Down to You (2000)
Stiles finds Prinze Charming
It's not the meaning of life, Alfred, it's the feeling of life - Monk
The first time I watched "Down to You" was a wet Saturday afternoon in 2005 and at the time I enjoyed it, I liked the pairing of Freddy Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles and also liked the whole look and the music which filled "Down to You". But now just 5 years after that first watch my feelings towards "Down to You" are not so good. Oh it is sweet and charming in places and the pairing of Freddy Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles still works in an obvious beautiful way but I found myself bored, longing for the credits to arrive.
Whilst out having drinks with his friends, Sophomore Al Connelly (Freddy Prinze Jr. - She's All That) meets the girl of his dreams, freshman Imogen (Julia Stiles - 10 Things I Hate About You). Soon they become romantically involved and their first year together is one long honeymoon as they enjoy all that is great about young love. But after a summer in France, Imogen returns and their relationship goes past the honeymoon period as it becomes serious, something which makes it more turbulent and troubled as they want different things and have to deal with reality.
So "Down to You" wants to be a clever romantic comedy made for teenagers and taking them through the ups and downs of first love set against a college back drop. So whilst we watch Al and Imogen go through various romantic complications we get a peppering of college humour as one room mate desperately fails to find love as he continually reinvents himself. And to be honest there is not a moment of originality in this obvious storyline. Yes the way we watch Al and Imogen fall for each other, go through the honeymoon period and then go through the troubles which comes as romance settles down is in a way nice, because it shows that love is not just a bed of roses but every bit of this storyline is too obvious and so unfortunately is the ending.
But being a romantic comedy it does have some nice moments and the witty dialogue about being a couple such as keeping their faces apart during morning sex because of morning breath is amusing in its realism. And there are some other gloriously funny moments which makes light of the reality of young love often accompanied by a memorable song. But the trouble is that whilst "Down to You" has some amusing scenes there are just as many if not more that try to be funny but end up falling flat on their face. Elements such as one of Al's friend's exploration into becoming an actor or Al's father and his cooking show just fail to really make you laugh. Although Henry Winkler as Al's father Ray makes some of these poor jokes amusing, funnier than in reality they should be.
The big selling point for "Down to You" is the pairing of Freddy Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles who as a couple win you over. Yes they are both good looking but the cuteness of their new romance is what attracts you to them and as such when the honeymoon period is over and the troubles start to happen you can't but help hope they sort them out. But the trouble is that whilst Freddy Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles make a cute couple their characters are generic and not that interesting. And that is something you can say about all the characters from Selma Blair as sexy seductress Cyrus through to Ashton Kutcher as a college drop out called Jim Morrison. As such yes you watch because Al and Imogen are cute but you are not overly interested in them as actual people.
What this all boils down to is that "Down to You" is mildly entertaining and mildly amusing but in the big sea of romantic comedies it is not even mildly memorable. The storyline lacks anything new and although I quite liked that it took us through the ups and downs of young love it was less than subtle in doing so. And this means that "Down to You" relies heavily of the pairing of Freddy Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles to keep you interested and whilst they make an appealing couple their characters are in fact rather dull.
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