(Down With Love &
Reviewed by Dennis Morton
With Love" is set in Manhattan, 1962. It stars the always
likeable Renee Zellwegger and the chameleon Scots actor, Ewan
McGregor. This film bogs down almost at the beginning and never
recovers. "Down With Love" is a fastidious exercise
in phony nostalgia, a pair of negatives that doesnt add
up to the real thing.
In the opening moments of this ponderous would-be satire, an
impossible number of geekily dressed young people tumble out
of a taxi. Theyre holding "Ban The Bomb" signs
and chanting slogans as the taxi pulls away. The taxi backfires
and they dive to the sidewalk. Other New Yorkers walk around
them, unblinking and unfazed. The implication is that these
dowdy protesters are cowards.
Later, were treated to an intentionally clumsy split-screen
simulation of oral sex between the two stars. Theyre talking,
more or less innocently, on the phone. Its really the
director winking at the audience. I couldnt wink back.
"Down With Love" is flat, stale, and unworthy of Zellweggers
talents. McEwan is miscast as a clever ladys man, a role
hes not yet suited for. We know his characters comeuppance
is coming, and we hardly care.
There are a few good moments. The best is a tour de force long
speech by Zellweggers character. Its cleverly written
and breath-takingly delivered. If only it werent sandwiched
by so much tasteless baloney, this scene alone would be worth
the cost of admission. Alas, even accompanied by a terrific
song and dance routine by the two stars at the close of the
movie, my assessment of this mediocrity is: down with "Down
"Bruce Almighty" is a bit better. Its pretty
much a vehicle for Jim Careys inimitable antics. Theres
a promising story line, but once the gimmick is introduced,
there are few surprises. The movie grinds to a more or less
predictable ending, losing pace along the way. However, any
movie in which Morgan Freeman gets more than a few lines is
worth seeing, just for the pleasure of watching him act.
As the previews too readily reveal, Morgan Freeman is God and
Jim Carey is an egomaniacal features reporter for a tv station
in the provinces - Buffalo, to be exact. Careys character
is an ambitious whiner, with a victim complex. On the chance
that we might be treated to a funny movie, God decides to take
a vacation and leave Carey in charge of the universe, which
is, for Carey, Buffalo.
There are a few truly hilarious scenes. The best involves an
act of supreme unkindness for which someone, guess who, will
pay a price.
Ultimately, I was disappointed with "Bruce Almighty".
The writing is sharper and the scenes are funnier that most
of what can be found in "Down With Love", but Jim
Carey, like the character he plays in "Bruce Almighty"
can, and has, done better. Morgan Freeman, as ever, is a delight.
If you have to choose between them, see "Bruce Almighty".
For KUSPs Film Gang, this is Dennis Morton.