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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
from Film Forum, 02/13/03

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (Paramount), directed by Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality), stars a glamorous guy (Matthew McConaughey) and a glamorous gal (Kate Hudson) in a romantic comedy during a time when theaters are full of heavy Oscar-nominated dramas. This smart scheduling move earned the studio $24.1 million in the film's opening weekend, beating Shanghai Knights and other challengers. However, the film is not impressing critics.

McConaughey plays a man who tries to get a woman (Hudson) to fall in love with him so that he can win a bet. Even as the guy plays his game, he becomes the unwitting subject of that woman's magazine article, "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." As their opposing plots play out, hilarity ensues.

Lynn Nusser (Preview) objects to the characters using foul language and discussing sexual matters. But she believes "Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson have great on-screen chemistry in this chick flick."

This is open to debate. Gerri Pare (Catholic News Service) despairs of the film's stars: "Yes, Kate Hudson can be adorable, but the script has her flirting and batting her eyelashes with such abandon that she wears you out. McConaughey starts looking uncomfortable in the role once Andie shows her spoiled brat and clingy side. The lack of sparkling dialogue in a romantic comedy is especially noticeable."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) is only mildly critical: "The charismatic stars are just likable enough to overcome most of the script's flaws. Alas, the final act proves too much (or provides too little) for the cast. The film builds to the point where the two leads discover each other's deception and then doesn't quite know where to go from there."

Bob Waliszewski (Focus on the Family) argues, "This is supposed to be a tender love story about an unlikely couple. But think about it. What kind of person would be so deceptive, selfish and cold as to accept a writing assignment that involved using and abusing an unsuspecting soul? What kind of person would make a wager based on manipulating another's emotions and trust? Am I supposed to sit in the theater and actually root for such a person? In real life, people who use people like this are miserable folks who stumble from one rocky relationship to another. This film makes it seem as if you can begin on the wrong foot, but wind up firmly planted. It just isn't so!" Similarly, Phil Boatwright (The Movie Reporter) writes, "Everything about these characters seemed superficial and unfeeling. I expect the reason the plot bothered me so was that it seemed to revel in mankind's most negative aspect—the exploiting of others."

Cliff Vaughn (Ethics Daily) says, "It should cause critical minds to think about the phenomenon of relationship as game."

Most impressed is Holly McClure (Crosswalk): "Hudson … is adorable and fits perfectly into this kind of role. McConaughey simply has 'it'—he's perfect as a romantic lead and plays a character most men will relate to and women will adore. The scenes these two go through to torture and lure each other into their bet are sometimes painful but always humorous to watch. This will be the popular date movie for Valentine's Day because it will leave you smiling and longing to find that true love."

Smiling? Not Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films). He argues, "The movie's biggest problem, and it's an insurmountable one, is that it takes two likeable, attractive stars and then forces them to engage in embarrassing, uncomfortable, unpleasant interactions in which neither they nor anyone around them is having any fun."

Reunited Knights Offer Hilarious Stunts, Hollow Screenwritingfrom Film Forum, 02/20/03

Last week, Christian film critics were dismayed by the relationship dynamics on display in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. This week, Dick Staub's Culture Watch features a summary and post-viewing discussion questions for the movie. The reviewer writes, "A light, fluffy storyline is unintentionally laden with a sad commentary on the superficiality of a 'sleep together' early and then end-the-relationship syndrome common among today's young adults."

In stark contrast, Susan Parker (Christian Spotlight) says, "If you enjoy a good laugh and a warm fuzzy, you will be delighted with this film. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days provides an entertaining and sweet alternative to the average "boy meets girl, girl doesn't like boy, boy and girl struggle but eventually like each other and live happily ever after" formula. The movie provides an example of how we should all treat our relationships."