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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

You just know that a romantic comedy with leads who have cute names is going to spell trouble. In the case of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, our plucky pair is Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) and Ben Barry (Matthew McConaughey). Andie is a "how-to" columnist for a leading women's magazine, but lately she's spending just as much time worrying about her clingy co-worker Michelle (Kathryn Hahn), who seems to be constantly heartbroken from dating guys and then losing their attention inside of a week. Hoping to cast some light on the problem, Andie thus decides to pen an anti-advice column on (you guessed it) how to lose a guy in ten days, which will require that she meet a new guy and drive him off in a hurry. Meanwhile, in a nearby Manhattan office, ad executive Ben is hoping to land a lucrative diamond contract, while his boss (Robert Klein) would rather assign it to his top two women on staff. In order to get the pitch, Ben has to prove he can make a woman fall in love with him in... ten days. And once Andie's plan is shared by the magazine's editor (Bebe Neuwirth) with Ben's female co-workers, it isn't long before Ben and Andie find themselves face-to-face in a trendy Gotham watering hole, each pretending to be interested in dating the other while hiding their hidden agendas. Care to guess what follows? While not an outstanding entry into the rom-com genre, 10 Days is a film that works in specific moments and scenes, if not taken as a whole. The set-up, while completely contrived, is somewhat clever, particularly with its abundant subtextual possibilities. And the middle-third of the film is funny most of time, with Hudson making every wrong move in the book — not only does she start moving girly things into Ben's apartment, she parks a plush pink toilet-seat rug in his bathroom, drags him to a Celine Dion concert, and Photoshops their faces together in a photo album to show him what their children will look like (she's even picked out the names). For guys, it makes for scary, squirm-inducing comedy, while some women may fidget if they recall doing anything remotely like Andie in past relationships. But beyond the devious deceptions, the story really has no possibility for an unexpected outcome. Of course the two will have to get together, but could we please have a rom-com once in a while that doesn't involve one party chasing the other one down for a last-minute declaration of love before the credits roll? The final reel of the film is a check-your-watch affair, but 10 Days isn't all fluff. Hudson is so appealing with this sort of material that she runs the risk of resigning her talent to this genre for eternity, while Texan hunk McConaughey play the motorcycle-riding, unreconstructed frat-boy to perfection. Both performers deserve better material and should send their agents shopping before they lose their careers in another ten films. Paramount's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days DVD features a clean anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Features include a chatty commentary with director Donald Petrie, two "making-of" featurettes, deleted scenes, and a music video. Keep-case.

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