How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
- Street Date:
- August 25th, 2009
- Reviewed by:
- Nate Boss
- Review Date: 1
- August 13th, 2009
- Movie Release Year:
- Paramount Home Entertainment
- 116 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated PG-13
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Before saying anything else, I'd just like to commend 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' for something. It isn't often that a "chick flick" (you know, romantic comedies obviously aimed at the female audience, full of sappy romance, blah blah blah) attempts to appease the male audience that will be dragged in by their significant other to watch it. Much like how a high maintenance female may be less than enthusiastic to sit down to a machismo-fest like 'Kickboxer,' guys aren't exactly known for openly wanting to see these kinds of films, so the fact that 'How to Lose a Guy...' even tries to give the guys something to enjoy is worthy of recognition.
Sure, the film itself may be as cliche as they get, predictable, sappy, and flat out goofy at times, but it at least gets an A for effort.
Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is a magazine journalist who specializes in "How to..." articles, but she finds herself wanting to write about more serious matters, like politics and religion, despite working for a bonafide glam mag that's about as deep as the paper it's printed on. After having her latest serious piece rejected by her editor, Andie is given the chance to write on whatever she wants if she can nail her next piece, "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," about the mistakes women make that drive men away.
Concurrently, Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) is a macho ad exec who wants to land the DeLauer diamond account, but is stuck in his niche covering "guy stuff" like sneakers or beer. He pitches to his boss that if he can make a woman fall in love with him in just 10 days (what a coincidence!), he gets to make the pitch.
In classic rom-com fashion, the two betting over-achievers end up in each other's laps, with Andie trying to get Ben to dump her by pulling out all the stops and acting like a complete neurotic/psychotic mess, while Ben tries to get Andie to fall for him by putting up with it and coming back for more.
The film is amazingly straight forward, with less curves than a ruler, as it wants to appeal to all audiences, young and old, male and female, but finds itself catering to the ADHD crowd. In consecutive sequences, the title of the film is just blurbed, along with the entire premise (no, that wasn't just a bad case of deja vu), for those in the theater or at home too busy sucking face to pay attention, or for those who can't grasp such a difficult concept that the girl wants to drive the guy away. It's a horrible bit of exposition, truly ghastly.
It doesn't help that, shortly after, the counterpoint to the female bet is played out and shoved down our throats like we were simpletons. It's a brilliant idea for a film, inspired by a "book" of sorts by two women who compiled a series of captioned illustrations that would drive men away, but it's all in the execution, and at times, this exactly like an execution.
The entire film, while it does give a lot to the guys, also shows no understanding of "guy things," and comes off a bit clunky. First, the entire NBA subplot. The Knicks and Kings in the Finals? Even back when this film was made, that was a bad, bad decision. The Finals games are almost all at New York, in a bizarre situation that gave the Knicks homecourt for games one, two, three, and seven. Ask any guy, that's not the way the playoff schedule works. A heartbreak early in the film sets up the entire "freaking a guy out to the point he dumps you" theme, but late in the film, the guy (who was only alluded to, never seen) suddenly pops up, and we're supposed to care? That story line existed solely to set up the main story, and should have been abandoned, not brought back for any reason. Ever. Would you ever believe a guy's guy could ever pronounce "faux pas" properly? I'm sorry, but any guy who makes a living pitching beer and shoes would think "Fox Pass," like it were some kind of hunting range. And the less said about the pull out quotes from the finalized article, the better, as they make no sense, and how any editor would let them into an article, let alone bold and highlight them, is beyond any logic.
Both sexes will easily spot the casual dropping of "don't do's" in the film, that are pulled directly from the book, and both will also find many things to relate to in the lead characters (the supporting characters are about as flat as a beach ball is round, with no personalities or traits to even associate with). Men will easily see the things that would turn them off in a relationship, and the way Ben deals with it to get what he wants, while Women will see the turn off in the guy doing whatever it takes, ignoring the extreme emasculation he suffers, so as to, again, get what he wants. It works, in principle, it really does.
Hudson's career seemed to take a severe nosedive after her performance here, and that is somewhat of a shame, as she does pull off her role quite convincingly, while McConaughey has found increased exposure and fame, despite starring in some serious disasters after 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.' It's somewhat funny, really, like McConaughey won some kind of bet that Hudson never knew about...
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Paramount brings 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' to Blu-ray in a single disc (BD50) "Deluxe Edition," day and date with the DVD re-release, with an AVC MPEG-4 encode that screams "acceptable" instead of "stunning."
Contrast is flat and at times plain dull, coupled with a lovely two dimensional feel. Colors seem a bit muted for the most part, though a late appearance of Mrs. DeLauer (Liliane Montevecchi) brings some very bright reds, especially in her hair. Unfortunately, that very same sequence shows her hair having no detail, save for being a big bright red blur, while the matching red dress doesn't replicate worth a damn, and is borderline glowing.
