How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

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The plot in a nutshell
Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is a young woman who writes for Composure magazine, one of those common women's mags that gives you all that useful advice, how-to knowledge, and handy love quizzes to torment your man with. She yearns to break free of the silly, saccharin stuff and do 'real' writing - you know, columns about politics and religion and important adult stuff like that, because God knows what the world really needs is one more self important magazine columnist telling us their opinion on global warming or the war in Tanzania. 

That's not happening any time soon though, and her latest column idea is How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days, sort of an anti-dating tips thing. Her plan is to find a poor schmoe, get him to start dating her, and then do everything wrong to show what not to do.

On the testosterone side we have Matthew McConaughey as Benjamin Berry (I kept expecting Lois Lane and Lana Lang to show up), a womanizing advertising executive looking to snag a big diamond account. He suffers the same life as poor Andie - he's successful selling silly, juvenile things like beer and athletic shoes, but pines to land a serious account, like diamonds. I had no idea that in the world of advertising there were more or less prestigious products on which to get rich. Silly me - I thought convincing people to buy crap they didn't need made few distinctions.

He is in a competition with two other female ad execs to land the big diamond account. Their boss assumes the women will do a better job, since they should understand the demographic better. Benjie sets out to prove them wrong, and what better way to show he understands women than to find one and make her fall madly in love with him within 10 days.

See where this is going? Ben and Andie end up with each other, her desperate to get rid of him, him desperate to keep her. Wackiness ensues. 

Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
Let me suggest an alternate title for this movie - How to Kill Your Guy in 116 Minutes. I was quite surprised that in all of Andie's attempts to drive off Ben, she never forced him to a movie like this. What a wasted opportunity.

Don't get me wrong. I like romantic comedies, chick flicks, decent romances. I can watch just about anything with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together, even Joe vs. the Volcano. Notting Hill is one of my favorite romantic comedies, and I don't mind saying so.

There are parts of this film to enjoy. Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey could be another Hanks and Ryan, given time. They are both very good actors in this style of film, and they have a great personal chemistry. McConaughey can play a womanizing dog, and you can still find him charming and likeable, and Kate Hudson manages both a genuine sweetness, and wacky goofiness reminiscent of her mother.

The movie is at it's best when Andie is doing her best to drive off Ben. There are some
genuinely funny moments, and I'll admit to laughing out loud on more than one occasion. I did find myself liking both Andie and Ben, and that has to be a testament to the acting abilities of Hudson and McConaughey considering the basic premise of these characters.
Let's recap - Andie, driven by her own personal desire to succeed, decides it's a good idea to seduce a man, convince him to care about her, and than sending him screaming with a good dose of whining, clinging and controlling. In other words, get a guy to love you then break his heart.

Ben, driven by his own personal desire to succeed, decides it's a good idea to seduce a woman, convince her to care about her, and then surprise! dump her once he's finished with her. In other words, get a girl to love you then break her heart.

I'm supposed to like these two shallow, self serving, users? As I said, the fact that Hudson and McConaughey do pull it off is pretty amazing. Still, the film never convinces me to really care that they end up together, and when they are both confronted at the end with the reality of their lies, I can't feel sorry for either one. Not only have they both lied, but they've lied about the same thing!

It is true that at least half of all romantic comedies are based on the same premise, although it's usually just one of the partners that's lying. Films like About a Boy, Maid In Manhattan, and You've Got Mail leap immediately to mind. But the general idea is that you can feel for the parties involved, whether they are the ones caught in the lie, or the ones hurt by it. Usually the lie is one that isn't meant to hurt anyone to begin with, something that the person did almost through accident or necessity that blew up in their face. Here, the lie is not just a lie - it's a mean lie. And when it's all said and done, I couldn't find myself caring whether they worked it out or not, since neither really deserved the other.

Rating - Skip It
If you're a guy, and you've done something really bad recently - had a wild affair with your secretary, forgot your anniversary, left the toilet seat up - then rent this movie and watch it with your girl. She'll love you for it, and I can guarantee that she'll love the movie. I now call this 'doing a Dobby', since watching a movie like this to make up for your sins is like when Dobby the house elf (from Harry Potter) slams his head against the wall when he does something wrong. Only more painful. 

But if you've managed to keep your nose clean, go rent something else instead. Notting Hill perhaps, or When Harry Met Sally. There's nothing wrong with romantic movies, just THIS romantic movie.

Spoiler Laden Thoughts
I got nothing to spoil here for you - guess what, they end up together!

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