Down to You (2000)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Jan 21, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Voice-overs are the bane of many a movie, but few romantic comedies (save perhaps Love & Sex, another 2000 date movie that turned out to be a dud) sport narration as loathsomely self-conscious, hackneyed, and cloying as this misfire starring She's All That heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr. Novice writer/director Kris Isacsson falls back on a plethora of tired narrative devices to give this tale of first-time love the sense of gravity that the utterly banal plot and characters otherwise can't generate. It's obvious there's something deeply wrong here when the very first moments of the movie depict Prinze sagely announcing, "First love -- we've all been through it. It can really take ahold of you -- make you do some pretty crazy things." What, like address the audience directly, intone truisms with utter conviction, and star in a film that mixes the worst elements of American Pie, Cruel Intentions, and Sleepless in Seattle? Female lead Julia Stiles doesn't fare much better as she's forced to portray a precociously wry, terribly privileged, awfully artsy teen; appear in her co-star's dream sequences; and mouth lines like "When I saw him in the courtyard, I knew I had to throw away all the rules." Only a pampered upper middle-class New Yorker would think mock psychoanalysis makes for a cute first date, but those are the sort of "romantic" scenarios that populate this affectedly cute little film. In fact, the best moments, at least early on, are those that directly ape the gross-out comedies of the past few years. There's a subplot involving a porn star best friend and another involving a lunkhead suffering from homosexual panic that generate far more laughs than anything that happens between the genial but wasted leads. The supporting cast is full of respectable talent, from Henry Winkler to Rosario Dawson, but none get enough screen time or decent material to remove the sour taste of curdled clich├ęs.