Peyton Reed, Director of the extremely overrated "BRING IT ON", has gone out of the way in his attempt to emulate the Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedies of yesteryear, with "DOWN WITH LOVE". Renee Zellweger stars as novelist Barbara Novak, whose last book, "DOWN WITH LOVE" threatens to turn the tables on male dominance and the day-to-day status of women as being wholly dependent upon the hopes of "catching" a man for their long term needs. She's caught the eye of major womanizer/writer, "Catcher" Block(yes, that's his name!), someone determined to set to keep the previous status quo safe, by seducing her while disguised.
Reed has achieved giving "DOWN WITH LOVE" a vibrant, colorful look, and the entire production design is incredible. Costumes, the delivery of lines, everything feels like the kind of era Reed has wanted to create. Unfortunately, however, there's noticeably less depth here than in "any" of those Hudson/Day films, so much so, that "those" films appear to have the depth of Tolstoy in comparison to what's here!
The acting is fine, but uninspired. The main characters give performances that are less interesting than that of the supporting players, and by the way, why so little of Jeri Ryan. Even in her too brief role, a stewardess, she stands out above the rest.
FOX has presented both a widescreen dvd as well as a pan&scan version. The letterboxed route is the only way to go. It preserves the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are rich and vibrant in every scene, perfectly complimenting the (over-powering, at times) production design. Contrast is flawless, with deep blacks and grays. Fleshtones appear natural.
FOX has presented a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. There is continually impressive separation in the front soundstage, but surrounds are generally restrained, save for an effect here and there. The surrounds are used mostly to boost the film's bigger-than-life, pleasant atmosphere. Fidelity is terrific, and dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
A lot of extras have been added here. Reed provides a running commentary, providing extensive detail about preparations for the film's overall look, but it also demonstrates how clueless he is to equally important aspects of filmmaking, theme and much more!
A deleted scenes section offers five cut moments, but only one is questionably worth having kept. There are also various featurettes(more about costumes, hair,etc)
An HBO "Behind-the-Scenes" special focuses on,...guess what? More about the film's design,etc.
There's more than enough here to recommend it to any fans of the film, and Die-hard Hudson/Day fans will probably still find some pleasure, however they should first spend their money on the Hudson/Day films already available on dvd.