How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (12A)
Dating is a dangerous game – especially when, in modern parlance, you’re a loser or, worse, a bit of a minger.
So when girls’ magazine writer Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) sees how badly her awkward, over-eager and desperate pal is to land a decent man, she volunteers to write a piece for the magazine showing how to avoid the pitfalls of being the Date from Hell.
She’ll find a guy, overwhelm him with love, tread perilously close to the ‘stalker’ line, call him 20 times a day but leave no messages, upset his boys’ nights in, complain about his cooking and spoil his chances to watch his favourite basketball team. This, she concludes, will culminate in him dumping her within 10 days. Then she’ll write about it. The title of the feature: How to lose a guy in 10 days.
Meanwhile, across town, advertising exec Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) makes a bet with the harpies who are trying to muscle in on his firm that he can make a girl fall in love with him. The winner gets to handle the multi-million dollar account for a diamond dealer.
Needless to say these two eligible singles are thrust together – he trying hard to impress the girl, she trying even harder to drive him steadily insane.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a vibrant, fresh and at times extremely funny romantic comedy with two stars who offer the best chemistry of any love story in a long time.
It helps that the story, however faintly preposterous, is wittily written and played, and particularly by Hudson, daughter of Goldie Hawn, who appears to have inherited her mother’s inherent knack for squeezing comedy from the slimmest opportunity. She gets all the best moments as an ambitious smiley blonde used to getting her own way, but who ends up falling for this basketball-obsessed, beer swilling, motorbike riding bachelor with the twinkling eyes and easy manner.
Among her ingenious tortures are buying a ‘love fern’ that will grow as their relationship grows, moving chintzy towels, girls’ creams and perfumes into his bathroom, naming his manhood Princess Sophie, wailing ‘My boyfriend thinks I’m fat’ in the midst of a restaurant crowded with other women (think of the daggers directed at McConaughey) and, best of all, creating a photo album packed with home-made pictures of children they haven’t yet had. And all this happens in a week.
Directed with rom-com flair by Donald (Mystic Pizza, Miss Congeniality) Petrie, this is the kind of fluffy nonsense that most Hollywood stars can do in their sleep. Yet there are genuine laughs to be had, mainly courtesy of the realistic script, which seeks to grab onto any nightmare dating tale and stuff it into the story. And it works.
The movie begins to unravel as Benjamin and Andie begin to fall in love for real, and the closing reel is a real emetic. Yet their journey up to that point is enjoyable, even if men and women alike will cringe as Hudson goes through the routine of metamorphosing from bright, go-getting professional to clingy, ‘me-me-me’ attention seeker.
Star rating: ***