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Movie Review

This romantic comedy, told mostly in flashback by broken-up lovers Al and Imogen, tries to be a Gen-X When Harry Met Sally. It's a reflective look at a young couple's relational evolution from their first encounter and head-over-heels infatuation, through various ups and downs, to their eventual split and inevitable reunion. One night in a bar, Al and his hormonal buddy, Eddie, are challenged by a friend to bed down randomly selected "cuties." The one chosen for Al is a coed named Imogen. They don't sleep together right away. Instead, Al and Imogen develop a truly romantic attraction and fast friendship. Before long, they're sharing lots of personal history, cake, alcohol and, yes, premarital sex.

Positive Elements: A self-absorbed friend humbly apologizes to Al for not being the listening ear he needed during an Imogen crisis. Al and his TV-personality dad share a good relationship built around a mutual love of the culinary arts. Dad reminds Al that romantic love takes work. Furthermore, Al's parents seem to genuinely enjoy and respect each other.

Spiritual Content: No comment on organized religion, but the hedonistic, morally bankrupt Monk states, "It's not the meaning of life; it's the feeling of life."

Sexual Content: This and alcohol use are the film's biggest problems. Many of Down to You's college-age characters are little more than rutting animals. Eddie gets physical with a girl literally moments after introducing himself to her. He also describes several recent sexual encounters, including one with a 60-year-old woman. The cynical Monk, who produces and stars in porn movies, is the worldly mentor of the group who derides sweet-spirited romance in favor of casual flings. He offhandedly relates that he lost his virginity in high school. Al and Imogen wait a couple of months before they have sex (which the screenwriters treat as a demonstration of deep respect and restraint), but then put their libidos in overdrive by moving in together and sharing what they disrespectfully refer to as "the honeymoon days." Still, the very thought of marriage freaks them both out. As the new wears off and passions fade a bit, there's talk of the couple needing to "spice up" their sex life. When Imogen fears she may be pregnant, the pair share a moment of panic, but experience no moral reflection or regret. Later, Imogen has a one-night stand with a Jim Morrison wannabe, which drives Al into the arms of Cyrus, a nymphomaniac with a thing for making out in public. A daydream finds Al being interviewed on the crass Comedy Central TV program The Man Show where one of the hosts asks him, "You're bi[sexual], but you eventually want to be gay?"

Violent Content: Al and Imogen suffer cuts and bruises when their car hits a tree.

Crude or Profane Language: More than a dozen inappropriate expressions include one f-word and a shot of Al flipping his roommate an angry middle finger. There are also frank sexual conversations.

Drug and Alcohol Content: Girls prepare for a serious pot-smoking session. A boy looks like and even calls himself Jim Morrison, apparently modeling his life after the '60s rocker known for his stoner image. Characters also puff cigarettes and drink alcohol like it's going out of style. Beer. Wine. Shots. The friends party whenever possible and frequent a particular bar known for not checking ID.

Other Negative Elements: Eddie is shown getting his nipple pierced.

Summary: Down to You shamelessly panders to immoral adolescent passions. Yet it tries to be sweet, inspired and romantic at the same time. Think Nora Ephron meets MTV. Much of this film would still be objectionable even if its stars were over 30, but to see Prinze and Stiles playing grown-up by sharing a bed and consuming alcohol sends a particularly dangerous message to young fans. Is that what it means to be an adult? Teens who take cues from these attractive young stars do so at their peril. Even the final scene sugar-coats reality by ignoring the couple's problems in the interest of a quick, tight, "happy ending." Al and Imogen conveniently reunite just before the credits roll, but one can't help but think that their fresh start should begin with counseling. Down to You isn't dark or brooding, but its few sweet, inspired moments (including Chef Ray pitching Al on a father-son cooking show modeled after C.O.P.S.) can't save scene after scene of teenage drinking and sexual promiscuity. Thumbs Down.

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Freddie Prinze Jr. as Al Connelly; Julia Stiles as Imogen; Selma Blair as Cyrus; Shawn Hatosy as Eddie; Zak Orth as Monk; Henry Winkler as "Chef Ray" Connelly; Lucie Arnaz as Judy Connelly


Kris Isacsson ( )


Miramax Films



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Bob Smithouser

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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