BY TRACY CONN
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is your typical predictable romantic comedy, although in this one, I wasn’t quite convinced that the couple was a match made in heaven.
Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is the how-to columnist for Composure, a fictional trendy women’s magazine. Inspired by a co-worker’s string of breakups from very short-term relationships, she decides that for her next column she will do all the things that women typically do “wrong” in a relationship so that she may enlighten her readers as to how to lose a guy in ten days. Why exactly she needs to prove the folly of these tactics firsthand — rather than simply recounting her co-workers’ experiences–isn’t quite clear, except of course that without this little twist there would be no movie to make. So, incongruous scheme begun, Andie decides to find a guy who wants to date her and then proceed to quickly send him running by being clingy, whiny and needy.
Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) works for an advertising firm and is competing with a pair of co-workers for a diamond advertising campaign. He somehow convinces his boss that his ability to sell diamonds can be demonstrated by his ability to make women fall in love with him. His boss then agrees that if he can make a woman, chosen by his female advertising competitors, fall in love with him in ten days, the time remaining until a party hosted by the diamond company, he can have the advertising job. The women of course choose Andie, who just so happens to be at the same bar as the advertisers.
And so the tenuous plot is off and running, with Andie making frequent phone calls to Barry, bringing him stuffed animals, revamping his CD collection with all female artists, crashing poker night and speaking in baby talk. Barry, determined to win the diamond job, puts up with Andie’s antics despite his increasing irritation.
You can imagine where it goes from here. Despite their complete misrepresentations of themselves and betrayals to each other, the characters manage to fall in love with each other’s “real” selves. Somehow the audience is expected to believe that despite Benjamin’s failure to notice several changes in Andie’s personality during their brief relationship and Andie’s frustration that Benjamin was determined to stay with an extremely annoying woman, the two have managed to see and fall in love with each other’s real personalities in a week and a half. I, for one, was not convinced.
Despite a completely unbelievable plot and a somewhat offensive message about women and how they should and should not behave, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was enjoyable at times. If you’re willing to suspend all belief about reality and go with the flow, Hudson’s performance as Andie is entertaining, particularly later in the movie. Her ridiculous decorations of Benjamin’s apartment and her interactions with Benjamin’s friends and family are particularly funny. McConaughey, on the other hand, brings nothing remarkable to Benjamin’s character other than his good looks. His character seems to be there merely to show Hudson’s comedic talents.
Another performance of note is that of Kathryn Hahn, a relative newcomer, who plays Kate, the co-worker whose ill-fated relationship habits inspire Andie’s column. Hahn is both funny and versatile as she takes on different roles to aid Andie in her plots. Bebe Neuwirth also appears as Andie’s boss.
If you’re looking to see a romantic movie this Valentine’s Day, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days shouldn’t be your first choice. Try to find a theater still playing Two Weeks Notice or even take a chance on Daredevil. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, despite Hudson’s personal charm, won’t hold your attention.