The grain level is healthy and non-distracting, but it leaves backgrounds looking very blurry, especially in indoor sequences. Clothing is very detailed, with black suits and jackets showing strong, with the occasional pinstripe coming in clear and not jagged. Facial features are a bit of an odd duck here. While McConaughey's face shows some natural wear and tear, with nice defining characteristics, Hudson's face shows nothing. Nothing. If more faces were as undefined and blurry as hers, I'd have to cry foul at potential DNR application, but since that wasn't the case, I have to wonder what kind of makeup she wore for this role, as a few light blemishes or moles on her face look heavily draped over. It's ugly, it really is.
Skin tones are pretty natural, though there are shots of Hudson sporting a pale face but bright orange arms, again a sign of possible clown makeup. Black levels are solid though not amazing, while delineation was quite nice, with details in shadows still coming through perfectly. Whites, on the other hand, are busy, and I caught some macroblocking from time to time, and some artifacting clearly visible in sky shots.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The audio doesn't make up for the pedestrian video, with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that spends more time twiddling its thumbs than anything. Fun fact, really, as I never knew Dolby TrueHD tracks had thumbs. The more you know...
Dialogue can, at times, be a real pain to hear, and I'm not saying that due to the cliche "chick flick" dialogue or excessive exposition spouting. It's just far too quiet at times. At the Knicks game, Hudson's dialogue is completely lost, it's inaudible! Music shares the same lack of emphasis, no matter how much you crank your system, giving off a muted feel that is easily dominated by other audio elements that are far from loud.
The film sports a very front heavy feel, with rears virtually dead throughout, and a bass level that doesn't even register, let alone accent or define scenes. The motorcycle Ben rides on has no rumble whatsoever, no matter how much he revs it, it just sounds awkward. On the bright side, at least the same motorbike did move through channels as it took off, in one of the few moments of motion.
Restaurant scenes have actual dining sounds in the background, the standard fork and plate banging of neanderthal diners, though it all registers from the center channel, despite diners being located on all sides. The speakers truly come alive for the sequence at MSG, with fans making all kinds of incoherent noises, but one scene in an entire movie is not a saving grace. Even music dares not bleed through the room, only giving off a faint, damn near non-existant whisper from the rears.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
This Blu-ray was initially slated for release earlier in the year, but was pushed back to August. On the bright side, there are new features not found in the previous edition DVD, though a few features from that release did not make their way over. The supplement package matches the same day DVD release, but extras new to this edition are the three presented in high def.
- Audio Commentary - With director Donald Petrie. Petrie spends much time describing the action on screen, though he does use the rambling to segue into more in depth details about production notes. Petrie does provide some insight into character motivation that isn't even hinted at, and helps make the characters make more sense. This track is a tough one to judge, as it provides good coverage, especially for a one man track, but it jumps back and forth between interesting and flat boring far too often.
- How to Make a Movie in 2 Years (HD, 17 min) - The authors of the book discuss their inspirations for the novel, their wonderful writing habits and diets (ugh). The producers discuss what drew them to the project, the ins and out of their job on the film, the casting, and on and on. This feature is flat painful, it's slow and dull, the opposite of the film itself. How to make a reviewer loathe his job covering supplements would be a better title here.
- Why the Sexes Battle (HD, 5 min) - Evolutionary expert (how one gets this title is beyond me. Perhaps she's really, really, really, really old?) Shanee Edwards and author/psychologist Dr. Aaron Kipnis go back and forth on the male and female perspectives on why they believe the sexes clash at times. There is far too much analysis for a film as deep as the disc is thick.
- Girls Night Out (HD, 5 min) - 'How to Lose a Guy...' authors Jeannie Long and Michele Alexander discuss what parts of their book they are guilty of, and their dating habits. You can guess how vapid I found this feature by how little else I will say about it.
- Music Video (SD, 4 min) - A video for "Somebody Like You" by Karl Urban, with the obligatory movie clips mixed in. Why these kinds of lazy, disjointed videos still keep getting made is beyond me.
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 9 min) - With optional commentary by Petrie. Five deleted/alternate sequences can be found here, with a play all feature. There is nothing of real merit here, no amazing sequences that are startling by their omission. The dog shopping sequence was cute, and put an evil spin on the later scene by showing how strongly they sought out the ugly critter, but beyond that, the scenes found here are all throwaways.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no high def exclusives.
"Chick flicks" are a tough sell for me, as they're often so focused on appealing to one gender that they create films more akin to torture for us guys. 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' breaks this trend, crafting a tale enjoyable by both sexes. Don't let the ridiculously pink packaging or annoying as hell menu (complete with a high pitched giggling Hudson with each loop) fool you. For once, both sexes are given a somewhat fair shake.
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- BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
- Region All
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
- French Dolby Digital 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- English SDH
- Audio Commentary
- Music Video
- Deleted Scenes