A funny thing happened on my way to see “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” this past weekend. A startling thought sent the last remaining shreds of my manhood running for the exit: I am about to watch my third consecutive chick flick in as many weeks. After enduring “Pretty Woman In Manhattan” and “Too Weak To Notice” on DVD, I feared my wife might lose me in 10 minutes.
Predictably enough, the movie opens as advertised. We meet Andy (Kate Hudson), a would-be journalist trapped in How-To hell at a fictional woman’s magazine. Andy’s newest assignment: write a firsthand account of the things women do to drive men away. As the title warns us, her deadline is in 10 days. Sound plausible enough? Not so fast!
As fate would have it, and it always seems to in these films, Ben (Matthew McConaughey) stakes his career on a bet: make a woman fall in love with his six-pack-rack of abs in 10 days. Naturally this will prove he knows what women want, making him a worthy pitchman for the agency’s coveted diamond account. To save you the 24/10 version, here are my chick-flick Cliff’s Notes on how the predictability unfolds…
Day 1: Ben meets Andy…Andy goes to Ben’s apartment…but she’s not that kind of girl on the first date…and he can’t be that kind of guy on the first date if he wants her to fall in love with him by the tenth date. Got it? I’m not done, and that’s only day one.
Days 2-8: z-z-z-z-z-z-z [Sorry…I must have dozed off somewhere between Andy naming Ben’s private member and Andy moving in with her tinkle-challenged pup].
SPOILER ALERT: Utterly predictable plot points revealed.
Day 9: Ben takes Andy to meet his folks on the exotic Isle of Statin. Despite her journalistic need to drive Ben away, a card game with Ben’s fart-aholic uncle proves too much stank to resist. Sparks fly, shirts fall, and feelings [disguised as abs] are revealed.
Day 10: Will Andy confess her love to Ben? Will Ben win the girl and/or the diamond account? Frankly my dear, will moviegoers even give a damn?
I can list more than 10 things wrong with this film and with the direction that McConaughey’s career compass points. But then again, I’d only be rehashing the many sins of a played out genre that caters to ego-driven actors with dimples and man boobs. Director Donald Petrie does the best he can with a high-concept pitch, two pretty ingredients, and a microwaveable pop-CORN formula. However, we grow tired of seeing these characters together within 10 minutes……let alone the required 10 days.
If you complained about Tom and Meg spending only a few minutes on-screen together in “Sleepless in Seattle”, consider these 10 days the painful alternative. Are you looking to lose a guy in 10 days? I have just the film for you. If you’re waiting for a more drastic alternative to come along, I encourage you to wait for McConaughey’s next film.