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Just in time for Valentine’s Day

If you didn’t know it was Valentine’s Day this Friday, after seeing the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” a dimly lit bulb would go off somewhere on your radar. You might think it was “Love Day,” or perhaps “I really, really like you Day” or maybe even “I think you’re cool and I have a crush on you day.” But you’d know something was up.

Initially I thought this movie would be the quintessential ‘chick flick’ but figured what the hell? It’s Valentine’s Day, why not spread the “love stuff” on thick?. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this movie, while it is a total chick flick, it’s also witty, well written and entertaining despite Kate Hudson.

This movie accurately portrayed the level of competition that can occur within the confines of a new and budding relationship while maintaining a funny and somewhat realistic view of how people fall in love and why.

While I did find the premise of the movie entertaining and somewhat engaging, I was dismayed to find that the female role in this movie was the one who tried to end the relationship, and the male role was the one who tried to save it. Hence, the correlation with Valentine’s Day.

The lead characters Andie Anderson, (Kate Hudson) and Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) work well together on screen. Andie is a “how-to” columnist for “Composure” Magazine (similar to Cosmo) who is bored writing material she considers trivial, and has aspirations for writing about “things that matter,” you know, politics, religion etc. During an editorial meeting, in an effort to help a coworker, Andie suggests writing a story about ‘dating a guy in reverse.’ Her editor, superbly played by Bebe Neuwirth reconfigures the idea into “How to lose a guy in 10 days.” “Why ten days?” “Because we go to press in 11 days” her editor reminds Andie.

Meanwhile, advertising executive Benjamin Barry discovers he’s been passed over by his boss for pitching an idea for a huge diamond advertising campaign. Upon discovering the news he confronts his boss and the colleagues who have been assigned to pitch the idea that he’s most suited for the job. Disagreeing, his boss challenges him to prove he’s better suited to pitch elegance and love than the two female ad executives he’s assigned. He bets his colleagues that he can make any woman fall in love with him. While at an after work cocktail club, his colleagues accept the challenge, and knowingly select the lucky lady as Andie Anderson. Why ten days? Because in ten days, Benjamin’s company is going to throw a huge party for the new diamond clients. Benjamin’s boss, played by Robert Klein, is the one who will make the determination as to the weather or not Benjamin has succeed.

This movie capitalizes on all the missteps taken by women in the beginning of relationships. Such things include seducing men on the first date, purposefully leaving behind a purse (for the assurance of another date) to saying those dreaded ‘three little words’ by the third date, to making a photo album of their wedding day. The arsenal of gimmicks and tricks almost seem unending and funny. I especially liked the “love fern.”

On the other hand, Benjamin Barry, with the exception of one scene when Andie interrupts poker night at Ben’s place, is portrayed as a tolerant, committed, loyal man. Granted these traits are only so he can secure this bet much in the same fashion as Andie’s tenaciousness is to win her bet.

Throughout the movie you do wonder how each of them will win their bets and how it unfolds.

At one point in the movie, Andie accuses Ben of flirting with another woman. Ben responds, “Honey, how could I be interested in another woman? There are plenty of other personalities inside you that I’m interested in!”

A happy ending is a given, but how will it unfold so that the characters will stay together and live happily ever after?

Kate Hudson plays her role a bit ditzy at times. Her character, while claiming to have a masters in journalism from Columbia, still comes across too “blonde.”

Matthew McConaughey does well in his role. He portrays Benjamin as a bit of a hottie, who doesn’t date (yeah, right).

As with most romantic comedies these days, the punch lines are predictable. But perhaps that is some of the appeal of such films.

This movie is not a must see in the theater, and could wait to be seen on video in a matter of months while eating Chinese food and ice cream with your sweetie. However, if you’re into romantic comedies, and would like some things to do and not to do while dating, you may be able to pick up a few tips by watching it on the big screen.