mentioned before, I got my love of movies from my mother.  She would take me to many an afternoon matinée just to escape from the world for a little while.  Given that she was paying, we usually saw what she wanted to see.  In 1985, we discovered the joy of renting a VCR at the Curtis-Mathes store downtown.  It was then that my movie education grew exponentially.  My parents enjoyed reliving their dating and early marriage years of the 60s by watching the movies they loved on VCR.  You have to remember that in 1985, cable only had about 20 channels and only one HBO/Cinemax/Showtime.  Well, because I wanted to watch movies too, I ended up seeing and enjoying many of the ones they brought home.  One genre my mother especially loved was the wacky, romantic comedy fluff that was made then — you know: the ones with Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Cary Grant…

Fast Forward to 2003.

Fresh off of Moulin Rouge and Star Wars:Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Ewan MacGregor teams up with Renee Zellweger, fresh off of Chicago and Bridget Jones’s Diary.  They come together in a movie meant as an homage to those wacky, romantic/sex comedies that I referred to earlier; in particular, the movie, Pillow Talk (starring Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and Tony Randall), was the inspiration for the plot line.  Ewan plays the Rock character, with David Hyde Pierce playing the Tony Randall part.  Sarah Paulson adds some fun as Renee’s best friend.

What really works for this movie is the casting.  Far too little is ever said about the casting.  These four actors genuinely like each other and are obviously having fun with the roles.  That fun translates to big payoffs with the scripted jokes and great site gags.  I love the use of Tony Randall (his last screen appearance before his death) –it serves as a visual reminder of how much David Hyde Pierce is like him in all of his acting.  Florence Stanley also made her last appearance on film before her death.

The story is simple and the jokes require no “insider” knowledge.  This is truly a movie that can stand up to repeated viewings.  It is your typical boy-meets-girl story that we never grow tired of.

The DVD has the following features:

  • 5.1 Dolby
  • Widescreen
  • several making of featurettes
  • audio commentary
  • deleted scenes
  • a funny blooper/gag reel
  • video of the song Ewan and Renee did over the closing credits
  • casting trials

My advice: Grab this one for a night in with your sweetheart — you won’t go wrong.

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