Down To You

on January 21, 2000 by Michael Tunison
   Life is looking awfully good for rich, handsome college senior Alfred Connelly (Freddie Prinze Jr.). His dream of becoming a chef is fully supported by his understanding father, the star of a popular cooking TV show (Henry Winkler, a.k.a. "The Fonz"--dads don't come much cooler than that!). When Alfred falls for an equally attractive and affluent artist named Imogen (Julia Stiles), life gets so sickeningly perfect that one begins to wonder when, if ever, "Down To You" writer-director Kris Isacsson intends to inject a dramatic conflict into his tepid young-love story.
   In fact, it takes Isacsson over half the film's running length--almost an hour--before the first major storm cloud appears on the horizon of Alfred and Imogen's fairy-tale existence. By this time, viewers over the mental age of 15 will be ready to strangle the first impeccably dressed urban twentysomething they see after leaving the theatre. When the lovers finally do find a reason to fight, the film takes a turn into hand-wringing melodrama from which it never recovers.
   Prinze is a natural charmer on-screen, but there's little he or the somewhat less confident Stiles ("10 Things I Hate About You") can do with the poorly conceived material. Isacsson's earnest emphasis on the serious side of relationships suggests the filmmaker is shooting for something more substantial than the standard intelligence-insulting teen date flick, but the results are no more engaging than a cynically dumbed-down effort like Prinze's 1999 hit "She's All That." For all its good intentions, watching "Down To You" is about as much fun as playing the third wheel on a loving couple's special evening--the sweeter the talk gets, the more you wish you were somewhere else. Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Julia Stiles, Henry Winkler and Lucie Arnaz. Directed and written by Kris Isacsson. Produced by Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente. A Miramax release. Romance. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content, language, drug and alcohol use. 91 min
Tags: Freddie Prinze Jr., Julia Stiles, Henry Winkler, Lucie Arnaz, Kris Isacsson, romance, fairy tale, princess, meoldrama, college, artist

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