by Natasha Theobald
Here we are again. Let's take a couple of attractive people, give them some zany friends and colleagues, put them in impossible circumstances, and see if they don't come out of it in love. The faces may change, but the game remains the same. So, if you like the actors and don't mind seeing them embarrass themselves, you'll probably like the movie. If not, you shouldn't waste your time. There'll be another one along any minute.This time we have ad exec Ben (Matthew McConaughey). He has been relegated to the guy-ranks of selling beer and sports equipment to men, like himself, who highly prize such things. He works with wise-cracking buddies (Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon) but would like to move to something more prestigious, like diamonds, which are usually handed off to women ad execs (Michael Michele, Shalom Harlow), who ostensibly know what women want.
"Not too painful to watch, but is that saying much?"
We also have magazine writer Andie (Kate Hudson). She, too, is stuck in a career rut, writing "How to..." columns about inane, girlie things when she would rather discuss serious subjects, like politics. She is also blessed with best friends in the workplace (Kathryn Hahn, Annie Parisse) and, to protect one of them from the embarrassment of having her life opened up to ridicule, Andie agrees to write an article about the wrong things that women do in relationships, the titular "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." She can't just write it, though, NO! She must actually manipulate and break the heart of said guy in the next ten days, before the magazine's print deadline.
As fate (or the screenwriters) would have it, the diamond lady ad execs know about Andie's article. So, when their boss (Robert Klein) considers testing Ben to see if he knows how to make a woman fall in love, with him and/or diamonds (heaven knows it's virtually the same thing), before handing over the account, they are there to suggest the woman he must woo -- Andie, who just happens to be in the bar looking for her victim du jour. Crazy kismet! The rest of the movie has her doing increasingly weird things to push him away, while he desperately clings to her, his sanity, and the hopes of the diamond account.
The sad truth is that Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson are lovely and likeable people, but their charisma, such that it is, cannot (completely) overcome the often clunky script or the mostly colorless story. In the entire running time, they share exactly one authentic moment, which only served to remind what might have been had their chemistry been used for good instead of not-good. They are also surrounded with lovely and likeable people, from Bebe Neuwirth to Adam Goldberg, who are given little to do and/or be. I don't know if the fault lies with the writers of the book (Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long) or the writers of the script (Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Burr Steers), but something went seriously awry in the writing stages that could not be righted again. Some of the dialogue was snappy, for instance, but huge moments, the end for one, are mishandled almost beyond repair.So, if you desperately need to see Kate Hudson in a couple of cute dresses or have need of Matthew McConaughey briefly shirtless, this movie can give you both. Beyond that, you're on your own.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7005&reviewer=317
originally posted: 07/08/03 15:35:27