Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey co-star in a new twist on the "boy-meets-girl" romantic comedy formula: neither one is honest about their intentions. Alan Silverman has a look at How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
What she doesn't know is that, as part of his job, advertising executive Ben has made a bet that he can make a woman fall in love with him.
But what he doesn't know is that the woman he picks, Andie, is a magazine writer on assignment, as part of her job, to chase him away.
Kate Hudson plays Andie and she thinks the fun of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is how much of it anyone in the dating scene can recognize.
"I think you have both perspectives of what's happening," she says. "The movie is about a female perspective and a male perspective of the same situation. That's why I was so attracted to the script. It was different like that and it was old fashioned in a sense that it was two people and the only thing getting in the way of it was the actual situation, not some other guy or some other girl. we've all been there. we've all done it. We've all experienced it and no matter what your sexual preferences are or your gender, I think that everybody has been there."
Matthew McConaughey acknowledges that many men, himself included, tend to classify romantic comedies like this one as "chick flicks" films made for and most appreciated by women.
"Is this a 'chick flick?' sure, but is it for guys? absolutely," he says. " I play a guy who has a stance and ambition and gets to be the male perspective in this thing. Usually the girl is the hero and the guy is sort of there to be the foil, pulling left and right and he really has no ambition or goal in a romantic comedy. In this one I saw a guy who had his own finish line. He had his own bet to win and his own ulterior motive. At the bottom of all that I found him to be a really great guy: a guy who loved life, loved women and a guy who is very desirous and was a lot of fun to play."
Director Donald Petrie says he has no choice but to use an overworked Hollywood expression to describe the spark between his stars on screen.
"With any romantic comedy there's that ethereal word 'chemistry' and, frankly, if there's no chemistry it falls on me to make chemistry," he says. "Kate and Matthew made my job pretty easy because they liked each other and both are very likeable themselves; but then it's up to me to try to goose that chemistry to the next level so they kind of bubble."
McConaughey believes the "chemistry," for want of a better word, helps the film get beyond the often-trite formula.
"Look, after the premise romantic comedy scripts are usually pretty simple. You can pretty much bet the guy and the girl are going to get together in the end so there's not a huge conceptual or structural surprise at the end," he says. " So if you don't have chemistry in a simple story like a romantic comedy, you're going to be watching two people connecting the dots of a story that you say 'I kind of have an idea of where this is going, but why am i rooting for somebody?' But if you do have chemistry, all of a sudden it can become infectious that you're rooting for the two to get together. You're laughing at them, you're laughing with them; and the great joke in this one is that the audience knows what bet ben has that she doesn't know about [and] you know what bet andie has that I don't know about. You get to watch us both squirm and drive the other one crazy."
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days also features Bebe Neuwirth and Robert Klein as, respectively, Andie's and Ben's bosses. The film was shot in and around some of New York City's most romantic locations.