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