source: Paramount Pictures

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) **

In a nightmare of capitalistic gender binaried cisheteronormativity, the magazines Cosmopolitan and Maxim have taken on lives of their own, and they wear the faces of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. Cosmopolitan decides to mimic her awkward autistic friend to prove how even someone as hot as Kate Hudson can drive away any decent, rational, properly heterosexual, extremely masculine, sports- and cigar- and poker-loving man. She can’t wait for the opportunity to write about politics (vaguely, something about Tajikistan) but first she must manipulate a man into rejecting her for being bubbly, socially inappropriate, goofy, and demanding.

Meanwhile, Maxim has no leg to stand on, because he’s hoping to leverage his control over Cosmopolitan’s heart to make her actually fall in love and prove to his slimy boss that he deserves an ad account. He is competing with two incredibly hot women who should get anything they want and wield their sexuality to this effect. “MENNNN like you don’t know what WOMENNNN want,” they say, hotly, and I honestly don’t wanna criticize. I love them.

The movie rides a charming high on the frothing chemistry between McConaughey and Hudson, who are equally matched in being the whitest human beings, charmingly rich, and in absolutely no risk of actual violence when accidentally running away with priceless jewelry to fight in a parking lot. I genuinely cackle at the antics, even though you cannot regard these characters as actual human beings without suffocating on the weight of arbitrary gender expectations.

The extremely taupe-colored love story is not nearly as fun after the point where we go home to Maxim’s home to meet some cop holding a baby, and the premise of these magazines manipulating each other turns into yawn-worthy low drama that plucks out a couple standard tropes for the resolution and doesn’t even bother to customize them for the concept. He interrupts her on her journey to a job interview to make out on a bridge. The end.

PS, the love fern was nowhere near dying. Ferns die so much more than that.

Image source: Paramount Pictures

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