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Boy on a bet meets girl on a story

The new romantic comedy "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" would be more aptly titled: "How to Lose an Audience in 10 Minutes."

The film, starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, is riddled with cliché plot devices and dialogue that's as superficial as the glossy fashion magazine the lead character writes for.

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Andie (Hudson) is the "how to" girl for "Composure." During a story meeting more akin to a gossip session, her boss assigns her to write an exposé on how to ditch a clingy guy. (As if most people need a tutorial on how to commit obvious dating faux pas.)

Andie and her friends head off on the prowl to pick out her male subject, whom she plans to date and diss. Meanwhile, at the same swanky nightclub, Ben (McConaughey), a ladies' man who can't commit, bets his friends that he can make any woman fall in love with him in just 10 days. When his pals pick Andie, the setup conveniently offers filmmakers a chance to stage all sorts of slapstick scenarios.

Andie tries to push Ben to the limit: She adorns his apartment with stuffed animals and raids his poker night squealing "Benny" and serving cucumber sandwiches. She even crafts their fantasy family album, complete with pictures of children. Ben painfully plays along, hoping to win his own game - until they both start to wonder if this could be the real thing.

Some situations will make you laugh out loud, but the film's formula for comedy gets old faster than you can say, "Let's just be friends." Hudson and McConaughey look like they stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine, but their acting skills have as much merit as an essay on how to buy a pair of chinos.

The most disappointing aspect of the film is the obligatory sequence in which the jilted speeds off in a taxi and Mr. Right makes a mad dash through a series of construction sites and parades to stop her. Will he get there in time?

Perhaps the filmmakers would benefit from an article on how to make a good movie in two hours.

Rated PG-13 for sexual material.


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