In 2003, director Peyton Reed brought audiences Down with Love, a romantic comedy that is a bit of a spoof on Pillow Talk and the other sex comedies staring Doris Day and Rock Hudson. When author Barbra Novak (Renee Zellweger) writes “Down with Love,” a book that explains how women can “have sex the way a man does – ala carte” the world gets in a frenzy, and the battle of the sexes begins when magazine journalist Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor) wants to write an story exposing Barbra as a fraud, trying to prove that all women want love and marriage.
Stylistically, Down with Love is incredible! It’s filled with bright fun 60s colors, great clothes, fantastic furniture (including the Eames Womb Chair), and music! It even uses the old rear projection technique when characters are in cars. It also has a fantastic story with witty writing and entertaining characters. However, Down with Love has a few downsides. First off, the film claims it takes place in 1962, and it shows the Pan Am building of NYC, which was not completed until 1963. In an attempt to publicize her book, Barbra and her editor, Vickie (Sarah Paulson, who stared as Bunny Yeager in The Notorious Bettie Page) try to come up with a way to get her book on The Ed Sullivan Show. The result is Judy Garland singing the song “Down with Love” on the Show. But, Garland did not appear on The Ed Sullivan Show until 1966. In a scene where Catcher returns to his apartment, he turns on and turns off a Philco Predicta with a remote, however, this model did not come with a remote. Midway through the film, Barbra and Catcher are shown against a night scene of Broadway with various show signs passing by. One show is Bye Bye Birdie, which closed in 1961. Another show is Oliver! which did not open on Broadway until 1964.
One possible error is a rather interpretive one. The film seemingly takes place in spring or summer. This can be assumed because of the green foliage on the trees, as well as a scene where Barbra is sunbathing, not to mention there are two scenes taking place at a baseball field. However, Catcher makes reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which happened in October of 1962.
Overall, Down with Love is a fun “zanny sex comedy” that is worth the watch if you like both Zelleger and McGregor. It is much more a caricature of the 1960s than an accurate portrayal, but fun and entertaining nevertheless!