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IN SHORT: How to Lose Your Lunch in the Third Act. [Rated PG-13 for some sex-related material. 118 minutes]
"Suspension of Disbelief" is our film school term of this day. When you go into a theater to see a movie, you know that you're watching something that is, at its core, fake. A creation made for that screen. Since you inherently know that what is on screen isn't real you have to suspend your belief that it isn't real. If it is made well enough that you start to feel something, anything, or react to what you're seeing on screen, that's suspension of disbelief. at least that's what it was when we subjected ourselves to film school a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
So here comes How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, a film that, if it's inevitable outcome didn't mean it had to shoot itself in the foot, might have been a magnificent surprise. It takes to that metaphoric foot with a sledgehammer. Yeah, we're mixing metaphors. The writers of this thing know they have know way out of the corner they've written themselves into, so they disregard all that had come before, in Acts One and Two, essentially suspending their own sense of disbelief. Now consider why:
Benjamin Barrie (Matthew McConaughey) is a motorcycle riding, love 'em and leave 'em A-Type personality. The hotshot copywriter is a renowned lovehound at Warren Advertising and his inability to settle down has caused his boss (Robert Klein) to assign the DeLauer Diamonds account to his nemesis, Team Judy (Michael Michele and Shalom Harlow). Swearing that he can get any woman to fall deeply in love with him in the ten days until the official copyrighting assignment is announced at a lavish party, Team Judy sics him on the one woman they know he can never land (how they know this is something that is never passes along to us cash paying yutzes, by the way) . . .
Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson), writer of a "How To" column at Cosmo like Composure Magazine. Andie's pal Michelle (Kathryn Hahn) has been dumped yet again by another potential new boyfriend and publisher (Bebe Neuwirth) wants an article with all the nitty gritty details. When Michelle won't do it, the idea metamorphs into an article to bear the title of this film. Andie, desperate to do "serious" articles about politics and global warming, agrees to do the piece if she gets kick up from the columnist ghetto, to feature writer.
Heck any woman we've ever known, ex-girlfriend or not, could do such an article blindfolded but that wouldn't be any fun. What would be fun is watching Andie, after a pleasant first date with Ben, whip him into walking sludge. What this blonde bomber does to Mister Stud won't be recounted here. You've probably lived through at least one of 'em sometime in your life. It is farce at its finest and the louder and bigger it gets, the funnier it gets. Remember, Ben has to take everything Andie throws at him. That he does only makes her go ballistic.He's got to maintain the deal until the big party and she's got to keep plugging away until deadline, the day after.
So, what do you suppose happens when each party discovers the set up? Everything falls apart with a big Crash Thud Boom Say Goodnight Gracie, that's what. What had been a giggle, because farces can go that extra mile, becomes numbingly impossible to believe, suspension of whatever notwithstanding. That involves revealing the big surprise ending (gee... what do you think it could be?) which we don't do.
You already know. No one at our screening believed her reaction or behavior. No one believed his actions, either. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days crashes into a wall, just as if someone on the writing team had opened up a textbook on how to write screenplays and skipped directly to "How to End an Improbable Story, Improbably". Lightweight supporting characters, ignored for most of the film, suddenly have big story arcs. New drunkards are introduced (drunks are always good for a laugh, that's chapter three in the textbook we think) and even composer Marvin Hamlisch, taking the cash to allow himself to be made a fool of, can't save this fast sinking turkey
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, he would have paid . . .
Rent it. When you get to the big DeLauer Diamonds party scene, shut it off and make up your own ending. Anything will be better than what you get.
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