This is an installment for a series on this blog where Joe Brown, Sports Editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle, and I have a back-and-forth review of a movie. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”
The Movie: “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”
Starring: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Hahn
Director: Donald Petrie
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies’ man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson covers the “How To” beat for “Composure” magazine and is assigned to write an article on “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days.” They meet in a bar shortly after the bet is made.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 42 percent
Brown: Through the first month of 2018, we at the JOE-DOWN have stuck to our bread-and-butter with action movies, with “Back to the Future Part III” wrapping up January. Really, the only thing missing in the last month has been John Travolta.
But now, February is here. And there’s something we need to discuss.
And when you need a movie about love in the most formulaic way possible, look up Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in the 2000s.
And you get “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”
Between a by-the-numbers romantic comedy and a clear case of how journalism doesn’t work, this makes for a perfect cringe-worthy viewing experience for Froemming and I.
I have a “how to” column to wrap up for my ball-busting editor, so why not give us your initial thoughts, Froemming?
Froemming: Is your “how to” column titled “How To Ruin A Friendship in 10 years?” Because with this movie, you almost did.
Brown: More like “How To Ruin A Friendship in 110 minutes.”
Froemming: This was one of the most difficult JOE-DOWN movies for me to sit through. One, I hate rom-coms. Two, this was such a paint-by-numbers rom-com that it lacked any charm, which blows my mind because McConaughey usually oozes (REDACTED) charm. Here, not so much.
And you know how difficult it was for me? I watched this in installments on my dinner breaks and when I got home from work. It took me five days to get through this. Every 10 minutes I had to get up and take a walk to calm myself down. So at least I got some exercise out of this ordeal.
So, right away I know we’re both going to hate this movie. The opening starts with a magazine montage, so we’re going to get a movie that portrays a journalist. Look, I haven’t seen “The Post,” but I’ve seen enough movies fail over and over again at portraying a real-life journalist. That’s because there’s nothing interesting about watching a reporter pick at Girl Scout Cookies while waiting for a source to call back.
Second, our leading lady is named Andie Anderson (Hudson). As a recovering sports reporter, I often hate parents for naming their kids asinine versions of other names.
Final thing about Andie: She is mad that she is resorted to writing “how to” columns for a trend magazine when her passion is to be a political columnist. She went to grad school at Columbia, after all!
Here is career advice for aspiring journalists: DO NOT go to grad school for journalism. You are wasting your time. Get practical experience OUTSIDE of a classroom.
Froemming: That was the first chilling sign for me that Andie was not a good person. A master’s in journalism is almost as effective as a bachelor’s in cooking fries at McDonald’s University.
Brown: She may as well majored in Why Bother?
Froemming: Second, and you and I had chatted about this but I’m still going to say it, if you want to be a political columnist, perhaps a fashion magazine isn’t the place to do it. Sure, we see it more often these days, but back in the early aughts, these magazines were filled with nothing but dreck. People are not lining up to pick up Glamour to see what Andie Anderson thinks of the PATRIOT Act.
Brown: Yes, it’s not at all the target audience for political commentary, but that didn’t bug me. Lauren Duca writes good political commentary for Teen Vogue, to the point that Fox News made it a point to demean her because of where she works.
I’ll be damned if I’m gonna become Tucker Carlson on Hudson’s character for wanting to write politics in a trend magazine like Composure.
Froemming: Why do you hate America?
Brown: Nope. Not going there right now.
Back to the movie, right before a staff meeting that’s announced person-to-person (instead of how it would actually be done in a newsroom, via email), Andie rushes over to her co-worker Michelle’s house, where she is moping over getting dumped by a guy she was seeing for, what, a week?
With her political commentary shot down by her editor, Andie takes inspiration from her depressed friend to write a column called “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” I’ll at least give the movie a little credit for having a reason for the arbitrary time (deadline is in 10 days).
Froemming: OK, before we move on, I want to note that the cast is really good, so I am even more angry this movie was so terrible.
- Kathryn Hahn as Michelle
- Adam Goldberg as Tony
- Thomas Lennon as Thayer
- Robert Klein as Phillip Warren
All of these bit players are great outside of this movie. Here, they somehow managed to not utilize any of their comedic talents.
Brown: Oh, Thomas Lennon has my favorite line in the movie when it’s revealed that Mariah Carey’s “Glitter” is his favorite movie. He says that “Glitter” is underrated.
Which reminds me: We’ll review “Glitter” one of these days.
Froemming: We still have a bunch of “Twilight” films to review as well.
OK, now we have Ben Barry (McConaughey) who is in advertising and in less than 10 minutes has his shirt off in the office. This is why I rarely venture into ad departments, I don’t want to know what’s going on in them.
And yes, our leads are Andie Anderson and Ben Barry, so it made my taking notes easy by using AA and BB. Also, the writer of this film was incredibly lazy.
Brown: Yeah, Ben is in the same boat as Andie. He’s unsatisfied with his ad job, which has him only working on stuff for beer and athletic stuff because 2003 was not woke.
