Down to You

dir-scr Kris Isacsson
with Freddie Prinze Jr, Julia Stiles, Shawn Hatosy, Zak Orth, Selma Blair, Henry Winkler, Lucie Arnaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rosario Dawson, Amanda Barfield, Jed Rhein, Chloe Hunter
Miramax 00/US 1 out of 5 stars


Review by Rich Cline
Despite desperate attempts to be more grown up than the usual film of this genre, Down to You is, in the end, yet another teen romance ... set in college, so they're very late teens (as if that makes a difference). But that's not the real problem here. The problem is the script, which simply doesn't work at all, and reduces the characters to lumpen, uninteresting blobs, despite the handsome cast.

Al (Prinze) is a likeable young man, moping his way through university because he doesn't want to disappoint his TV chef father (Winkler) with the news that he doesn't want to become a TV producer after all. No, he wants to be a chef! Then he meets the lovely freshman artist Imogen (Stiles), and they begin a sweet romance, which then of course goes through a few serious bumps.

Ho hum. The story does have some promise, but the screenplay flattens any chance for real romance or humour with its leaden approach to the material--everything is contrived out of existence. Even the small scenes are flatly unbelievable in the way they're written, designed and directed. And the straight-to-camera narration scenes are simply awful (you need a very clever script to carry this off). Thankfully, the cast is watchable, although Prinze and Stiles are given little to do with their bland characters, and the only life in the film is provided by their friends (the desperate Hatosy, vampish Blair, Welles-esque Orth). But Winkler and Arnaz are sadly wasted as Al's parents. And frankly, I can't think of a single sequence that was plausible in any way, so Prinze/Stiles fans who must see this film should disengage their powers of discernment and logic before entering the cinema. You've been warned.

[12--themes, language, innuendo] 15.May.00
US release 21.Jan.00; UK release 19.May.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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