DVD Review: How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days -- Deluxe Edition

The fall of 2009 seems like a strange time for Paramount to be releasing a deluxe edition of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, the not-quite-classic 2003 romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. It's not a particularly special anniversary year, and the film's fans haven't been crying for a more complete DVD package than the one that was already available (not that this so-called "deluxe" edition lives up to its name in terms of special features). In fact, there's really only one reason to take another look at this film: to relive the exact moment Hudson and McConaughey made the transition from promising young stars to banal rom-com mainstays.

Remember when Kate Hudson received an Oscar nomination for Almost Famous back in 2001? What about when Matthew McConaughey used to get roles in movies like Amistad and A Time To Kill? You probably don't. That was a long time ago. When you think of Hudson and McConaughey lately, you probably first think of clunkers like Bride Wars, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and their recent re-teaming in Fool's Gold. Well, if you want to see what set them on their respective career trajectories, look no further than this cliché-ridden, logic-defying rom-com in which high-powered Manhattan executives dole out promotions based on bets centered around their employees' sex lives. Hudson plays Andie Anderson (seriously, has anyone ever encountered a woman named Andie outside of a romantic comedy?), a fashion magazine columnist who whines about never getting to write about important political issues one second, and then squeals with glee over receiving free Knicks tickets the next. McConaughey is Benjamin Barry (notice how she's an AA and he's a BB? Adorable!), a cocky advertising executive who wants to prove he's deeper than his colleagues give him credit for by moving on from shilling beer and sneakers to landing a lucrative diamond account. She's told she'll be able to write whatever she wants if she just finishes one more fluff piece on how to lose a guy in 10 days. Meanwhile, he's being promised he'll be allowed to make the diamond pitch if can make a woman fall in love with him in the same amount of time. He puts the moves on her. She attempts to drive him away by emasculating him (and offending the audience with the idea that this is how women really act in their relationships). Somehow in this mess, true love is born, only to be thwarted when their original motives are revealed to each other. But of course, their hurt feelings quickly heal and it all ends well with kisses and curse words on the George Washington Bridge. Both the script and the performances are more full of smarm than charm, and the only truly fairy tale-worthy moment comes when Hudson steps out of her apartment in that famous buttery yellow dress (which is shockingly muted to a dull silver on the new DVD packaging). Despite its lack of any true wit or romance, it was still enough of a hit that Hudson and McConaughey have both gone on believing that the only ingredients needed to make a successful romantic comedy are pretty people in pretty clothing acting cutesy. Their mediocre careers are this film's great legacy.

Special features include deleted scenes (including an alternate opening which would've made Andie's loftier writing aspirations more believable had it been left in the film), a Keith Urban music video, and various featurettes on dating and the unremarkable story of how this film came to be made. Only director Donald Petrie was available to provide commentary. I guess McConaughey and Hudson didn't feel a strong need to look back on this movie either.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Deluxe Edition is available now on DVD.

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