Directed by Peyton Reed, starring Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce, Peter Spruyt, Sarah Paulson, Tony Randall and Melissa George.
A pastiche of Sixties romantic comedy movies like 'Pillow Talk' and 'The Thrill of it All', 'Down With Love' is a fun and candy-coloured caper in the big smoke with Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor playing the roles that were practically trademarked by Doris Day and Rock Hudson.
It's New York City, 1962 and Barbara Novak (Zellweger) steps out of Grand Central Station in a pink boucle jacket and dress, perfectly co-ordinated with matching shoes, hat and bag. She's on her way to meet her editor Vikki Hiller (Paulson) and publicise her forthcoming book, a pre-feminist treatise called 'Down With Love'.
A revolutionary who delivers her message with a considerable amount of eyelash batting, Barbara believes that women can be just as successful as men by forgetting about love, eating lots of chocolate and having no-strings-attached sex "à la carte". Despite the elderly, fussy gentlemen of the publishing house trying to bury the book, 'Down With Love' is an overnight sensation with women all around the world.
Meanwhile, Peter MacMannus, (a very Niles-ish Pierce), the publisher of Know magazine "for men in the know" wants his star reporter, playboy Catcher Block (McGregor), to write an article on Barbara because he is trying to date her boss Vikki. Catcher blows her off but, when Barbara's book has his girlfriends saying "down with love", he determines to expose her and make her fall in love with him.
In romantic comedy there's only one way this battle of the sexes can play out, but there's more than enough to look at in 'Down With Love' while it gets to the happy-ever-after ending. The glamorous costumes and fabulous sets lovingly recreate those matinee classics and the use of split screens, stock footage and music drag you even further into a colour-saturated faux-retro world.
Ewan McGregor is note-perfect as the clean-shaven "ladies man, man's man, man about town" Catcher Block, a hip womanising reprobate and, naturally, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He's a cross between Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis - and there's a nod to 'Some Like it Hot' when he poses as a naive Texan astronaut, complete with fake cheesy accent. Renée Zellweger pouts and poses with equanimity and, although her final duet with McGregor (on a song called - what else - 'Down With Love') will send you home singing, in a pre-date scene she proves once again that she's no dancer.
Although there are a few near-'Austin Powers' spoof moments, 'Down With Love' is an unashamed and contemporary version of the Sixties romantic comedy genre. It's a fun, fresh and frothy frolic - simply divine.