Yet another romantic comedy hits the big-screen in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day. Although “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” is certainly well stocked in the comedy department, the romance among this battle of the sexes is in rather short supply.
The set up begins with Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson, “Almost Famous”) as the “How-to” columnist for a women’s magazine. Despite her desire to write on “meaningful” topics, she is reduced to producing articles for Composure magazine on such superficialities as make-up, dieting and fashion. She convinces a heartbroken friend that there are certain dating “no-no’s” responsible for any relationships’ demise and plans to test this hypothesis for her next column. The opening of the film rings bells of a PG-13 “Sex in the City,” yet while Carrie Bradshaw would never seek out a failed relationship, Andie plans to be the ideal girlfriend from hell.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Barry (Mathew McConaughey), a good-looking advertising employee, tries to convince his boss that he deserves a major account with a diamond retailer. As if the names of these characters weren’t enough to set up this artificial world, Ben’s boss agrees to give him the account if he can make a certain woman fall in love with him in ten days. Coincidentally, Ben gets the role of the poor chump for Andie’s little experiment and she becomes the target for his bet. Andie commits every dating faux pas possible to chase him away, while he hangs on with every shred of manhood he has left to win the bet.
Somewhere amid all the lying and penis jokes, the two are supposed to fall in love. While serving as each other’s guinea pigs, there seems little reason for Andie and Ben to actually care for each other, except for the fact that they look absolutely fabulous together. Nevertheless, the laws of romantic comedy-land still transcend rationality.
As for performers, you can’t really go wrong with two of the most beautiful people in Hollywood. Hudson is charming and adorable as always. Her Jekyll and Hyde act is completely convincing as she transitions smoothly from a clingy, man’s worst nightmare, to a sexy sports-loving dream girl. McConaughey takes his shirt off a few times, masters the role of a likeable egotistical fool and takes his shirt off a few more times. Furthermore, the chemistry between them is brilliant.
Though the general concept is ridiculously unrealistic, it is easy to sit through the witty script and Donald Petrie’s comical direction. Plenty of scenes have the audience laughing out loud. For instance, when Andie cripples Ben’s manhood by referring to his … ahem … as Princess Sophia. Also, Ben getting punched out at the “chick flick” marathon is admirable for both its self-reflexivity and hilarity. Whether you attend the film as a romantic comedy buff, or just a voyeur for Hudson and McConaughey, you’ll definitely be cracking up enough to keep from falling asleep.