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Blu-ray Review: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

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As romantic comedies go, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days may not rank up there with Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally, but it's certainly better than the typical entry into the genre.  Matthew McConaughey may not be the actor or comedian that Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally) and Tom Hanks (Sleepless in Seattle) both are, but he's almost certainly better looking.  As for Kate Hudson, she certainly holds her own against Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally) and… Meg Ryan (Sleepless in Seattle).  All comparisons aside though, both McConaughey and Hudson are enjoyable on screen separately and together, and there's enough amusement taking place in this film to keep the audience entertained.

Directed by Donald Petrie (Grumpy Old Men), the film follows Andie Anderson (Hudson) and Benjamin Barry (McConaughey) as they each try to manipulate the other in the fake relationship they both established unbeknownst to the other.  The basic plot of the film is that Andie, the "How to" columnist for a women's magazine, is writing an article on how to lose a guy in 10 days, whereas Ben, an advertising executive, is trying to convince his boss (Robert Klein) that he can make anyone fall in love with him in 10 days so that he can work a big account.  The two are put together by some of Ben's coworkers who know what Andie is up to even if Ben doesn't.

The rest of the film follows a series of entirely predictable set of plot points which have Andie feigning ridiculous actions in order to try and get Ben to dump her as Ben does everything in his power to keep the "couple" together.  Of course, by the end of the film they both figure out what the other was up to, get angry, and kiss and make up – it is a romantic comedy after all.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days works as well as it does because McConaughey and Hudson give it their all, fully embracing the insanity of both the plot and the characters.  Both are charming, charismatic, and fun to watch on screen.  That is to say, they have all the necessary factors to make a movie where everyone in the audience knows exactly what is going to take place from the time the opening credits roll until the time the final credits roll, enjoyable.

Additionally, the two main characters are surrounded by a solid cast group of secondary ones.  In addition to Robert Klein, the film features Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Michele, and Bebe Neuwirth. 

Petrie is able to keep everything light and lively, moving briskly from one day to the next so that the audience is never quite given enough time to work out how foolish everything taking place actually is.  After all, if one stopped to consider just what Andie and Ben think that they're doing to the other, they would be terribly unlikable characters.  Petrie's direction – along with Hudson and McConaughey's solid performances – make sure that the audience is never allowed to stop and think long enough to work it all out.

The new Blu-ray release contains the typical set of bonus features:  a director's commentary, a featurette on how the film came to be made which is more on the process of getting to filming than it is on the filming itself, a talk with the writers of the original book (Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long), a music video, and deleted scenes.  There is also an odd discussion featurette entitled "Why the Sexes Battle" which attempts to place men and women's roles in a cultural and historical context.  While nominally interesting, it is never quite believable.

The technical side of the release is somewhere around the average for a Blu-ray romantic comedy.  That is to say, that while the Dolby TrueHD mix is a good one – no one will have to play with the remote constantly adjusting the volume between dialogue and music scenes – and that surrounds do come into play when needed, there simply isn't that much for them to do.  McConaughey and Hudson look flawless in the film (Hudson's makeup changing colors once or twice on the same night is due to the makeup people not paying attention, not the post-production folks), and the amount of detail and clarity given to the picture is more than adequate.  What is most disturbing about the release is that while every one-sheet and poster for the film feature Hudson in the yellow (perhaps golden) dress she wears to the big party at the end of the film, for some reason the artwork on the Blu-ray cover has changed her yellow dress to silver.  It is a moderately inexplicable occurrence and wholly foolish.

There is nothing terribly new or startling about How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, it is a film that seems to know exactly where it stands in the pantheon of filmmaking.  It certainly won't change anyone's view of the world or relationships, but it absolutely does provide an evening's worth of entertainment.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.