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Worth A Look28%
Average: 16%
Pretty Bad: 15%
Total Crap: 13%

6 reviews, 64 user ratings

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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
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by Erik Childress

"I “Bet” That This “Romantic” Movie Is a Hit. But Who Loses?"
2 stars

Hey everyone, it’s February. That’s part of the first quarter of the year. And we all know what THAT means, don’t we? It’s time for Hollywood’s annual “romantic bet movie.” You know the ones and you’ve loved them all. Last year we had the “hold your wad” bet of 40 Days and 40 Nights. 2000 & 2001 had the diabolical “deal bets” of Whatever It Takes and Tomcats. And in 1999 we had the teenage triple threat of She’s All That, Cruel Intentions and 10 Things I Hate About You. What’s more romantic than putting two attractive leads through the ringer for 90 minutes before their misconduct is discovered 15 minutes before the inevitable reconciliation? Better yet, what’s more insulting than to keep expecting audiences to buy this same plot over and over and over again?

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days nearly accomplishes a neat trick. It teeters incredibly close to actually putting the viewer into the mindframe of the plot. Not the characters, but the situations they create for us. Early on I was hating the film, despising all the participants involved for dog paddling through the same cliches and acting unlike any human being you’ve ever met. Then it started to get amusing, like a marathon runner dogging it before sprinting towards triumphance. Then I started to like the two leads, finding them charming and doing their best with limited material. Then came the 91st minute when nothing was different. Nothing was going to change. This was the same old script with the names changed to protect the innocent.

Amazing how as the years go by, these characters are getting older, and at the same time, less mature. Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) writes for one of those New York women’s magazines whose probing journalism usually includes topics like “why men suck” and “why can’t they suck in the right places.” Andie would rather be writing columns on politics and things that matter, but would we trust such a writer who can’t even understand why a magazine like this doesn’t print such scoops? Does anyone read Cosmo for thoughts on Bush? (The president, I mean.)

In covering for her relationship-challenged co-worker, Andie pitches the titular piece to her demanding boss (Bebe Neuwirth). She’ll pick a man, date him for ten days and use every faux pas imaginable to drive the poor shlub away. (The article is due in 11.) Just so she’s not the only morally-challenged individual, the poor shlub, Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey), is also betting his way into an advertising account by claiming he can get any woman to fall in love with him…in whaddya know, 10 Days. The conniving are-they-lesbians-or-not competitors (Michael Michele & Shalom Harlow) conveniently aware of Andie’s mission, point her out to him.

Any creative writer worth their salt-and-pepper wouldn’t have to do field work on this type of column and despite the script telling us that Andie is a great writer in a position that doesn’t deserve her, there still has to be a movie to see. Andie and Ben hit it off as it’s imperative, so beginning the cliché counter for both sexes. Men love sports. Women are clingy. Guys hate chick flicks. Chicks will take a diamond over love anyday. (“A woman in lust wants chocolates. A woman in love wants diamonds.”) Nice message. Don’t jump down my throat. This is all in the movie. Now, in some respects, this isn’t far from the truth, but everyone knows there’s so much more that goes into why relationships do-and-don’t work. The writers here still have no more sense than to go for just the easy shots.

Surprisingly, that’s when the film starts to develop some genuine laughs as the culmination of all this craziness begins to affect Ben, as it does us. McConaughey is a great sport to play up the gags with a self-effacing mock to his own level of guyness, proving how his moviestar charisma would best suit him in a really solid screenplay. A scene at couple’s counciling (6 days into the relationship) works wonders thanks to him and Hudson, not the script. These are two charming actors with obvious chemistry, who even nearly overcome the inevitable revelations in songform, but are wasted by not being given the chance to go the distance.

Plots like this only work in screwball comedy where the action moves fast, the dialogue crackles with wit and every character is an over-the-top parody. Here it’s only a plot and the characters aren’t witty or fast enough to come off as nothing more than one-dimensional stereotypes. Of all the presences surrounding the overriding likability factor of Hudson and McConaughey, only Adam Goldberg seems able to elevate himself with a series of off-the-cuff one-liners that smack of improvisation and not hack writers. (The Snickers pitchman isn’t nearly as successful.)

To say that this film is slightly better than mediocre means that its going to be a big hit. Director Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality) will continue to get the call making slightly amusing audience pleasers and writers looking for a quick buck will have no qualms about churning out the next “bet” gimmick. The fact that these ideas getting skewered in Not Another Teen Movie weren’t more appreciated puts the blame at another’s door. Look forward to future screenplays: (1) A woman is bet she can’t get a man to marry her during the week of her menstrual cycle. (2) A man is bet he can’t fall in love given a selection of 25 women on a reality game show. Oh wait. How about (3) A man and woman are bet they can’t fall in love with an unattractive person with a great sense of humor. If How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days turns out to be a $75 million hit as I suspect, then it will no longer matter if the same script is dusted off and the names changed to protect the innocent, because it’s the audiences that are guilty.

