Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Worst of the Worst: #40, Down to You

Down to You begins the second half of my quest to watch the one hundred worst movies of the last decade, according to Rotten Tomatoes. It is a poignant tale of two mentally-challenged students at a New York college who fall in love in spite of their obvious cognitive deficiencies. Their facial expressions and reactions to other people are good facsimiles of how a highly-functioning adult may act. They speak in cliches and cheesy monologues and, while their grammar is weak at times, they somehow manage to get their point across and socialize with others. They document the ups and downs of their relationship and even though some details are glossed over, one has to be impressed with how they have overcome their massive disabilities to lead normal, if relatively empty, lives.

The characters in Down to You aren't actually mentally-challenged. They're just written that way.

Freddie Prinze, Jr., and Julia Stiles star as two college students who narrate their hit-and-miss relationship. Their narrations are delivered in some of the worst monologues ever put on screen. When they are together, they speak in some of the most stilted dialogue ever put on screen. Not only is the writing bad, but the editing and direction are also very weak. Dialogue consists of a series of back-and-forth close-ups that don't last the right amount of time. Scenes end a second or two too late. To add to the other problems, the acting is pretty awful. Even with recognizable co-stars such as Rosario Dawson, Ashton Kutcher, and Selma Blair, I couldn't believe what I was seeing on the screen. Not even Henry Winkler can save the movie. Not even Henry Winkler!

All of this adds to the movie being funny bad. Actually, it's not just funny bad, it's possibly the funniest-baddest movie I've seen on the list to date. I laughed and laughed out loud as I watched the crap unfold. I yelled at the screen. I asked questions out loud about things that didn't make sense (for instance, Freddie Prinze tries to kill himself by drinking shampoo in his studio apartment where he lives alone, but ambulances come to get him immediately). In short, I just had a lot of freaking fun watching this movie.

Writer/director Kris Isacsson made his feature film debut with this one and has gone on to direct only direct-to-TV movies afterwards (including Husband for Hire, which had the scene of Mario Lopez dancing shirtless that was played so often on The Soup). He should be lauded for taking a movie that could have been simply inane or boring and turning it into a film that screams of schadenfreude-laden entertainment. Whether you like nonsensical side plots regarding budding porn actors or mullets or you like romantic scenes that are so creepy that they are legally prohibited from handing out candy on Halloween or you just plain enjoy seeing Freddie Prinze and Julia Stiles unload fake facial expression after fake facial expression, there is something for you in this movie. Down to You, a movie with a title that makes absolutely no sense until you hear some random song during the end credits. Such an abject failure that I am seriously considering buying it on DVD. Bravo, Mr. Isacsson. Bravo.

No comments: