How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) — Double bets equals double making up!

“Our love fern! You let it die!”

Justin’s rating: A dozen dead and dried roses (why do women keep those around anyway? what’s attractive about dead, dried flowers?)

Justin’s review: If you believe the movies, no guy and girl has been able to hook up romantically for the past 30 years without using a huge heaping of deceit. It’s as if the normal dating procedure just wasn’t good enough for Hollywood, what with that pesky communication and all, so they made it law that every romantic movie has to have someone placing a bet over a date, someone pretending to be someone they’re not in order to trick the opposite sex into liking them, or someone “accidentally” falling in love with his fiancée’s maid of honor the night before the wedding, and feeling conflicted about it against the backdrop of a musical montage.

Perhaps How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days is a really clever satire on this whole twisted cinematic dating ritual, but I don’t think it is. It’s merely the same subterfuge times two, out to throttle the minds of any singleton looking for a shred of hope in their love life. Hey you, just give up now! She’s really a brain-sucking alien. He’s not a millionaire. She’s the princess of Belgium in disguise. He’s as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll. She’s a superhero by day, and circus clown by night. He’s a movie critic. It’s all hopeless, I tells ya!

Andie’s (Kate Hudson) a Cosmo magazine-clone writer who comes up with an article idea on how to drive men away by doing the crazy things that girls tend to do. Like leaving the toilet seat down! Sheesh! How many times do I have to tell them, it makes it that much harder to aim in the dark! She picks up a guy, reels him in with a few kissy-boos, and slowly proceeds to crush his spirit over the course of a week and a half.

Unfortunately for her, the guy in question is Ben (Matthew McConaughey), who after watching She’s All That ten times in a row, places a bet with his advertising company to make a girl fall in love with him in the same ten days. It’s one of those Movie Coincidences so improbable that you can’t question it or your head might burst into illogical confetti.

Since Ben is all cocky and surefire and full of spunk that Andie’s gonna fall in love with him and his shirtless ways, he finds about every opportunity possible to peel off that stifling shirt and wiggle his pecs at the female audience. It’s hard to root for him. Yet, Andie’s fakery is even worse, as she toys and outright ruins this stampeding male ego (at one point, she gives his Mr. Happy an extremely feminine name), just to get a good article out of it. So who are you supposed to like here? In the hands of most directors, this would become a dark comedy intent on exposing the soulessness of the gender wars, but here all lies are counterbalanced by Kate Hudson’s winning smile and a couple of fart jokes.

It’s impossible to hate Andie, since she’s such a gorgeous and goofily likable girl, but I’m sure that any man seeing this film will walk away with yet another reason to distrust the opposite gender. Love and relationships are hard enough as it is, without adding a nice layer of suspicion that your girlfriend might be trying to manipulate you into an emasculating contract so binding that all of the devil’s lawyers couldn’t crack it.

The most enjoyable part of the film came when both Ben and Andie silently called off their psychotic behavior to enjoy a weekend at Ben’s family (who cheerfully bond over the classic card game B.S.). It made me wonder why a movie would focus on driving away a date — which is pretty easy to do, especially if you have a pug dog who likes to jump on their lap and sneeze in their face — instead of maybe tackling the more difficult question of how to keep a relationship strong and working. Oh, here’s an idea: STOP LYING TO EACH OTHER! Go ahead, tell her about your jungle rot! You, tell him about how you strongly feel that female leg hair keeps you warm at night!

As I sat in the theater (populated by a couple dozen teenage girls, a score of old maids and the standard Creepy Guy in the back row), I clutched a tear-laden Kleenex to my bosom and knew that The One for me was right around the corner at the concessions stand. If only, if only someone would make me a bet to go out with her. Then she would be mine.

Drew’s rating: I’ve killed relationships in way less than 10 days. Can you say “used to have a mullet?”

Drew’s review: Top Ten Ways To Lose A Guy In 10 Days:

10) When allowed to pick what movie we watch, choose Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood over Empire Records.

9) Ask whether I really want to drink that much. Yes, I do, and you’ve just added one.

8) Don’t allow at least a little foolin’ around by the fourth date.

7) Ask if I think you’re fat. For bonus points, follow by not eating the expensive meal you just ordered.

6) Make suggestions on what we should name the kids.

5) Say how glad you are you sowed your wild oats in college, so now you can commit to a long-term relationship without all that raw, meaningless sex getting in the way.

4) Complain that comic books are just adolescent power fantasies for little boys (so?) and men’s magazines are demeaning to woman (er…).

3) Ask to store feminine hygiene products in my apartment.

2) Name my manhood “Princess Sophia.”

1) Cry.

…what, the movie? It’s a romantic comedy. Kate Hudson (hot), Matthew McConaughey (apparently also hot). There’s some absurd bets, they lie to each other, shenanigans ensue, and a very slight chance they’ll end up together anyway. A few cute moments, a completely inane ad campaign (“Frost yourself”… didn’t Mom warn me about that?), and some amusing friends round out the mix. My wife likes it, I find it sporadically entertaining, John Wayne would hate it. Er… what else is there to say?

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