Friday, September 14, 2012


(February 2003, U.S.)

I believe I may have just put my own foot deep into my mouth! In my last post for THE HOURS, I stated the explicit facts distinguishing the serious drama from some silly "chick flick". So look what my next film turns out to be!

So let's go over the basic official formulaic rules of any modern 21st Century romantic comedy one at a time and how they pertain to this particular film, HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS:

1. The guy is great looking and practices a profession typically associated with true masculinity. In this case, Benjamin Barry (played by quintessential movie boyfriend Matthew McConaughey) is an advertising executive who genrally works in alcoholic beverages and sporting goods. Mucho macho, yes!!

2. The girl is great looking, fun spirited and practices a profession typicall associated with true femininity. In this case, Andie Anderson (played by Kate Hudson) is a writer for a woman's magazine called Composure as the "How to..." fluff writer. Aw, how pretty!

3. The best friend of the guy is usually a totally immature, goofball. In this case, he's played by Adam Goldberg. Enough said!

4. The best friend of the girl is either a flaming gay guy or a very eccentric girl. In this case, she's played by Kathryn Hahn as a girl who's heartbroken after being dumped by a guy she believed she had a true intimate, meaningful and soulful connection with. That precious relationship lasted only a week, by the way!

5. The couple in question will either meet by accident, be mutually DISinterested in each other at first, or will be thrown together by some sort of unique or bizarre circumstances. In this case, Ben and Andie meet over each of their own ulterior motives of wagers and professional purpose. Ben's made a bet with some colleagues that he can make any girl fall in love with him in ten days. Andie's goal is to date a guy and then drive him away in ten days by committing all sorts of classic relationship mistakes in order to write her next column, "How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days".

(you follow, right?)

6. The couple in question, despite their bullshit motives and quirky interference from their friends, will inevitably fall in love in the end and we, the moviegoing audience, will have justified our two hours of screen time and high ticket price in order to make sure we've seen such a film as this anywhere in the neighborhood of Valentine's Day. Yes, there's a reason these films are released in February!

So there you have it! The rules are clear and they very often don't change. Because they don't change, a guy like myself has to be incredibly tight about he picks and chooses which romantic comedies are worth his time and which are not. For me, what makes HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS a film worth watching and owning is watching Andie purposely drive Ben up the wall by acting like a needy, clingy, even creepy, over-the-top one-woman cirus. Really, you can't help but just want to reach into the screen or the TV and smack her a couple of times. The other is watching Ben take it all in for the purpose of winning his own bet. There are two particualr moments in the film when Ben is just so flabbergasted over what Andie has done to him, that the look on Matthew McConaughey's face is both irresistable and hilarious. The first moment is when Ben opens his bathroom medicine cabinet and finds that Andie has stocked it with all of her feminine products. Just look at his face in the mirror when he exclaims, "Oh, no!" The second is when Andie has just lovingly dragged Ben out of a Celine Dion concert which prevented him from seeing a big Knicks game instead. The deadpan look on Ben's face says it all. Because apparantly real men not only don't eat quiche, but they also don't go to Celine Dion concerts! My friend Greg, by the way, whom I've mentioned before in my blogs, was forced to attend not only a Celine Dion concert by an old girlfriend, but a Barry Manillow concert, as well. Feel for him, people! I do!

Favorite line or dialogue:

Michelle Rubin: "Oh, you are never going to pull this off."
Andie Anderson: "Watch me. Tonight, I'll hook a guy. Tomorrow, pull the switch. Before the ten days are up, I'm going to have this guy running for his life."
Jeannie Ashcroft: "You're not going to burn his apartment down or bite him, or anything?"
Andie: "No! I'm going to limit myself to doing everything girls do wrong in relationships. Basically, everything we know guys hate. I'll be clingy, needy..."
Jeannie: "Be touchy-feely."
Andie: "Yeah."
Jeannie: "Ooh, call him in the middle of the night and tell him everything you had to eat that day!"
Michelle: "What's wrong with that?
Michelle: "I'm kidding!

Okay, why would any hot blooded, horny guy seriously complain about a girl who's "touch-feely"??? I wouldn't.

1 comment:

  1. I have frequently said that the only reason many of these women (Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker)have any box office clout is that there are guys so desperate to get laid, they will go to anything their girlfriend(or wife) wants to see. I don't mean they have no talent, but they frequently have no discretion when it comes to movies that they make. I like romantic comedies, I am a sap for emotional manipulation, but I can't go with you on this one. Seeing it once was more than enough, owning it and re-watching it, really?
    I can admit I've caved in on a number of of these kinds of films, but I can't remember anything about them that I would want to pass on. The two bits you refer to are fine, but that's maybe a minute of screen time in a nearly two hour film. I did however like the very accurate summary of the formula rules.