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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (February 6/03)

There are portions of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days that feel as though they belong in a better movie. That's not to say what remains is all that great, but several sequences are surprisingly funny and the two leads are charming. But given that this is a romantic comedy, there's a strict formula that has to be adhered to.

Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is a rising star at a prominent New York-based women's magazine, where she's become known for her "How To" column. Her latest assignment is to write a piece entitled "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," a story that'll require her to pick up a random man and drive him away using a variety of tactics. Ben Barry (Matthew McConaughey) is a hotshot advertising executive who bets his boss that he can get a random woman and make her fall in love with him. Needless to say, he winds up choosing Andie as his target - a selection that's clearly going to pose a bit of a challenge.

Though the majority of the film is laughably predictable (you just know there's going be a drawn-out sequence in which both characters learn about the other's deception), there's a lot worth recommending about How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. But it doesn't initially seem that way, as the movie opens with some truly awful dialogue that's presumably meant to be witty and off-kilter - instead, despite emerging from the mouths of some talented performers, it just sounds stilted and inane. Fortunately the film's plot kicks in fairly quickly, which certainly increases the enjoyment factor quite substantially. It's in that middle section that the bulk of the film's laughs are to be had. Hudson's Andie becomes an absolute nightmare, and it's the reactions of McConaughey which provide the most amusement (such as when Andie nicknames Ben's penis "Princess Sophia").

But the movie comes to a dead halt in the last half hour, when Ben takes Andie to his childhood home to meet his family. While How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days had previously been a light and uncomplicated comedy, it suddenly becomes this absolutely dull stereotypical romance. And as if that wasn't bad enough, it goes on for an additional 30 minutes from that point (the film's running time is ten minutes shy of two hours). Silly flicks that this should top out at 90 minutes (if that), otherwise they have the tendency to become somewhat excruciating.

Still, the movie is (up to that point) more enjoyable than one would suspect, which makes it worth a look.

out of

© David Nusair