How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days  (2003)


Starring: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey

Director: Donald Petrie

Rating: PG-13

Studio: Paramount

Release Date: 7.01.03

Review Posted: 7.12.03

Spoilers: Minor


Reviewed by Dennis Landmann




As the "How to..." columnist for trendy Composure Magazine, Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) agrees to write a first-hand account about what it takes to drive a man out of your lifeÖ in exactly 10 days. At the same time, eligible ad agency bachelor Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) accepts a high-stakes bet that he can lure any woman into falling head-over-heels in love with him... also in 10 days. The resulting romantic head-on collision ignites a series of deliriously comic deceptions that prove when it comes to true loveÖ your heart cannot tell a lie.




The set up is perfect. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days sets up its premise in a great fashion, right after the creative opening title sequence. Andie wants her story and Ben wants to win his bet. The conflict is set. The comedy is ready to go. The question, "how is this going to work out," speaks volumes. There are all sorts of ways to play out this premise, and for the most part the film makes the right choices. Based on the book by Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long, the film is a fairly enjoyable romantic comedy.


That is, the comedy is there where it needs to be. There are also some genuinely lighthearted moments between the two characters as chemistry appears to develop. Yet the premise doesnít support that kind of chemistry, because in the back of my head I know these two people are only playing each other to gain an advantage. The problem of their romance is that it is not based on love or affectionóit is all a game to see how far each of them will go to reach their respective goals. Hudson plays Andie with great stride and energy. Not only is she beautiful, but also charming and scheming at the same time. Simply put, she looks absolutely gorgeous in this film. Ben is a likeable guy and Matthew McConaughey is perfect for the role. His side of the bargain is to make Andie fall in love with him in 10 days, yet it appears he is also falling in love with her.


For example, midway through the film, both characters enjoy some fun and romantic moments, such as playing a game of bullshit with Benís family and riding the motorcycle near the pier. All these moments are nice and fun, but they donít hold up against the set up. I understand itís not supposed to be a serious issue, but weíre always reminded of the fact that this is all a game. Then again, the film is a romantic comedy, and there needs to be a twist to the story. Well, by the time Andie and Ben are three days into dating, the ending becomes somewhat predictable by process of elimination.


Namely, the script, by Kristen Buckley & Brian Regan and Burr Steers, is not as straightforward as it might seem. It includes some original, fun moments. Although as it steers towards the end, the question arises, of course, "what is going to happen to Andie and Ben?" By eliminating the negative component, which would be they donít get back together after ten days, we arrive at the conclusion, though I will not discuss it (figure it out yourself if you up to it). This elimination process continues the predictability of modern romantic comedies, and sadly How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days falls into this general category, despite the twist to its premise.


How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days takes place in about eleven days, and manages to keep the viewer interestedóthough there is some silliness in the film. Some scenes are a little hard on themselves, and therefore the overall pace of the film is a little slow, but itís not a major distraction at all; mainly something to point out. Donald Petrie keeps a balance on the premise and allows the actors to develop a little chemistry in select scenes. Both Hudson and McConaughey play their roles very well, which is a definite plus. Overall, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is enjoyable, despite predictability and some flaws.


6 out of 10


The Video


Paramount presents How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I didnít notice any compression artifacts and for the most part there are no major print flaws to speak of. For a film released this past February, however, the transfer shows some evidence of softness and edge enhancement appears in a few scenes as well. On a positive note, the colors are all-around and flourishing. Color detail looks fine, but sometimes too soft. Dark tones and black levels are fine, but a bit weak also. Overall, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days looks fine, but itís just not on par with other recent Paramount releases (The Hours, for example).


7 out of 10


The Audio


Paramount presents How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Surround usage is hardly noticeable, only in a few scenes do the rear speakers give off some life, such as in the opening sequence. As suggested by the filmís type, being a comedy and all, most audio comes through the front speakers. Basically, thereís not much Dolby Digital quality to benefit from. On the other hand, dialog scenes are clear and easy to understand. The music soundtrack comes across nicely and is somewhat rich on the front side. The overall audio presentation is just fine.


7 out of 10


The Extras


Commentary by Donald Petrie Ė This is one of those commentaries where the director touches on just about anything thatís on screen, but also goes off to other topics. Petrie sounds like a nice guy, but his comments are generally not too interesting. It might be the film he comments on, which isnít a favorite of mine, so Iím inclined to not really care much for some of the production trivia or praise he utters. This is a decent track in general.


5 Deleted Scenes Ė These arrive with optional commentary by Donald Petrie. The scenes donít add too much to the film, but theyíre nice to check out once. Petrie is soft-spoken as he explains the scenes. He does not really offer reasons for cutting them, however, anyone can probably guess.


In addition, there are two featurettes. The first one, called "Mapping out the Perfect Movie," features interviews with the cast and crew, available from a long list that you have to choose from. Itís nothing spectacular, just harmless talk and clips of the film. The second one, "Mapping out the Perfect Location," is pretty self-explanatory, and overall not very interesting. It explores the filmís locations (there are quite a few nice ones) and features more interviews and clips. Rounding out the extras is a music video for "Somebody Like You" by Keith Urban and the filmís Theatrical Trailer.


You can select to view the film with optional English subtitles. The DVDís main menu looks cute, but the rest of the menus are not animated. The 115-minute feature is organized into twenty-one chapters.


6 out of 10




How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a lighthearted romantic comedy with a twist to its premise, though itís also sillier that it should be. Both Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey allow for some chemistry, despite the predictability of the film. Paramountís video and audio presentations are fine but not up to par with some of the studioís previous DVD releases. The amount of special features makes sense since the film grossed a little over $100 million at the box office, but the overall value is only decent. I will recommend How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days for the couples seeking a film to rent on a Saturday night, since the overall package is worth it. However, I probably would not recommend the film to anyone else.









OVERALL (not an average)





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