|Rating:PG-13 but there’s a lot of use of the Sh** word and sexual references. I would have given it an R.
Starring: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Michael Michele, Robert Klein, and Bebe Neuwirth
Directed By:Donlad Petrie
I have testicles. So do the majority of film critics, which is probably the reason romantic comedies get a bad wrap. Or as I like to say “Chick Flicks Suck!” Regardless, those of us that refer to ourselves as critics have to see them like any other film. So for the first time since I started writing reviews, as a sort of rite-de-passage, I will have my first review of a chick flick.
The film is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. The premise is pretty simple. Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is a writer for Composure magazine (a Cosmopolitan look-alike), who writes a “How To:” column. After a colleague has been dumped by her romantic partner after a little more than a week (which we presume is something that has happened to this naïve girl before), Andie is assigned a how to column of (you guessed it), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. She prepares to throw everything into the column, and decides she will actually “hook” a guy and drive him nuts by breaking any rule possible within the 10 days she has until press-time.
Meanwhile we meet Benjamin Barry (McConaughey) (And yes…the overuse of alliteration in character names here really made me mad), an advertising executive who wants to break free of beer and sports ads and take a huge account for a diamond campaign. After barging in on a meeting where his boss (Klein, who was stunning in the famous SNL “cheeseburger” skit) is prepared to give the account to two rivals (both woman characters named Judy…again overdoing it), Benjamin makes a bet, (that seems way off topic from the diamonds, but somehow they made it make sense to them in the film) so that he can get ahold of the account. The bet is simple: If he can make a woman fall in love with him in time for the party where the sale must be made, he can have the account. The party is, of course, in (gasp!) 10 days. (Could I have used anymore parentheses in that paragraph?)
Well, just as this deal is being done, The Judys, who met Andie earlier in the day and know of her project, point her out as the one he must make fall for him. So our train of events begins.
It pains me to say, but once this setup situation is past, and Andie and Benjamin get together, the movie takes a turn to the hilarious. Hudson is wonderfully over the top with her antics, and McConaughey is priceless in his reactivity to them. The plot careens from day to day and encounter to encounter effortlessly, and is a non-stop roller coaster of laughs for most of this middle section. After all the hype over films like Sweet Home Alabama and My Big Fat Greek Wedding I was wondering if it was possibly to make a funny romantic comedy these days. It’s safe to say that the antics in this courting period are among the funniest scenes I’ve seen put on film in the last year, and make that worry of mine inconsequential.
The plot does take a turn for the worse near the last half-hour, and drops into the romantic comedy formula for its final stretch. There were many moments in this final act that had me rolling my eyes, but there were also a surprising amount of moments that had me laughing. The ending is far from unpredictable, but it didn’t leave the sour taste in my mouth that most romantic comedies of the past few years did.
As stated above, the performances of the two stars are what makes the comedy work. Hudson is absolutely ravishing, making the different tricks she pulls each very entertaining. It’s safe to say that I would probably have killed her many times if I were Ben (Her taking him to a Celine Dion concert under the guise of a NBA Finals game stands out as the point where my rage would have been highest). McConaughey plays his part as the confused man perfectly. My only problem is that at times it is easy for us to forget his ulterior motives, which are not made as visible as Andie’s (notwithstanding a brilliant scene where his coworkers give him a “pep talk” about the bet at a moment where Andie thinks she’s escaped him). The film could have played his angle a little better, or even could have left it out completely. In the end, all it needs to entertain is Andie’s motivations.
In the end, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days works its best to be a romance and a comedy, and fits the two together very well. Yes, the last half-hour is the same as the last half-hour of every romantic comedy of the last five years, but the jokes carry it to make it entertaining for us males, and the romance is well done and sure to please the lady folks. Bottom line is that I laughed hard and laughed a lot, especially compared to the overrated duo of Sweet Home Alabama and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. With Valentine’s Day knocking at the door, this is the perfect film for you guys to take your lady friends to, you’ll probably both enjoy it. As for you lonely, beautiful, young ladies looking for a Valentine…well, I know a guy who’s really cool, uses parentheses a lot, and tries really hard to not smell like cabbage. He even enjoyed this movie and would recommend you see it too!