He had a pitch for a diamond ad campaign that gets swooped up by his boss and a couple of female co-workers. Their rationale: Diamonds need to be marketed toward women, so have women work on the campaign. Then, when Ben makes his pitch that diamonds are for everyone, they don’t think Ben is capable of pulling that off because, apparently, the relationships in his life last as long as a goldfish’s memory.
So cue up another lazy-ass movie trope: The bet.
Ben says if he can get a woman to fall in love with him in 10 days (before a company party), he will get to lead the diamond campaign.
AND GUESS WHO GETS PICKED IN THE BAR TO BE HIS GIRL?! WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!
Froemming: I have a hard time believing an ad agency with a huge opportunity to land a diamond account would play a game like this to see who would lead the charge for the account.
I do believe a vapid glamour magazine would be totally down with someone making another’s life miserable for some copy.
Brown: Look, the most unbelievable thing in this entire movie is that the New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings are playing in the NBA Finals. They are two of the most inept franchises in basketball. You couldn’t artificially create that much suspension of disbelief. Whoopi Goldberg coaching the Knicks in “Eddie” is easier to believe.
Froemming: Do these teams have trouble making touchdowns or something?
So we get this lovable rom-com about two terrible people doing terrible things to one another in order to move up the chain in their careers. Isn’t that adorable? No. No it is not.
So Ben and Andie get on his motorcycle and have a night out, where everything is going amazing. Ben brings Andie back to his place, and they both (because of each’s ruse) decline to have sex because it is too soon.
It was at this moment I screamed on the inside for a solid minute or two.
Brown: Something that needs to be discussed about their night out: Is there a worse first-date dinner food than lobster?
You know what I want to do on a first date? Have pleasant conversation. Get to know a person. Have a drink or two.
Know what I don’t want to do? See someone, or even worse have myself, slurping a bunch of hard-to-reach meat out of lobster claws and tails while guzzling a bunch of melted butter. Lobster is delicious but it’s this disgusting amalgamation of strange fluids and stained bibs.
Did I just take us off the rails? I think I took us off the rails.
Froemming: You did the same with the lobster scene in “Flashdance.” I think you have an issue with lobster, man.
Brown: I have an issue watching people eat lobster. It’s gross. I’m embarrassed now, let’s move on!
Froemming: So as Andie leaves Ben’s place, they both think they have snagged their prey. Andie has left her purse at Ben’s, which he brings to work the next day.
His employees want him to dig around in this stranger’s purse. Ben, to some credit, says that’s not a good idea. Then one of these doofuses knocks it onto the ground, where Ben discovers some Knicks tickets for that night!
Of course, this was a trick on Andie’s part and OH MY GOD I DON’T CARE!!!!!
Sorry, I got a little hot there. Barry, for his part, sends Andie 100 roses to her office. At this point, both of them should be assuming the other is a sociopath.
Brown: I’ll excuse part of it because it’s allegedly Game 1 of the NBA Finals and TOTALLY not a random regular-season game that the filmmakers got to shoot for all of five minutes.
So with the game in the final minute, Andie flips the switch on her column plan and makes Ben run to the concession stand to get her a pop. He comes back for the final seconds, but she demands he go back because she needs a diet pop and she’s dying of thirst.
Nope. Whine all you want. You can wait for the buzzer, Andie. Plus, concession stands are usually closed that late in a game.
Froemming: Because Ben is trying to get her to fall in love with him, he does everything she wants. So missing the final moments of the game is what he has to do. Because of that account. That diamond account.
The next day, while in a meeting, Ben gets a call from Andie, who is ramping up her game here. He takes the call, again because his boss runs his company like a reality TV show, and they agree to go to a movie that night, her choice!
Brown: And her choice: Rom-com movie marathon! We come in on them watching “Sleepless in Seattle,” where there is a packed theater watching a decade-old movie (at that time). I mean, sure.
So, Andie decides to start talking loudly during the movie, drawing the ire of a big man in a sleeveless shirt behind them. Ben gets punched out for his efforts.
It was at this point where I remembered that, like a lot of America, I had a crush on Kate Hudson following her performance in “Almost Famous.” This is the movie that made me question why I’d have such a feeling.
Froemming: The big guy complains he can’t see when she snuggles her head into Ben. Dude is well over six-feet tall. He could see perfectly. He just wanted an excuse to punch Ben.
Then to make things even worse for me, the viewer, Andie checks on Ben to see if he is OK and he uses the moment to rub his head into her breasts. This was very creepy to me, and the film tries to play it off as cute.
Both are ramping everything up now. The next night, Ben has Andie over for dinner, where he is cooking a delicious looking lamb and all sort of crazy things. He also has the TV on for their romantic evening so he can watch the Knicks.
Andie comes over with a box of stuff she can keep in his apartment. This is what, day three? I can see that approach as being a win for her, because that would creep me out for sure.
Now, as dinner is being served, we get another attempt by Andie to have this guy ditch her. Brown, you can take this one.
Brown: Oh, you mean the part where Andie decides to make a move on Ben and name his penis Princess Sophia?
Froemming: I blacked that part out. Thanks for reminding me.
