Thursday, June 02, 2005

Don't Wanna Lose Matt

Okay, I actually did blog yesterday. Sort of. I responded to this on RTB. I composed a column and e-mailed it in. Now I suppose I just have to wait and check in every day in August to see if it was accepted. If not, I'll post the entry here. In the meantime, I suppose I have to keep it under wraps. Not that it is Earth-shattering or will start revolutions or anything big.

Last night I rewatched the movie How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. Cute movie. Mostly because Kate Hudson is a quintessential romantic comedy heroine that you can really route for and because Matthew McConaughey is very, very nice to look at. The two have a great chemistry.

And really, this is key because for the most part, the movie itself is full of gaping plot holes. The motivation that drives the story - or at least the motivation on the part of Ben Barry, the hero - is paper thin. Ben makes a deal with his boss that if he can get a woman to fall in love with him in ten days, he will be allowed to pitch a new ad campaign to a potentially huge client, the diamond magnate DeLauers.

See, somehow the writers try to make the argument that what it takes to make a woman fall in love with you is exactly the same thing it takes to sell diamonds. So if Ben has what it takes to get a woman to fall in love with him, he could sell diamonds to every woman on the planet. First problem with this argument is I think Ben (aka Matthew McConaughey) pretty much just has to breathe to make women fall in love with him. He's cute. He's sexy. He's charming. He doesn't need any mad skilz.

I won't even go into how ridiculous the idea that selling diamonds and falling in love are in some way related is. The writers needed a reason for Ben to have to stick with the heroine no matter what she does, so something major had to be at stake. While I agree that his career is major, I think trying to use it as the carrot at the end of the stick when it came to a game of love is a bad match. I would have better bought a huge money bet with a friend. Or if it had to be work-related, perhaps the deal could have been a rivalry between coworkers, the boss oblivious to the shennanigans.

The other major Mack-truck-sized hole in the story is what happens once the heroine, Andie Anderson, starts making her moves. In case you haven't heard the general premise, Andie is a writer for a women's magazine (think Cosmo) and her next column is to tackle the things that women tend to do that send potential mates running for the hills. Andie's job is to snag a guy, then drive him so bat-shit crazy that he actually contemplates joining a monastery rather than spend another second with her, then she'll write it all up in a what-not-to-do column.

To their credit, the writers totally nail this part of the story. The stuff Andie does to poor Ben is positively squirm-inducing. I could barely watch as she pulled off such things as naming Ben's penis "Princess Sophia", using Photoshop to create a Family Album complete with morph-photos of her and Ben's future children, and stocking Ben's medicine cabinet with every form of feminine product on the market. Granted, most sane women don't go off the deep end this way with a guy they've been dating all of two or so days (another major plot issue/hard to sell premise). But it was a load of fun to watch Ben suffer it all.

But back to what I was saying about the problem with the flow of the story. Andie starts her "Kathy Lee Gifford on steroids" approach until Ben can no longer bear it. In a last ditch effort to win his bet and earn his chance to pitch the diamond account, he agrees to couples therapy. During that little episode (during which Ben is called to the carpet on every freak-out topic known to man - his sexual abilities, his sexual orientation, his ability to control his anger), Ben agrees to take Andie home to meet his family.

What followed was perhaps the best part of the movie because during that visit, the real Andie and the real Ben finally showed up. And wouldn't you just guess it, they fell in love. For real.

Thing is, I kept asking myself through all of this how in the world Ben could forget what a complete psycho Andie had already shown herself to (not-really) be. Sure, she acted normal during the visit. But how could he just ignore the behaviours she'd shown the seven days prior? As far as Ben knew, the fun, sexy, normal Andie he spent time with at his parents' house was simply a reprieve from the Bizarro girlfriend-from-Hell version.

Well, no matter. Ben and Andie discover that maybe their respective plans aren't going to work. And I don't think I'd be blowing any big secrets by saying that of course they discover each others' subterfuge, much angst ensues, all to lead to the happily ever after de rigueur of such films.

What saved this film was the actors and the chemistry between them. As far as story goes, it worked in the context of the movie, but it was pretty far beyond believable. If you're looking for a popcorn/chick flick no-heavy-thought feel good movie, go for it. If nothing else, you get a good hour and forty-five minutes of Matt appreciation time.


Anonymous said...

Um. I hated that film! I watched it on a transatlantic flight, which was the only reason I kept watching - seven hours in the air is even more boring than that film was!

It wasn't just that the premise was corny and unbelievable as hell. It was just that the heroine drove me absolutely crazy and made me want to throw her from the nearest window, even if it would make the plane crash. ;) And, of course, the hero was an idiot. An unlikeable, unattractive, bigheaded moron. I didn't find him remotely attractive - to me, he wasn't far short of ugly, actually! ;)

Still, if different actors didn't appeal to different people, three-quarters of the actors in Hollywood would never get work!

meljean brook said...

I've never seen this one -- I'm going to have to check it out. I'm always on the lookout for a good romantic comedy (while at the same time, avoiding them because so many of them don't seem to work). Matthew Mccccc...uh, don't know how to spell his name -- is definitely a "breathe on me and I'll be your slave for life" type. When he was in CONTACT as that sexy preacher guy, I was just like: yum. :D

Lynn M said...

Yeah, Anon, I agree with you on the different strokes thing. For the life of me I've never gotten the appeal of Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe or Collin Farrell. So I'm cool with you not liking Matt.

As for the movie - yes, the heroine drove me nuts when she was being girlfriend-from-Hell! I'm not sure if you meant just then or all the time. If you meant all the time, then we do differ there. I think the movie as a whole definitely has a lot of issues, but I enjoyed it for a couple hours of fluff.

Meljean, it's a good rental movie for a night when the SO is not around and you just want to curl up with something totally mindless. Watching Matt is worth the rental price, but Anon. is right - don't expect Oscar caliber stuff. *g* Just some fun.