Plot[ edit ] New in New York City , Barbara Novak arrives at Banner House to present her new work, Down with Love, a book the intent of which is to free women from love, teach them to enjoy sex without commitment, and to replace the need for a man with things such as chocolate.
Following her rules would, she believes, help to give women a boost in the workplace and in the world in general. The men who run Banner House refuse to support the book.
But Vikki Hiller, Barbara's editor, has an idea to promote the book, and that's for Barbara to meet Catcher Block — a successful writer for the magazine Know and a notorious "ladies' man, man's man, man about town" — but he avoids her repeatedly by postponing their dates until she gets fed up, insults him, and walks out.
Catcher's boss and best friend, Peter McMannus, and Vicky take a liking to one another. However, their relationship revolves around Barbara and Catcher, and neither is brave enough to express their feelings for the other. Peter feels overshadowed by Catcher's strong personality, and Vicky wants to see strength in her lover. She even assumes Peter must be gay. Barbara starts promoting her book with Vicky's help, and things take off when they get Judy Garland to sing the song " Down with Love " as a promotion to the book on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Sales skyrocket, as housewives and women around the world buy the book and rebel against their men; Catcher now wants to meet Barbara, but now it is she who rejects him. It all comes to a boiling point when Barbara appears on a national TV show talking about a chapter from the book — "The Worst Kind of Man" — and cites Catcher Block as the perfect example.
His date rejects him, which infuriates him. Catcher swears he will prove Barbara is the same as every other woman, wanting the same things men do. He arranges for a casual meeting at a drycleaners, taking advantage of the fact that Barbara has never met or seen him, and he poses as an astronaut, Major Zip Martin, attentive and polite.
Barbara appears to be immediately infatuated with this man who seemingly has no idea who she is, in contrast to men who now avoid her, viewing her as the enemy since the publication of her book. But he starts falling for her, and it gets harder to go through with his plan. It is his own apartment and he sets everything up to record her saying she loves him.
But then it is she who reveals the truth: She tells him she did this to be different from all the women he knew, and make him love her. They both realize that Catcher does love her, but as he is proposing, one of his many lovers appears and thanks Barbara for what she's done for womankind.
Barbara realizes that she does not want love or him as she has become a real "down with love" girl. Vicky and Peter's relationship also changes when she insults him for helping Catcher.
Peter realizes he is indeed like any other man and takes Vikki to Catcher's apartment to take things to the next level. Days later, Catcher is completely depressed; all his efforts to win Barbara back have failed. Peter is also depressed as his relationship with Vicky is now apparently based only on sex. He learns there is an opening at Now and goes for an interview with her.
There, he tells her how much she changed him, and it is obvious she wants him but turns him down anyway; he says he wished there could be a middle ground for them "somewhere between a blonde and a brunette", referring to her real persona, where she was a brunette. As he is leaving her office, he realizes she is not coming after him, but she surprises him on the elevator, showing him a bright red hair style: They fly to Las Vegas to get married, influencing Vicky and Peter, who also decide to get married.
The end credits show their marriage has resulted in a new book intended to end the battle of the sexes. The pair end by singing "Here's To Love".