Brown: If there is a heaven, this is the moment where someone at the pearly gates will slap me because I wasted five minutes of my life watching this scene about how a woman should name a man’s penis.
I mean, what’s more awkward than this scene?
From this conversation, Andie later buys a dog and gives it one of the penis names Ben came up with: Krull, the warrior king.
Look folks, we’re not giving this movie a good review. Let’s put our head down and keep moving forward, Froemming.
Froemming: This is where we get to Ben’s great campaign idea that, frankly, horrified me and made me laugh way too hard. He pitches to his boss and coworkers this campaign: Frost Yourself. I feel like in any other situation, we would have had to put a (REDACTED) somewhere in there.
And it is a hit. I am sure as much of a hit as “Parc and Rec’s” Ben Wyatt’s Ice Town concept when he was mayor of Partridge, Minn. as a teenager.
Brown: This is the degree of ad campaign we’re dealing with here.
For the sake of speeding this up, I’ll touch on a few more of the things Ben has to tolerate from Andie and his story.
- Gets faked out thinking he’s going to another NBA Finals game, only for Andie to take him to a Celine Dion concert.
- She uses Photoshop to make a family photo album and show Ben what their kids would look like.
- Andie crashes a poker game at Ben’s apartment and drives everyone insane to the point where Ben does call the relationship off.
- Because Ben’s friends somehow benefit from him doing well, he comes back to Andie and suggest couples therapy, where Andie has Michelle be a therapist.
Ben… he’s going to go full Joker soon with how insane he’s being driven. Seriously, this relationship is more (REDACTED) up than the Joker and Harley Quinn.
Froemming: I wish we would have gotten more of Andie’s frustration with this guy who, despite all the crazy things she has thrown his way, still wants to be with her.
Now we come to the inevitable part were these two terrible people truly start falling for one another. Michelle goofed up and suggested they spend a weekend with Ben’s family on Staten Island. Here, Andie realizes what a good person Ben is through his nice family and a good old card game of (REDACTED), or BS for short. Ben is apparently amazing at sniffing out BS, except when the person BSing him is Kate Hudson.
After a day of hanging out, these two do what all 30-something couples do when visiting a relative’s home: Bump uglies in the bathroom while the family is just outside the door.
Have I said I hated this movie? Because I do. I truly do. It is like a very, very unfunny episode of “30 Rock,” which makes me angry because I love “30 Rock.”
Brown: I hope the moment I discover I love someone is while in the bathroom of my parents’ house. Wait, I don’t want that. I don’t want that at all. Never mind getting my stank all over their bathroom.
And now, Andie can’t do the story. She loves the guy. However, her editor needs it. If Andie is to ever write what she wants to write, she has to do it.
Or, you know, look for another job, Andie. And change your name to Andy while you’re at it!
But no, we reach day 10 and it’s time to go to the big diamond gala. But it seems like she’s going in just as Ben’s girlfriend and not the driven journalist who is hoping to break up with him by the end of the night.
Also, Kate Hudson in the yellow dress, now I remember why I had a crush on her in my teenage years. She is a beautiful woman. Andie Anderson is the enemy of the American people for being #FakeNews.
Froemming: At the gala, Ben’s boss decides to see if Andie is in love with Ben. He walks up to her and says she looks like someone who is in love. And she starts mumbling and getting frantic, because she does.
Not real subtle, but it got the job done. Ben gets the account. And because he does, the two women he was up against for the account start spreading rumors about how Ben paid her to fall in love with him.
I hated this movie so, so much.
Brown: And Lieutenant Dangle and the Hebrew Hammer blow it for Ben by revealing to Andie that Ben had a bet.
Like any reasonable person, Andie handles this well by getting wasted on wine and performing a duet of “You’re So Vain” when he finds out about the article from Andie’s editor.
The Hammer was right: “Tone-deaf and drunk is not a good combination.”
Froemming: Both of them are so angry the other was using them that they seemed to forget they are both terrible people who were doing a horrible thing to the other. But yeah, be outraged here you idiots. And they are outraged in song, which leads to Andie storming out of the gala still sporting an expensive diamond necklace.
They have some words after this, but I don’t care. Andie writes her column, which is a personal take on how in the process of losing a guy in 10 days, she ended up falling for her subject. Thinking that her sociopathic experiment now grants her the ability to pen columns on the Iraq War, she finds out that is certainly not the case.
Brown: Nope. She’s given permission to write what she wants except politics. And, Andie quits as a result, which good for her if you don’t feel professionally fulfilled.
However, this is annoying because it leads to the tried-and-true trope where Ben needs to stop Andie from leaving town and, you know, finding her professional fulfillment.
So, we get a motorcycle chase set to some ‘90s butt rock (The Gin Blossoms’ “Follow You Down” in this instance).
And… he convinces Andie to stay and be in love with him. Sure. Whatever. This movie needs to end.
I need to go water our love fern, so let’s get out of here and go to recommendations.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: No. You’ve seen one 2000s rom-com, you’ve seen them all.
Froemming: Nope. This was a terrible movie that somehow almost ran for two hours.
Here is what’s coming up for the next Joe-Down: