How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for some sex-related material
Running Time: 116 min.
Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Hahn, Robert Klein, Bebe Neuwirth, Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, Marvin Hamlisch (cameo)
Director: Donald Petrie
Screenplay: Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Burr Steers (inspired by the book by Michelle Alexander and Jeannie Long)
Review published January 28, 2003
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days draws its inspiration from a book by Michelle Alexander and Jeannie Long, about the ultimate don'ts of dating, so this isn't really a direct adaptation. This romantic comedy just falls short by the closest of margins for a recommendation, so if you are into these kinds of movies, you probably will rank it higher. It's not that it isn't entertaining, because there certainly is an adequate amount of amusing moments and decent performances by the leads to justify the time and money spent. However, outside of the contrived idea for a story, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a movie without any real surprises. It's easy to see how it's going to play out before the movie even begins, the main weakness being how it plays out plot-wise to achieve its ultimate, and rather farfetched, goals.
Kate Hudson (Dr. T and the Women, Almost Famous) plays Andie Anderson, an ambitious journalist for a woman's magazine who wishes she didn't have to always write fluff pieces, hoping to one day be respected for her weightier subjects. Inspired by the dating fiascos of her best friend, she decides to write a piece that might get her on better standing with the editor and subsequently allow her more journalistic freedom, with an articles entitled "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." As part of her research, she decides to attract a man and do all of the things a woman shouldn't do in an early relationship to see how long it takes before he stops returning phone calls. She opts to use Benjamin Barry (McConaughey, The Wedding Planner) as her test subject, but doesn't know Ben has an agenda of his own, betting that he can get a woman to fall in love with him in 10 days. She is hell-bent on getting him to dump her, while he is determined to keep her no matter what.
Admittedly, the main premise does provide for some genuine laughs here and there, due to how silly the relationship gets, because Andie can't seem to shake Ben no matter how annoying she gets. It's an interesting idea, oh, for about 30 minutes or so -- the length of your typical situation comedy, of which the script never rises above the level of being. At 90 minutes, staleness sets in once the novelty of the situation wears off, and the last 30 minutes is in coast mode, adopting cliché after cliché utilized by countless romantic comedies over the past decade or so.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days isn't a bad film, just a funny idea placed in a tired and predictable plot. I would recommend this strictly for the crowd who watch all romantic comedies, or for fans of the two appealing stars. Everyone else might be left wondering if the screenwriters also read a book called, "How to Write a Script in 10 Days".
©2003 Vince Leo