- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French Dolby Digital 5.1 (640kbps), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (640kbps)
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Paramount
- Release Date: August 18, 2009
- List Price: $29.99
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When did it become a prerequisite for romantic comedies to be based on totally implausible premises? This one falls squarely into that category. Kate Hudson plays the ambitious, but unfulfilled women’s magazine “how to” columnist, Andie Anderson. Matthew McConaughey is Ben Barry, successful and also ambitious ad executive. The two meet under the most contrived of circumstances one could dream up. Andie, not satisfied using her talents writing light-weight articles on topics like “how to get great bod in 5 days” or “how to sweet talk your way out of a traffic ticket” gets her boss, played by the marvelous Bebe Neuwirth, to agree to set her free to do more hard-hitting articles if she does an article on the dating pitfalls for women. She has to meet a guy, get him to fall for her, and then make all the classic mistakes to drive him away in 10 days.
Meanwhile, Ben has entered into a bet with his boss that he can meet a woman, any woman, and make her fall in love with him in — you guessed it — 10 days. The payoff for him — he wins a big account for diamond jewelers.
The two get together not knowing the other’s plans and they both hit it off. Andie is charming, intelligent and sexy. They begin seeing each other every day, and then Andie starts in with the craziness — making Barry miss the last few minutes of a Knicks playoff game to get her a Coke, moving feminine products into his apartment, calling him twenty times a day.
This all drags on way past the point of believability. The only thing that rescues this whole affair is Kate Hudson’s comedic talent. She has definitely inherited her mom’s (Goldie Hawn) abilities on that front. She has great timing and she’s undeniably charming. McConaughey, on the other hand, is just never believable as a guy who’s going to put up with Andie’s lunacy as long as he does in this film, big account or not. There’s no real chemistry between the two.
Finally, like all good romantic comedies, true love must conquer the day, and as Andie and Barry secretly battle each other in pursuit of their own agendas, they begin to fall in love. Why? It’s a difficult question to answer exactly, other than to say, this is Hollywood, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
It’s almost impossible to believe that the flimsy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was taken from an actual book, given the razor-thin plot of the movie, until one sees the actual picture book of humorous quips and one-liners that it was adapted from. It all makes sense after that. They’ve basically written a screenplay based on a book that has no plot, taken it and stretched it as far as they could.
At least How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days does offer some genuine moments of laughter, without a doubt. It’s not rip-roaring, but it’s honest fun. If one doesn’t mind turning off one’s brain and completely suspending disbelief for a couple of hours, then it’s an easy enough film to get through.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days arrives on Blu-ray Disc with an unremarkable AVC/MPEG-4 encoding of its 1.78:1 framing from Paramount. The now six-year-old film looks like it was just dragged out of its canister and slapped on here without a second thought. I have not seen the previous DVD release of this film, but I would be amazed if this was in fact a newly restored master.
Detail is flat; the picture lacks any sort of three-dimensionality. There is a pervasive softness to the picture and background detail extension is quite weak. Grain structure is good and the transfer looks film-like, but it is inconsistent at best and some scenes show an increased amount of graininess and noise that is jarring. Flesh tones are natural, which is a strength, but overall colors are bit dull and nothing in this transfer stands out, not even Kate Hudson’s bright yellow dress in the film’s dénouement.
Other issues with How to Lose a Guy are problems at the source. There are some obvious specks of dirt, dust, scratches and hairs that were not cleaned up. It’s not terribly pervasive, but combined with the lackluster picture quality it makes it more inexcusable.
Fortunately, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days recovers a bit with its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. Of course, being a romantic comedy, it doesn’t offer the sort dynamic sound effects and discrete panning that is going to give the sound system and subwoofer a workout, but dialogue is clean with no audible distortions and the film’s musical soundtrack sounds big and open. The surround channels are bit stagnant, with only some slight ambience. They only really come alive when those songs kick in, but the mix works for the film. As for low frequencies, they are nearly nonexistent here.
If you want to watch some bonus features with the filmmakers gushing over how great this film is and catch a glimpse of the ladies who wrote the original book offering some more of their humorous insights on the battle of the sexes, then this stuff is for you, otherwise most of the material here can be skipped. At least Paramount provided much of the supplements in HD, which is always a plus.
The supplements available on this release are:
- Commentary by director Donald Petrie
- How to Make a Movie in 2 Years (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:16.54) — The authors and filmmakers discuss the evolution of bringing the film to the screen.
- Why the Sexes Battle (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:05.00) — Psychologists discuss the social differences between men and women.
- Girls Night Out (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:05.15) — Authors Michelle Alexander and Jeannie Long discuss their book, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
- Music Video — “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- Deleted Scenes w/ optional commentary by director Donald Petrie (1.33:1; 480i/60):
- Alternate Opening Sequence
- Puppy Palace
- Getting Ready for Staten Island
- After the Bullshit Game
- Bookend — Andie Dumped
The Definitive Word
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days may in fact work as a great date flick, but let’s be honest, it is not a great piece of cinema and not even one of the better romantic comedies. Making matters worse is this lackluster transfer to Blu-ray Disc and the yawn-inducing supplements. I have to say skip this entirely or save some cash on a purchase and just rent it for a date night.
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