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originally posted: 02/07/03 16:59:23
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User Comments

2/09/09 Kerry/Kez Extremerly fantastically mind blowing. With a captivating mixture of romance and comedy! 5 stars
9/04/08 Alexandru Totir This is one of my favorite movies all times. I definitely recommend it to watch. 5 stars
1/19/08 Pamela White very funny and the chemistry is there. 4 stars
5/14/07 David Pollastrini Kate Hudson looks hot inthis! 3 stars
2/23/07 Weblynx Funny movie, I bought this dvd after seeing movie 5 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday McConaughey is definitely not my favorite, but I do like this movie a fair deal. 3 stars
2/09/07 Stanley Thai A funny comedy about battle of the sexes! 4 stars
2/06/07 Matt Doesn't exactly set the screen alight, but it's a passable piece of forgettable fluff. 3 stars
7/21/06 sarah It's the best movie I've ever seen!!!!!! 5 stars
5/16/06 kho amazing 5 stars
11/15/05 Jin Not good 1 stars
6/19/05 Nicole First 2/3 is pretty funny. Last 1/3 is typical rom com crap. 3 stars
11/27/04 tasha one of the best films ive seen its great n matthew McConaughey is sooooo fine!!! 5 stars
7/26/04 RobK Blockbuster could fill whole stores to movies with this formulaic premise... oh, wait. 1 stars
7/14/04 Joel this was a fantastic movie 5 stars
7/11/04 Kimmi The movie was great! 5 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva the movie makes a fool of women 3 stars
7/07/04 heidi kreke i loved the movie and matthew is a hotty!!! 5 stars
6/25/04 Mohammad Salaymeh Awesome 5 stars
4/03/04 shelly it is like the best movie ever! 5 stars
1/30/04 jmsynth Boring, and hardly ever funny. About 2 giggles in 1 1/2 hours. Not worth it 2 stars
1/10/04 Hailey L. LaTour "This show is so cute, funny, and well written"!!!! 4 stars
12/17/03 TheOthersFan very funny for the first 2/3, but sputters and runs out of laughs during the third act 4 stars
12/01/03 The Narxquerst Wump Poor Kate Hudson would be more appealing wallowing in her poopie! 2 stars
11/29/03 sarah fuckin good 5 stars
11/14/03 melanie wilson best movie ever i love it 5 stars
11/12/03 una worth a look!! 4 stars
11/08/03 Kate Fantastic, loved it. just purchased DVD. Funny. Is there a soundtrack? 5 stars
11/08/03 Kate Loved it, have even purchased the DVD. Is there a soundtrack avail? 5 stars
11/05/03 Emmily I thought this movie was excellent and a good laugh 5 stars
10/27/03 Cyra the best movie 5 stars
10/18/03 paris it was pretty good like it was a fun movie to see 5 stars
10/08/03 Erik Van Sant Please infect Kate Hudson with a flesh-eating disease and send her to France. Fuck! 1 stars
10/06/03 Kitty It was okay, but very predictable! 3 stars
8/21/03 Piz Chick flick with good story but terribly written, had awesome potential, fell short 3 stars
8/18/03 Aims It totallyrocks. It's one of the funnies movies i've ever seen. The whole cinema could not 5 stars
8/05/03 laura Ford love it it was really funny 5 stars
7/18/03 Priscilla Postlethwaite Is there really such a card game as "Bull Shit"? And how is it played? 3 stars
7/17/03 Katie Roberts typical teen movie, don't think i'd bother buying it 4 stars
7/08/03 kz cute romantic comedy! 4 stars
7/06/03 sharon is this how us chicks really act...some body slap me...but good dat e movie 4 stars
5/24/03 Joiz Kate Hudson is amazing! The movie is a must-see. Fresh and hilarious. 5 stars
5/08/03 Shadaan Felfeli After surviving Maid in Manhattan this film was a breeze 3 stars
5/08/03 Shanoe Funny:)) 4 stars
3/30/03 Lisabeth It was really good! I loved it 5 stars
3/29/03 B Fun date movie. Good for when in a steady relationship(not 1st date). A rental. 4 stars
3/28/03 Sierra Awai The movied really sucked! There was no plot to it either. 1 stars
3/22/03 Meckenzie LOL so funny go and see it 5 stars
3/15/03 Christina Johnson Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson have great chemistry!! 5 stars
3/14/03 Rob You Americans are all stupid with your dumbass movies...go visit the WTC 1 stars
3/13/03 kate it was HILARIOUS!!! omg, it was sooooo funny!!! it just needed more romance 4 stars
3/12/03 ljam awsome...saw it three times 5 stars
3/12/03 Max I absolutely loved this movie :) 5 stars
3/08/03 u know i'm hot If you wanna lose a guy in 1 day, take him to see this... 2 stars
3/04/03 Jim Some very funny bits, but drags in spots 4 stars
3/02/03 fnord Not as crappy as I'd expected. 4 stars
2/21/03 Jon Alright, it wasn't THAT BAD!!! I actually thought it was aite... 4 stars
2/20/03 Nicole The ending was pretty lame, even for a romantic comedy. The rest was hilarious! 4 stars
2/15/03 Sam I loved this movie 5 stars
2/11/03 Silverline Is anyone else as annoyed as I am at the alliterative names? UGH!! 3 stars
2/10/03 Chiendog Should have been called, "How to lose your lunch in 90 minutes." 1 stars
2/10/03 LF I loved it, everyone in the audience was laughing most of the time, even the guys! 5 stars
2/09/03 tania very good 4 stars
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  07-Feb-2003 (PG-13)



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