How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, based on a self-help book parody by Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long (which includes stick figure cartoons illustrating the mistakes women make), is a doggedly formulaic romantic comedy, buoyed by a few genuinely amusing scenes and the potent charisma of its two stars. Kate Hudson has a genuine comedic gift, somehow locating a real live person amid the crass conventions of her role, while Matthew McConaughey brings his roguish charm to full bear. As Andie (Hudson) thinks of new (and not particularly inventive) ways of tormenting Ben (McConaughey), her victim, director Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality) keeps things relatively light and breezy, letting the actors do splendid work. The scene in which Andie comes up with a humiliating "pet name" for Ben's manhood is particularly well played. Kathryn Hahn and Annie Parisse are also very good as Andie's co-workers, named after the book's authors. Despite their efforts, and solid work from Adam Goldberg and Thomas Lennon as Ben's co-workers, the film isn't very convincing in portraying these peoples' work lives, which are pivotal to the fairly ludicrous plot that the filmmakers (including Burr Steers, the writer-director of Igby Goes Down, who gets a screenwriting credit here) have wrapped around the book's goofy relationship tips. There's also some unnecessary and embarrassing scatological humor (an incontinent dog and a flatulent uncle) thrown in. But the film is serviceable entertainment, just funny and romantic enough. Then, toward the end, it goes through the predictable motions, presumably set in stone for every Hollywood romantic comedy from the 1980s on, to wrap things up in the accustomed manner, befitting stick figures more than fully drawn characters.
by Josh Ralske review