Friday, March 28, 2008


I was primed to hate this movie. I really was. I had successfully avoided watching this chick-flick over the last few years, due primarily to never being in the company of a woman during it's theatrical release and it's initial arrival on dvd. Now that I am engaged, my fiancee gets to pick some of the Netflix choices from time to time. And when she heard that I'd never seen HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (***), she nearly fell out of her seat. The film was a big box office hit and has been replayed countless times on cable/HBO/etc. She just couldn't believe I hadn't seen it yet. Not that it was brilliant or anything, or that it would change my movie-watching life. I think she was mostly shocked because I have seen a lot of films, and to be honest, I am always down with a chick-flick, provided that it doesn't insult my intelligence, it's actually romantic, and it's actually funny. The fact that the film starred Kate Hudson was not a step in the right direction. I cannot stand her. I haven't bought one of her performances and she consistently comes off as amateurish and phony in every film I've seen her in. She almost ruined my enjoyment of ALMOST FAMOUS. Now, having said all that, she wasn't that bad in HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (known in this review from now on as HTLAG). I still don't find her attractive and it helped that she was playing a conceited (of sorts) character. But I didn't want to scratch my eye balls out when she appeared on screen so I guess that's a plus. And to be fair, she was actually pretty funny in a few scenes. The movie's best assett, however, is Matthew McConaughey, who I have always liked as an actor. I just wish he'd quit making the same sort of movie every time out but that doesn't change the fact that he's an immensely likable screen presence. The film is basically a back-and-forth game between Hudson and McConaughey who both dupe each other into a relationship. Hudson writes a column for a Cosmo-esque magazine and proposes an article about how women are able to drive men crazy and how any woman can lose the man she's with in 10 days. McConaughey, meanwhile, strikes a bet with his boss (he's an ad exec) that he can make any woman fall in love with him in 10 days. So, she tries to drive him crazy, and he can't dump her because of the bet he has with his boss. The director, Donald Petrie, has done great comedy (GRUMPY OLD MEN), decent comedy (MYSTIC PIZZA) and terrible comedy (WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT, JUST MY LUCK). He's also responsible for the utterly lame MISS CONGENIALITY. What I liked most about HTLAG was the funny script written by Burr Steers (IGBY GOES DOWN) and the team of Kristen Buckley & Brian Regan (102 DALMATIONS). I laughed out loud at least six or seven times, I liked how there were two revolving plots, and I liked the comedic back-and-forth between Hudson and McConaughey's characters. The movie is completely over the top (the scenes of Hudson trying to get McConaughey to leave her are absurd but humorous), completely predictable (guess how it ends?!), and completely disposable. So why am I reccommending the film? Because it satisfies its genre. It's not incredible but it does what it needs to do, and does it nicely and economically. It doesn't aspire to greatness and doesn't want too. Recent standouts in the rom-com/chick-flick genre for me have been NOTTING HILL, WAITRESS, IN HER SHOES, LOVE ACTUALLY, DEFINITELY MAYBE, and MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS (if you haven't seen this lovely film go track it down). And while HTLAG doesn't reach those heights, it's a fun enough diversion that will put a little smile on your face.

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