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Hudson Hawked

Kate gets the hard sell in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.


Astaire and Rogers. Hepburn and Tracy. Heck, Vardalos and Corbett. Over the decades, Hollywood has proved that its romantic comedies needn't suck. But alas, they often do, as is the case with How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

The setup is an industrial-strength emetic featuring relentlessly cutesy peeks into the parallel worlds of stupid-women's publishing and stupid-men's advertising. Inhabiting the former is fledgling "how to" columnist Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson), a saucy piece writing a saucy piece (see the movie's title). Her quarry, also a strutting, alliterative-named cliché, is Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey), a cocky ad honcho who -- for reasons too stupid to explain -- needs to coax a woman to fall in love with him within ten days so he can become point man for the world's biggest diamond company.

If you stay seated, it's your problem. You'll be subjected to a vulgar campaign to sell Hudson straight down your unsuspecting throat. Strong work in About Adam and Almost Famous set her apart from most American movie princesses who have supposedly "earned" their fame, but this slop is no shining moment. As she squeaks and chirps like a trained bird, one merely recalls how amusing her mother, Goldie Hawn, could be by comparison.

We receive tiny life rafts of dry humor from his coworkers (Thomas Lennon and Adam Goldberg), which are swiftly sunk by hers (Kathryn Hahn and Anne Parisse). As pressure builds from the expectations of his boss (Robert Klein) and hers (Bebe Neuwirth), we watch the wanna-be cobra-and-mongoose duo traipse through an ill-advised screening of Sleepless in Seattle, a visit to his family (complete with fart gag) and a genuinely horrifying duet of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain." It's all awful, but what can you expect from a couple whose entire value system is built on Knicks tickets? The biggest challenge to viewing 10 Days is deciding whether to think of its lead characters as despicable swine or vile dung-weasels.

Besides, 10 Days is utterly implausible -- even the toughest hussy would do a 180 on her pointy little heel if her dumb hunk were inconsiderate enough to listen to UB40. Further butchering credibility, Therese DePrez's production design creates for Ben not a man's apartment but a female fantasy of a man's apartment. (Honey, no straight single man has a pedestal sink). Even Andie's abrupt shift to vegetarianism (immediately after wolfing down lobster) is hijacked directly from Naomi Watts' hypocrisy in David Baer's hilarious and informative short film "Never Date an Actress." The only lesson here is how to irritate. This is a stupid movie for stupid people. If you're a stupid person, knock yourself out. Please.

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