Saturday, February 03, 2007

When I first watched Down with Love a few years ago, I found myself unexpectedly liking it a lot in spite of the somewhat convoluted plot twist 2/3s of the way through the movie. At the time, I couldn't figure out if it was because the movie was really good, or if it was because I liked Ewan MacGregor as well as the jazzy soundtrack.

Having watched the final half-hour of the movie on Channel 5 earlier, I decided that while the plot twist still irritates me (in fact, it irritates me more than it did the first time round), I still liked the movie. Renee Zellweger does a decent enough job as Barbara Novak, the feminist author who advocates going into the dating game just like men do, and munching chocolate as a substitute for love, while Ewan MacGregor turns in an incredibly good performance as Catcher Block, playboy extraordinaire, who disguises himself as mild-mannered and incredibly gentlemanly Zip Martin, recently returned astronaut, and later on as a reformed playboy.

Catcher's last incarnation is the one I find the hottest. Ewan MacGregor manages to imbue Catcher with the sincerity and honesty of a man who really has endeavoured to change for the better, while at the same time retaining a roguish glint in his eyes which makes him even more desirable and sexy than when he's being a real playboy.

This is best illustrated in the interview scene with Barbara towards the end of show. Catcher applies for the position of Barbara's secretary as Barbara has refused all of his other efforts to contact her.
Barbara: Have a candy bar for your trouble, and thanks again for thinking of us.
Catcher: But I'm always thinking of you, Miss Novak. I can't stop thinking of you, and I'd like you to reconsider considering me.
B.: Even at a pay cut of 96.6%?
C.: It's only money. Besides, I've been on top so long I thought it might be nice to try a new position.
B.: And you think you could be comfortable in a position under a woman?
C.: I look forward to it. Starting at the bottom, working my way up slowly to the top. (C. unwraps a bar of chocolate and slowly starts to eat it. B. smashes a bar of chocolate against her desk and immediately pops a piece into her mouth and chomps furiously.)
It plays a lot better than when it's written down so go check that scene out here.

On an aside, when Barbara tells Catcher that she has finally become a 'Down with Love girl level 3' and that "I don't want love, and I don't want you," I found myself sighing inwardly and thinking, "Man, I really wish I could get to that stage." Of course, given my earlier post, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out why I'm feeling that way.

Unexpected bonus find on YouTube: Down with Love bloopers!

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