Review: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

by Jake Sproul

Rating: (out of )

My weak spot as a viewer and as a critic is the genre of romantic comedy. Of all the film genres, constructing a romantic comedy is the easiest to do, as all are basically the same formula with some minor tweaks to differentiate. So when a romantic comedy fails, it is a larger embarrassment than if say, as Holocaust drama failed. Such is the case with How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (or for the sake of time and space, 10 Days). Combining overly long unfunny ‘comedic’ sequences with a totally inept script makes 10 Days a terrible viewing experience, especially for those of the male persuasion...strike that, for those of the intellect persuasion. Way back in January, I was all poised to see the sneak preview of 10 Days. When I went to get the tickets though, they were sold out. This disappointment really irritated me, and I was truly upset. Little did I know that I would have been just as upset leaving the show if I had gotten the tickets.

Andie Anderson is the ‘How-To’ girl at the up-and-coming “Composure Magazine.” Her latest project is called [gasp] “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days;” she must begin dating a man, then do everything women traditionally do wrong in relationships in an effort to get dumped in 10 days. Benjamin Barry is a hot shot in the marketing world. He is desperate to land the ‘DeLauer Diamonds’ account over two of his coworker rivals. When his boss cannot decide whom will get the account, he agrees to a proposed bet between the rivals: Ben has 10 days to meet and make a girl fall in love with him, in time for a party for the DeLauers. Who is the lucky girl? Well, Andie Anderson of course! And as they say, hilarity ensues, but does it really...

In the past few months, I have seen so many overly plot driven romantic comedies that I am practically gagging for a Nora Ephron romance. Despite how it should be, 10 Days considers chemistry and romance an after thought. Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey do have chemistry together, and they make a cute couple, despite all that blonde hair. This avenue is never traveled down though, as the script forces these two into scene after scene of male, gut wrenching torture that is far more tedious and aggravating than cute and funny. 10 Days has been advertised and marketed towards males just as much as females, hoping to snare the male demographic with the promise of getting to see “everything that happens to us, exaggerated on the big screen.” While this is true, being a male myself, I can say it was hardly fun to watch, and it was certainly not enlightening. Not surprisingly, in every age group at IMDb, females preferred 10 Days to men.

As I stated, Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson make a nice couple and have good chemistry, but the script ruins any and all likeability. This is more a vehicle for Kate Hudson than Matthew McConaughey, and for that purpose alone, Kate Hudson is adequate. Her performance as the world’s worst girlfriend is believable, for which I am not certain the repercussions upon her male fans. As for the female fans of Matthew McConaughey, they are certainly going to enjoy 10 Days, as it offers several scenes in which Ben is shirtless. From an acting standpoint, McConaughey plays second fiddle to Hudson. He is neither memorable nor unmemorable, but just there for Kate Hudson to bounce off of. My favorite moments of 10 Days were the scenes involving Lana, Kate’s exuberant boss played by Bebe Neuwirth. During the course of 10 Days, she only has about 7-8 minutes of screen time, or about the same amount of time I actually enjoyed the movie.

What does it say that so far in 2003, the two most financially successful films are both terrible? Along with Bringing Down the House, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days can obviously be found, or previously was found, on numerous must-see lists. This is very depressing, as it will likely encourage future theatrical endeavors. Kate Hudson, who was only a few years ago considered an Oscar front runner in the critically loved Almost Famous, should be ashamed of herself. Not for her performance, but for agreeing to star in such an awful romantic comedy, which doesn’t deserve the label of ‘romantic’ nor ‘comedy.’ The chosen title of ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ is surprisingly accurate, as taking a male to see this movie, is certainly how to lose a guy in 10 days, strike that, 2 hours.

© 2003 Jacob Sproul

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