|For men, romantic comedies are like a fee at the ATM of sex. That's because "romantic" means the ending is obvious and "comedy" is a damn dirty lie.
Well, Down With Love is that little ATM way out in a cornfield that can charge anything. You'll start to think maybe you don't need cash so badly. Maybe you could live on one of those communes where everything is free. Say, if you didn't think about currency all the time you could finish that novel and live deliberately in the woods with the sparrows and ticks.
No nudity. 90 minutes of sitcom antics. Visually, the gayest movie ever made---gayer than Chicago, gayer than Philadelphia. You're warned.
Now that the men are clued in, the rest of this review is for the ladies. Ladies, you want to see Down With Love, that's cool, that's cool. We want you to be happy. But how's about we have a little Q. and A. with a lady just like you. She just saw it and can tell you what's what.
Q: As a guide, which romantic comedies have you liked and disliked?
A: I liked Bridget Jones's Diary and A Life Less Ordinary (which I thought bade well for DWL stars Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor), I did not like You've Got Mail.
Q: Down With Love is an homage to some obscure breed of '60s sex comedy. How do you feel about this genre that was forgotten long before you were born?
A: I feel like I bought a pig in a fucking poke. It's like they launched a nostalgia campaign for bubonic plague and hoodwinked the modern public into thinking they missed the most magically infectious era ever. I was given the opportunity to be contaminated by a tribute to the plague, not quite the real thing, but with life-like robot rats that really bite. Just like this movie.
Q: Is Ewan McGregor a hunk? Or did you spend every second staring at that nasty mole on his forehead, wondering if he was going to sprout ten arms and become Kali, Destroyer of Worlds?
A: This is difficult. Is he a hunk? Not really, but he is attractive. Did I stare at the mole? Yes, but I didn't find it repugnant. I thought of it as a little flaw that made him appear attainable. Unfortunately, thanks to the overhyped split-screen scene, if he called me up for a date now I'd picture him contorting through a series of improbable exercises and stretches so that it appeared that I was sucking his dick. What sort of loser phones a woman and then frenetically wriggles around on the ground? Watching the actors leap into different suggestive positions was more stressful than sexual.
Q: They talk a good game but there's no sex or nudity in this movie, just Renée Zellweger's pale, lanky shins. Why?
A: The closing credits song and dance, which most people will miss when they race to the exits, is supposed to be the sex act interrupted intermittently by drinking and footwork. It's a cheery little number and after the dullness of the movie it is a testimony to sex: people will be insufferably tense and boring until they get properly laid. What's weird is they don't even show the wedding, which is the money shot in modern romantic comedies. I think in a sex comedy "marry" must be code for "screw constantly."
Q: Were you afraid when the first SNL cast member showed up? The second one? They're like dead canaries in the comedy mine.
A: Rachel Dratch scares me in all situations.
Q: Was it funny? Did you laugh out loud?
A: I snickered. Twice.
Q: Did you want the main characters to get together? Or, not to put words in your mouth, but did you maybe, say, want them to die?
A: They didn't make any decent plea for their lives. There weren't even throwaway scenes where the characters appear kind. Neither one tenderly rehabilitates a wounded squirrel with a series of pulleys and slings. I guess they had too many unfunny hi-jinks to squeeze in.
Q: This is crazy, but.... All the other reviewers loved Down With Love, but you tore it up, and with such moxie! Say, how'd you like to hate some more movies---together?
A: Okay, but if I get bored, how about we get "married" in the projection booth?