February 2003
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Donald Petrie
Producers: Robert Evans, Christine Forsyth-Peters, Lynda Obst
Screenwriters: Kristen Buckley & Brian Regan & Burr Steers, based on the book by Michele Alexander & Jeannie Long
Music: David Newman
Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Michele, Shalom Harlow, Bebe Neuwirth, and Robert Klein.



The thing about romantic comedies these days is that there are no surprises. We know from the commercials and the posters who the main characters are and that they are destined to be with each other by the end of the film. That’s okay. I guess that’s the whole point in seeing the film. What really is of interest and what makes most romantic comedies work is the setup of the romance. In some ways we want to believe that some circumstances can really happen. At least for those who are still single and searching for the right person. Although the setup to the inevitable romance between the leads in Donald Petrie’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is contrived to the highest level, the performances by the leads are appealing enough for you to have a good time enjoying this film.

Andie Anderson (Hudson) is a young writer working for Composure magazine, the “fastest growing magazine in the country.” She happens to have her own column, a “How to” section. While she has an audience that reads her column, she yearns to write about what matters most to her, business and politics. That will not do according to her editor (Neuwirth), who wants more articles on dating, fashion, and sex. When one of her girlfriends gets into an emotional depression due to a fallen romance, Andie decides to do a story on it, sort-of-speak. In a bid to get what she wants from her boss, her choice of articles, she agrees to date a guy and purposely dump him in less than 10 days. That will be her article. Hence, the title of the film. Why 10 days? The magazine goes to print in eleven. She’ll do everything guys hate in the early stages of dating. Meanwhile, Ben Barry is a cocky ad account exec who rides a motorcycle to work and feels he’s on top of the world. His accounts are mostly in the beer and sports department. When he gets wind that his boss is giving the DeLauer diamond account to Spears & Green (Michele & Harlow) based on his tip, Ben meets them at dinner to make his case for the account. His pitch is that diamonds are about love and that he can sell that theory. To get the account, Ben makes a bet with his boss (Klein) that he can make anyone fall in love with him in less than 10 days. The 10th day is when the boss will meet with the DeLauers and tell them who will manage their account. What Ben doesn’t know is that the woman, who’s chosen for him by Spears and Green, is Andie, who already has her own agenda. It’s time to place your bet to see who will come out a winner.

As far-fetched and ill-conceived the plot may be, there are a number of humorous scenes that just make you laugh out loud. The underlying theme of a romance is about commitment and whether one person or both individuals can sustain it. Director Petrie has set up situations in which some guys can relate to. Guys want to have control and pace things on their terms, and it’s funny when Andie starts invading Ben’s “territory”. Hudson is sparkling and charming to watch, almost Meg Ryan-esque. McConaughey may seem older for her, but the character is a hoot. His performance is good enough for guys who are currently in this position and know how it feels. A woman like Andie would have to be “the one” for a guy to put up what Ben went through. Michael Michele, Bebe Neuwirth, and Robert Klein have thankless roles, but that’s okay, since the two leads chew up every scene. Some may dismiss the film as corny and brazen, but it’s the comedic aspects of HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS that’s surprising and works, since we have a good idea who the winner of the bet will be.