Suppose you're an up-and-coming writer for a Cosmo-type magazine who's stuck with writing those predictable "How To" columns. Lo and behold, your big break comes one day when your editor tells you she'll let you write whatever you want if you find a man, make him fall in love with you, and dump you in 10 days -- then do an article about it. Would you accept the challenge? If you're ambitious enough, you might. But what if the man involved is betting he can make you fall for him in the same amount of time? And neither one of you knows about the other's motivation? That's the wacky premise behind How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, a romantic comedy co-starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.
While the movie takes too long in setting up this implausible situation, once Hudson starts on her daring assignment, the fun begins. Appearing smart, warm and sexy when McConaughey first meets her, she tries to destroy the relationship with some hilarious antics -- using baby talk, filling his apartment with feminine objects, putting a puppy (a pet that's not housebroken) on his pool table, interrupting his poker game, and so forth.
Although many of these scenes go too far over the top, Hudson makes them work, proving her Oscar win for Almost Famous was no fluke and demonstrating a flair for comedy similar to her mother's (Goldie Hawn). McConaughey, however, never seems "with it" here -- a troubling insincerity seeps through, even when his character should be showing some indication that he's actually fallen in love. Still, I have to admit a lack of objectivity regarding this popular actor as a romantic lead. He won me over in such films as U-571 and Frailty, but I can't accept him as a love interest. His lack of believability in The Wedding Planner almost ruined that film for me, and the same holds true for his performance in How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Supporting cast member Bebe Neuwirth (Tadpole) shines in the role of Hudson's demanding boss. Watching Neuwirth, as the dynamic editor, run such fast-paced staff meetings made me glad I'm not working for someone like her. Nevertheless, she definitely adds welcome energy to this uneven romantic comedy.
Based on the book by Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days emerges as a visual reminder about what not to do if you want a romance to last -- but it also concludes that, in most cases, true love conquers all.
(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated "PG-13" for some sex-related material.)