Film review: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), directed by Donald Petrie
tl;dr: RomCom paint by numbers that hasn’t necessarily aged well.
Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is a columnist for Composure, a woman’s magazine in the style of Cosmopolitan, but she wants to write Pieces That Matter, not keep on churning out frivolous How To-guides. When her friend and co-worker Michelle (Kathryn Hahn) gets dumped for the umpteenth time, she comes up with the idea for a new How To article. How to lose a guy in ten days. She’ll find some random guy to date, and then turn into Girlfriend From Hell, doing all the mistakes possible. For science! Her editor (Bebe Neuwirth) is on board, and eagerly cheered on by both Michelle and her other co-worker friend Jeannie (Annie Parisse), she sets out looking for a suitable man to get dumped by.
Meanwhile on Madison Avenue, Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) and his friends/co-workers (Adam Goldberg and Thomas Lennon) want to get a certain big ticket client’s account and spearhead their diamond campaign. His boss (Robert Klein) was planning to give it to the advertising company’s luxury brand experts (Michael Michele and Shalom Harlow) instead, but is inclined to give Ben’s proposal a go. If Ben can get a random woman to genuinely fall in love with him before a big diamond gala in ten days’ time, he’ll get the account. Otherwise, it will go to his rivals as originally intended. Said rivals happen to spot a certain journalist across the room, and knowing about the article she’s about to start working on, there’s no way they can lose this bet.
Cue a film where Andie’s trying to do everything to get Ben to dump her, and Ben having to put up with Andie’s antics because he has to find a genuine date for the gala. It plays out exactly how you’d expect, because paint-by-numbers RomComs rarely surprise you, and they’re not really meant to either, but … it’s nice when they have to work at it a bit, because it was all a little too easy. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t seen a stereotypical RomCom in such a long time that I’ve gone off them? (Shock horror.)
Anyway. The two leads are suitably RomCom-y – she’s pretty, he’s handsome, they look great together – and the sidekicks suitably sidekick-y. Hahn in particular is great, but that woman is a severely underrated marvel, so I would expect nothing less.
As for the plot? I think these days we’d have a few things to say about the whole concept, because it feels dated and iffy (there’s a good amount of gaslighting going on), but kudos to them for at least addressing consent in the bedroom.
But overall? It’s fluff. It does exactly what it says on the tin, and that’s fine. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want. Plus, a film that ends with a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge ends on a good note.
3.6 out of 5 love ferns.