Down to You

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Sophomore Al Connelly (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) meets the girl of his dreams, freshman Imogen (Julia Stiles), and true love abounds. The two engage on a whirlwind courtship—they pick a song based on the records from Al’s parents, eat a cake together, and even make love. Imogen’s fear of lost youth causes her to push away from Al, and they go their separate ways after Imogen cheats on Al at a party. Al attempts to rebound from the relationship, determined to forget Imogen, and he goes to desperate measures to do so, including suicide by shampoo and problems with his career. In the end, Imogen finds Al when she hears of his attempted suicide and she brings him a book cover that she illustrated featuring the two of them. The two reconcile their differences and get back together showing that love can be obtained. The story is told from the points of view of both Al and Imogen.

REVIEW:

Now this is a movie that takes me back to the simpler days when I was living in the college dorm and all I had to worry about was getting to class on-time, calling home once a month, etc. Man, I miss those days. Unfortunately, those days were not the best for my love life, either. Down to You brought back some memories, to be sure, but is this a good film or a nostalgic pleasure?

What is this about?

When an uptight upperclassman and a free-spirited undergraduate meet, they prove opposites attract in this story narrated from both points of view.

What did I like?

Development. Perhaps one of the most often criticized aspect of films is character development. It is so hard to get invested in a character when we don’t know anything about them. That’s what I like about this film. Not only do our main characters get development and backstory, but we get to see their friends develop, as well, particularly the character known as Monk (who I think would be perfect if they ever make a movie about Orson Wells).

Youth movement. Think back to the end of the 90s/beginning of the 200s. Ok, now think of how big these names were (and have become) Freddie Prinze, Jr., Julia Stiles, Rosario Dawson, Selma Blair, Jimmy Kimmel. Between then and now, all of these became big stars in their own right. Kudos to this casting director for finding such talent and putting them together in one film.

Been there, done that. I can relate to Al’s situation. In college, I flipped head over heels for a girl but, as time went on, we seemed to drift away for no good reason until I found out she was messing around with someone else. *SIGH* Oh well! I give all the credit to the screenwriters for making sure we get both sides of the story. That was a stroke of genius. So often in film, and real life, we are only privy, to one side.

What didn’t I like?

Out of Stiles. Julia Stiles is an actress that is kind of meh for me. Sometimes I’ll be a fan and other times I won’t. I guess it just depends on the character. This is not on of her better choices. I don’t know if it is her or the script, but I was getting nothing from her. At times, it felt like she was just being a bitch and at others it seemed as if she was just reading off cue cards verbatim. That brings me to my next point.

Chemistry. In She’s All That and Loser, Freddie Prinze, Jr. has at least some chemistry with Rachel Leigh Cook and Mena Suvari, respectively. With Julia Stiles, there is nothing. I think there was more chemistry between he and Zak Orth’s character. I don’t fault them for casting Stiles as she is a fine actress, but there wasn’t any heat between these two to make me believe they were in love, save for the emotions Prinze was giving us.

Side quest. Prinze and Stiles are the focal point of this picture, without a doubt. However, there are some interesting side characters that should have gotten something more than a couple of scenes. I’ve already talked about Zak Orth’s character, Monk. Selma Blair could have had more screentime dealing with her friendship with Prinze. Rosario Dawson could have had more bff/roommate screentime. Shawn Hatosy could have had more time spent on his quest to find a girlfriend, culminating in the one he finds in the club. I’m just saying.

Final verdict on Down to You? This is a film that holds a special place in my heart. While not as light and entertaining as the other films in Prinze’s trilogy, I still get some joy from watching. He said the trilogy name in an interview once, I just can’t remember it right now. There are plenty of flaws to be found in this film, but this wasn’t made to win any Academy Awards. Do I recommend it? Yes, just turn your brain off and enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars

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