Down to You

Directed by Kris Isacsson
Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr., Julia Stiles, Shawn Hatosy, Zak Orth, Henry Winkler.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content, language, drug and alcohol use.

Review by Matt Heffernan
January 23, 2000

Last January, Freddie Prinze Jr. had a surprise hit with the high school romantic comedy She's All That. Miramax, whose reputation for quality films has almost vanished, is going the route of the big studios by rehashing the same idea. This time, he's in college -- and they don't try to disguise the beauty of his co-star. Somebody needs to give Bob and Harvey Weinstein a "time out" before they completely destroy their film company.

Prinze's persona takes the name of Zach Siler, a student at a school in midtown Manhattan (Fordham, presumably, but the name of the university is never mentioned). In his sophomore year, he meets freshman Imogen (Julia Stiles) and they start going out. He wants to be a chef, like his father: TV's Chef Ray (Henry Winkler). She wants to be an artist, designing album and book covers. Best of all: they look absolutely adorable together.

Zach's friend, Monk (Zak Orth), has a budding career in the "adult film" business. After losing a bet, Zach has to be an extra in Monk's latest epic, two weeks before Imogen goes to France for the Summer. Even though he's only on the set shortly, and comes back to her that night (with still 13 days before she leaves), their relationship never recovers. When she returns, they drift apart. Zach tries to date, even after he graduates, but he can never forget his true love.

Oh yeah, and that's pretty much the whole film, but nothing more than what you get from the misleading trailer. Again, there is no point in actually watching this film. It's a romantic comedy that is completely flat. What little charm it shows in the beginning has fully dissipated after 45 minutes. Then it starts to drag severely, making it one of the longest 90-minute films I have ever seen.

I think it's the whole idea of the film that upsets me. How is anybody supposed to get involved with characters who have plenty of looks, money, and free time for sex in college? A really interesting film could have been made about Monk, who thinks he's Orson Welles (and kind of looks like him, too). He was the only interesting character in an otherwise dead-on-arrival story.

Then again, I'm not a teenage girl. Maybe they still have an appetite for a second-rate 90210 episode on the big screen. The filmmakers were very careful to squeeze Down to You into a PG-13 rating, which they are hoping will pay off. If I were on the MPAA board, I would have slapped it with an R, killing its chances of ever being seen. Miramax better start shaping up, before they lose all respect from me and everybody else.

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Down to You (2000)

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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan