Friday, August 28, 2009

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Review by Muchacha Motorista

Muchacha Motorista returns with a great review of a quintessential "chick flick":

"Chick flicks" are like candy. Not rich candy like Godiva chocolate or anything like that, but just plain old drug store candy. Skittles, Starburst, Spree. Colorful, fun, sticky-sweet... without any nutritional value. Too much candy may rot your teeth; too much superficial entertainment may rot your brain. That said, not everything needs a deeper value. Sometimes it is good just to buy candy at the drug store, and sometimes it is good just to turn on a chick flick.

And that's is exactly the kind of experience you ought to be looking for when you turn on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Kate Hudson plays Andie Anderson, a columnist for a women's magazine who (surprise, surprise) wants to be serious writer covering important issues. To help out a friend, she agrees to write a story how to turn guys off, and to use personal experience by making a guy fall for her and then leave within ten days. At the same time, Matthew McConaughey plays Ben Barry who makes a bet to make a woman fall in love with him within ten days. So you see where this is going.

No shocker, they are actually perfect for each other, but these games they're playing get in the way of them having a real relationship. Wacky hijinks ensue as Andie tries every trick in the book (specifically, the book How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days by Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long... but more on them later) to turn him off. You know, things like putting stuffed animals all over his apartment, and calling him every few minutes, and buying him a "love fern" to represent their relationship. I don't think women actually do these things, mind you... I suspect this is an over-exaggerated version of the little annoying habits women sometimes have based on their insecurities. But the crazy stuff is funnier.

And the movie is that... funny. Sort of. The cute scene of them playing cards with his family: funny. Her learning to ride his motorcycle: funny. The creepy dog she buys to join their little family: not funny. The creepy dog peeing on his pool table and poker table: not funny.

This movie tries to walk a line between elegant and crude. I'm not sure if they thought a dog peeing on stuff would hook men into the film, or if they thought women would think it was silly. The elegant stuff they do alright, especially because the whole reason Ben Barry is trying to win the bet is to score a diamond ad campaign. His rivals' campaign slant is: "A woman in lust wants chocolate; a woman in love wants diamonds." But Ben, through Andie's inspiration, pushes the campaign: "Women: Frost Yourselves." Diamonds as frosting, no man required. The whole diamond sub-story is kind of silly. While I wasn't totally rooting for either Andie or Ben to succeed in their careers, I did really end up wanting them to remove their masks and succeed in the relationship they could have.

They are both gorgeous, by the way. Kate Hudson looks stunning dressed up and "frosted" (gag) and even better dressed down in a tank top and jeans. And something I wouldn't usually say, let alone write: I love her hair. Matthew McConaughey looks the best I've seen in any of his films and, again, especially dressed down in a t-shirt and jeans (he doesn't really need to wear a tux). At first I didn't care so much as to if they ended up together. Neither was especially likable, just good-looking. But by a scene part-way through at his family's house, it was hard not to want them to get together. It was as though all of sudden, these two gorgeous single people got their stride and their chemistry at about the 2/3 marker. Maybe it was the actors who got their stride, but I think more likely it was the script.

The Special Features of this Deluxe Edition are some of the same ol' same ol': a commentary, a music video, deleted scenes, and a making of the film titled "How to Make a Movie in 2 Years." Now, I was surprised by two of the extras on this DVD: "Why the Sexes Battle" and "Girls Night Out," both worthy of an extra note, but for opposite reasons.

"Why the Sexes Battle" has an anthropologist and an evolutionary expert discussing the reasons behind why men and women interact with the opposite sex the way they do. Everything from testosterone and estrogen's role, to our evolutionary needs for Alpha males and emotional females. A lot of this is stating the obvious, but I thought it was a smart addition to a story which is all about this very thing. Oh, and I think the evolutionary expert, Shanee Edwards has a crush on Matthew McConaughey. At one point, she uses him as an example by saying (passionately, I might add), "He's very good looking, he's muscular, and he just looks like he has GREAT genes." Matthew... Shanee is checking out your genes! One funny thing to note: when the extra ends, the title reappears, now called "The Battle of the Sexes," an editing department oops.

Now, "Girls Night Out" was the opposite of a smart thing to put on the DVD. It is just the two authors of the book, Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long talking about their book (which is just a list of things not to do to drive a guy off) but mostly spouting inane stereotypes about men and women. They try to put together sentences that make sense while acting as the experts, but they just come off as self-important air heads. At one point, Michele says, "That might be our problem. Guys can meet somebody right away and then be ready to marry because all their friends are getting married-- it's like the right thing to do. I think that's it. Then women aren't really like that; they're always out there ready to be married if they meet the right person. I think that guys, like, if she's good enough, if she's smart enough, and if it's the right time, that's good enough for them. But for women I don't think it's the same thing. Their standards are higher."


I won't watch the extras again ever. But as for the movie, for all its superficiality, I have to admit I'll watch it again. Probably when I have a cold and want something light and colorful. Just like for all its empty calories, I will for sure have drug story candy again. Though, I won't wait until I have a cold. And if you are looking for something a little easy and a little sweet, you could do worse than checking out How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.


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