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Down to You (2000, Julia Stiles, Ashton Kutcher)

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Stiles’ Law – that she must appear in every superior romcom of the last five years – applies here, showing her talent in elevating familiar material into superior entertainment.

In late 90s New York, freshman Al (Freddie Prinze Jr) meets Imogen (Julia Stiles), and they begin a relationship. But it is soon interrupted by her family’s annual trip to France, which cools their feelings and makes Imogen’s return an anti-climax. To enliven her life she confesses her recent unfaithfulness and he ends their affair. Imogen moves to San Francisco, while Al graduates and becomes a chef. Unable to mend his broken heart, he makes a dramatic gesture which – one way or the other – will allow him to forget…

At a time when late 30s love (personified by High Fidelity ) was chic, Kris Isacsson’s debut feature for FilmFour pulled one back for the Biactol generation. The writer-director builds a momentum which soon becomes irrepressible, using pop video techniques to compress the story and maintain interest.

The characters are substantial and the dialogue rich, giving room for the leads to build a chemistry that convinces. Prinze Jr makes Al an everyday Romeo whose beauty stems form his normalcy. Stiles, by far the stronger of the pair, gives Imogen a gutsy rebel streak, which provides further evidence of the film’s intentions to shake up convention and provide new ways of approaching a well-worn path.

production details
USA | 91 minutes | 2000

Writer and Director: Kris Isacsson

cast
Zak Orth as Monk Jablonski
Ashton Kutcher as Jim Morrison
Julia Stiles as Imogen
Selma Blair as Cyrus
Henry Winkler as Chef Ray
Freddie Prinze Jr. as Alfred ‘Al’ Connelly
Shawn Hatosy as Eddie Hicks
Rosario Dawson as Lana
Lucie Arnaz as Judy Connelly
Lauren German as Lovestruck Woman
Zay Harding as Lovestruck Man

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