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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

No Award
2003

‘…a film that discredits the idea of romance as something genuine that might happen to anyone normal…’

We’ve not had a good hate-watch for a while, so How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days arrives bang on time to provide a fix of absolutely awful cinema. There’s a certain kind of rom-com that gets the rom wrong and doesn’t even bother with the com. Donald Petrie’s Manhattan-set, Toronto-filmed confection is so convoluted that even those seduced by the fancy clothes and expensive jewellery will be questioning their will to live by the time our lovers put aside their differences.

“Frost yourself,’ says Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey), a womanising advertising executive who takes a bet that he can make a woman fall for him in ten days; he’s talking about frosting her with diamonds. Meanwhile Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) takes a different wager; once she’s hooked a guy, can she dump him within the same allotted period? Her reward is to be allowed to write anything she wants for ladies mag Composure; we’re constantly told that Andie dreams of writing about international politics, although she seems to have zero interest in the subject. With so many expectations and assumptions, will Benjamin Barry ever gets round to ‘frosting’ Andie Anderson and find true happiness?

Lars von Trier’s Dogville ended memorably with the entire cast of character lined up against a wall and removed from this earth by a hail of machine-gun fire. It was a striking finale, and one I’d happily have seen transposed to the glamorous but idiotic characters portrayed here. Andie is the kind of magazine hack who discusses her next story over champagne with her editor while coddled in throw cushions, while Benjamin’s office looks more like a gentleman’s club. It’s hard to understand how the couple can actually fall for either other given that everything she says and does is a complete lie, and it’s pretty hard to see what Benjamin might see in her other than that they both have teeth like a velociraptor. With no sparks struck, it’s left to a odd-looking dog to do the heavy lifting, urinating on Ben’s pool table, urinating on his card-table, and generally peeing all over their inexplicably growing relationship.

A brief appearance by Kathryn Hahn briefly raises hopes of jokes or comedy, but the vapid central two-some suck the life out of any mirth; supposedly riding around Manhattan on his motorcycle, neither of them have a hair out of place, and that trait alone seems to serve as character development. As the credits roll, you feel that you’ve seen a film that discredits the idea of romance as something genuine that might happen to anyone normal. In the interests of romance, and cinema, it would probably be for the best if both film-makers and cast went and frosted themselves as a matter of some urgency.

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  1. I gotta be honest…I love this movie. It is one of my go to “don’t want to think” after a long week. I have seen it a million times. I can’t really defend it I suppose, but you can’t help who/what you love!

    • Oh wow! Kudos for standing your ground! I guess it fills the same gap Smokey and the Bandit fills in mine. I dare you to write a ten trillion essay on what’s good about this film! Would love to read it! Swim against the tide!

      • Haha! Maybe not a full essay, but challenge accepted!

        I think Kate Hudson just makes the movie. You could recast Matt, but the movie doesn’t work without Kate. I find great comedy in her charming torturing of Matt M. I like the escalation of her “punking.” She starts with very believable things – pretending not to eat meat, asking him for a drink during the critical part of the game, and it escalates to the absurd – ie “couples therapy.”

        I do see this as “rom” and “com.” I actually don’t like most modern rom coms (are they even making these) because they all feel like a race to make the women raunchy. I don’t mind a raunchy woman comedy, but that’s all there seems to be. Andie is funny without being raunchy. “How to Lose” feels to me like a little of the classic screwball Battle of the Sexes, which is a genre I have always loved.

        And the “rom”- what is more romantic that two people who are doing their best to annoy one another and then falling in love anyway? When they do go to visit his family and they put down their guards, well, my heart goes all mushy. Sue me! 🙂

        And as someone who grew up reading women’s magazines, I am certain that at one point I read an article very similar to the one Andie writes!!

        So it works for me!

        • You make a good case! But these characters seem to me to be so busy annoying each other, I can’t see what they’re falling in love with unless Matt just loves being lied to! For me, there’s so many self-created obstacles in this story, it’s hard to find the actual relationship. And Kate Hudson….far too much manic pixie dream girl for any man to take! She’s a complete pest in this movie! Prefer the urinating dog to both of them!

          We’ll agree to disagree, but I award you today’s gold star for defending the indefensible! Congratulations on passing the challenge!

  2. I……am…….typing…….very…….slowly………so…….my……comment …… doesn’t …… go into spam.

    Anyway, I’m always hesitant about romcom’s and when a reviewer mentions the removal of both rom AND com, well, that submarine is sunk! I doubt even ironing, with a diamond iron, could have saved this.

  3. I loved this movie! It’s an amazing piece of filmmaking, that showcases the many facets of love in all it’s mysterious ways. How this film was ignored at the Oscars was totally mindblowing to me, and it only goes to show that…sorry I can’t keep my serious face in place😂😂
    I would not even touch a movie like this. I’m sure there is a marker for it, but well…that’s not for me. Why an actor with the abilities that Mathew clearly has signs up for a film such as this is the thing that’s really mindblowing. OH well…as I said, it’s a movie that certainly has people that love it. I’m off to watch Dredd now…..😊😊

    • That first paragraph had me wondering, but thankfully you’ve come back from the dark side of faking praise for this lump of molten excrement….watch anything but this, for your own mental health…

  4. And star ratings and percentages are for fridges…don’t let me stop you watching this, Alex! If you can handle J-Horror…

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