How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
What's worse? A movie
that stinks through and through, or a movie that shows some genuine promise
and fails to live up to it? How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days was a
big disappointment to me, mostly because for a good amount of the screen
time, I actually really enjoyed it.
The film starts with a kind of ridiculous
premise, it's one of those Hollywood films where two beautiful people meet
because of an outside bet... the kind that no one ever makes other than in
these films. Kate Hudson plays Andie, a beautiful and
talented writer who works writing stories about cellulite and hair at a
vapid women's magazine called Composure (any similarities to
Cosmopolitan are strictly intentional), but she really wants to write
serious political pieces. Instead she gets stuck
writing an article about the things women do to frighten men off.
The idea is, she has
to meet a guy, charm him, and then pile on all the things that women do to
sabotage their relationships. This movie raises the stakes by having
not one, but both of them involved in a contests. (Doesn't anybody just meet
and want to date without an ulterior motive in the movies anymore?)
Matthew McConaughey's advertising stud, Ben, bets he can get any woman to fall in
love with him in ten days, with the prize being his firm's big diamond
contract. (Is this really how ad agencies are doling out responsibilities
The whole two-bet thing is a BIG stretch, but they sort
of explain it off in the script, so I was willing to go with it. And
for a good while, the film rewarded my faith. Kate Hudson obviously
relishes the opportunity to portray the ultimate girlfriend from hell.
She starts leaving things at his bachelor pad, talking baby-talk, being
clingy and needy, making him miss basketball games, getting him into fights
with strangers, singing Carly Simon tunes, serving cucumber sandwiches at poker night. McConaughey also has a terrific slow burn as a commitment-phobic ladies man
trying desperately to fight his instincts to bolt from this wacko.
These scenes are genuinely very funny and surprising... a clever and dark
look at mating rituals... if a little over the
top. If only they could have stuck this idea out to the end.
movie completely loses track when she goes to visit Ben's family on Staten
Island and becomes entranced with them (though frankly, they're kind of loud
and obnoxious) and with their home (a pretty unspectacular, run-down looking little ranch house
that has only one redeeming feature, a deck overlooking the bay.) This
leads to a series of clichéd romantic comedy scenes where they come to
realize that it is not just a game, it may be the real thing. Of
course, they learn of each others' deception in the middle of a formal business party leading to the rote extremely loud and public
The most disappointing thing is that this movie
actually had some significant humor and the opportunity to be a kind of
cynical, poison-pen valentine before devolving into fluff. By the time
we hit the inevitable scene where he chases her through the traffic of New
York to catch her before she moves out of town to take a new job, the film
has totally lost us. (Making this plot twist even more absurd, Andie is actually made to say that she can't get the serious writing job she
needs in New York... which is only the center of all serious publishing in
the US.) But by now, whatever clever or subversive ideas How To
Lose A Guy In 10 Days had are long gone, leaving a movie we've all seen
before, and seen done better. (2/03)
©2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: February 10, 2003.