How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Genre: Comedy / Romance (more)
Tagline: One of them is lying. So is the other.
Plot Outline: Benjamin Barry (McConaughey) is an advertising executive and ladies’ man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson (Hudson) covers the “How To” beat for “Composure” magazine and is assigned to write an article on “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days.” A cuurious thing happened after the press screening of “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” — I talked to several young women from the audience who described the movie as “cute” and “fun.” But every single guy I spoke with had the same reaction I did: They thought this so-called romantic comedy was nothing short of absolute torture.
Could Hollywood have inadvertently stumbled upon the definitive, gender-dividing, no-middle-ground chick flick?
There’s no question that the picture’s target audience is female. Its heeroine is a sparky columnist for a Cosmo-like magazine (played by Kate Hudson) who accepts an assignment to catch herself some handsome rube, then deliberately drive him away within 10 days by committing “all the classic dating mistakes.”
Her plan includes
Perhaps if you’re female, that last paragraph earned a knowing laugh. If you’re male, it likely maade your break out in a cold sweat. But here’s the inherent problem: Even though Hudson’s insecure, obsessive neuroticism is only an act put on to complete her assignment, in the process she becomes excruciatingly, agonizingly, insufferably irritating for 95 percent of the movie.
The “How to Lose a Guy” gimmick is that her chump, an advertising agent played by Matthew McConaughey, has oh-so-coincidentally just made a bet, in order to land a big account, that he can make any woman fa
The idea that these two could truly fall for each other while she’s pretending to be a psycho and he’s pretending to be a doormat is the kind of notion that could occur only to screenwriters who live by the simplistic Hollywood mantra of “25 words or less.”
Inspired by a very funny little crayon-drawn comic book of “dating don’ts” that shares the movie’s title, scripters Kristen Buckley and Brian Regan (who wrote the horribly hackneyed “102 Dalmatians”) stretch their concept membrane-thin while adhering so slavishly to romantic comedy doctrine that the movie’s climax includes an epiphany-of-love race to stop Hudson at the airport before she leaves McConaughey’s life forever.
Even in the introductory act, before Hudson’s caricature of feminine neuroses becomes a pestilence on the picture, the actress is already burdened with the fact that her character is a cheap and shallow knock-off of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw in HBO’s “Sex and the City.” “How to Lose A Guy” has one redeemable scene, in which Hudson leaves her facade in Manhattan while visiting McConaughey’s family on Long Island. For about four minutes of screen time a short-lived spark of real ro
But then director Donald Petrie (“Miss Congeniality”) takes us right back to the city, where the skin-crawling tripe is kicked into high gear by a big gala event for McConaughey’s company at which Hudson can embarrass him completely, once and for all, by making a scene as they break up.
Had it ever occurred to the filmmakers that this picture would constitute a horror movie for half the population (even those of us who fell in love with the genuinely neurotic Bridget Jones), it might have been salvageable. After all, I’m a guy and I found the book it’s based on to be a pretty funny read. But in the book it’s clear that any one of its “don’ts” could drive a guy away at any time. In the movie, Hudson embodies all of them all at once, making her very possibly the least appealing romantic comedy lead in movie history.
If you want to lose a guy in one day, drag him to see this movie.