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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

PG-13 · 116 minutes

Directed by Donald Petrie
Written by Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Burr Steers

 · Kate Hudson
 · Matthew McConaughey

Review by Thom Stricklin

Here's a how-to pitch for you: How to bore a movie critic in ten seconds. The number one no-no? Make a romantic comedy. Typically, it's the most cliché-ridden genre out there... "Guy meets girl. Guy and/or girl falls for one another. Extraneous circumstances complicate. Guy and girl overcome and live happily ever after." A fun formula that's sure to please audiences, but when you sit in movie after movie, you want them to be as interesting as possible, and few romantic comedies deliver. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is delightfully exceptional.




Bets have been done before in these movies. Come on... She's All That, anyone? Remember the line where Rachael Leigh Cook said the f-word? So it's not terribly original to set up the film with a wager. But two? Quite an improvement. In How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, the two so-called love birds are in fact pitted only involved (initially, at least) to further their careers. While Andie Anderson (Hudson) sets out to write the definitive what-not-to-do article, "How to..." well, you can guess... her victim, Benjamin Barry (McConaughey), has his own motive: make a woman fall in love with him in a week and a half. What might seem like a silly situation is actually set up responsibly by the writers, and we the audience are trapped in the ensuing crossfire, torn as to who exactly we're supposed to root for.

Love, of course, prevails, and that it does so while transcending those very dating and romance cliché's that plague other films depend on makes the end result that much sweeter. Some of the plot devices are a little weak... For instance, on days 8 and 9 the couple visits Ben's family and the tasks at hand seem a bit too conveniently forgotten. However, these lapses are not glaring or insulting, and are more than made up for by the duo's chemistry.




And quite a chemistry that is. Despite an 11-year age gap between the leads, they come across as quite the match on screen. A romantic comedy is only as good as the faces on the poster, and this pair is possibly the most convincing since the invincible Hanks-Ryan team-ups. Of course, watching the starry-eyed resolution isn't half as fun as the journey... We watch as Hudson tortures McConaughey with uber-obnoxious bad dating habits, and as Matty picks up the pieces after reacting like the typical man's man would in such a situation. It's painful at times, but always hilarious.



This movie is worthy of another title: How to Make a Romantic Comedy that Doesn't Suck. If you're looking for a good date movie in theatres or on DVD, this will be more than satisfying for the guys and gals.

459 Words · Published: 19 February 2003

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