How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

on February 07, 2003 by Bridget Byrne
It's fluff. With the right touch it might have been gossamer, but, alas, too heavily manhandled, it's more like lint. It floats and sparkles at moments, but it also often falls flat and crinkles up. It goes on too long and is trapped by too many clich├ęs. Yet sometimes the charm and grace of the stars peek through the clunky artifice.

The premise at least plays equal favorites between the sexes--not often the case in Hollywood's current notion of romantic comedy. Both the handsome guy and the cute dame are scheming liars, more ambitious for career than romance, and both are played by actors with genuine star gloss, even though Kate Hudson strains at times a little hard to prove hers, while Matthew McConaughey sometimes shies away too sheepishly from his. She's a bit much, he's not quite enough, but the writing and direction are more responsible for that than the actors.

She's Andie, a bright-young-thing magazine columnist dishing out how-to-live-and-love advice. He's Ben, a bright-young-thing ad man trying to snag a big diamond account. The machinations of their jobs thrust them into dating: As research for an article, she has to do most of the things girls shouldn't do if they want to keep a man; he can't dump her because proving he can win her heart will get him the jewel account. What happens is obvious at all times. The only curiosity left involves watching closely enough to try to decide on a scale of one to ten how much good chemistry there is between the leads, which scenes they handle better than others, and at what moments their hair looks best (when it's tousled and wet is the answer to that).

The crude touches of modern manners undercut a storyline that might have played more sensitively or more sweetly in previous eras, when sophistication cloaked the suggestive in a more attractive way. But, hey, it's today, so we get to see the dog who pees and the uncle who breaks wind and hear the names of private parts. We also get the one-dimensional friends and co-workers. Even a performer with the snap and sizzle of Bebe Neuwirth can't make the dragon lady editor into anyone really amusing. Both Hudson and McConaughey deserve better--a Lubitsch touch might have done so much! Starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. Directed by Donald Petrie. Written by Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan and Burr Steers. Produced by Lynda Obst, Robert Evans and Christine Peters. A Paramount release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for some sex-related material. Running time: 118 min

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