2003 Running time: 116 Certificate: 12 Rating: 3

Synopsis

What could have been a routine chick flick about speed-dumping is lifted by a premise that sees a style writer and an advertising hotshot fall for each other, not for love but career advancement. Kate Hudson shows a light touch as the wannabe Pulitzer prize-winner, forced to write about "fashion, diets and salacious gossip" but weighed down by her media studies credentials. She finds a good comic foil in Matthew McConaughey, portraying his character as a little more thoughtful than the usual irritants who inhabit the advertising world.

Director

  • Donald Petrie

Cast

  • Kate Hudson

  • Matthew McConaughey

  • Adam Goldberg

  • Kathryn Hahn

Review

Andie Anderson (Hudson) is a journalist on New York style magazine Composure, the type of glossy that addresses issues like "I lost my virginity... now I want it back."

Advertising executive Ben Barry has a SoHo loft, rides round Manhattan on a motorbike and works in the sort of office where a pool table is de rigueur.

Desperate to land a lucrative diamonds account, he promises his boss, Phillip Warren (Robert Klein), that he can get a woman to fall in love with him in 10 days.

However, when two rival pitchers for the sparkler job settle on Andie as the woman for the challenge, Ben doesn't realise he's been had.

She's just promised her editor, Lana (Neuwirth), that she can win the heart of a man and lose it in just 10 days... and then write a feature about it.

And so begins a war of attrition, with Andie testing Ben to the limit by making all the dating mistakes that usually see girls tearfully waiting for the call that never comes.

On the face of it, the premise appears glibly tenuous but director Petrie, who proved himself to be a safe pair of hands with Miss Congeniality, fashions quite a decent rom-com.

He's helped by his leads, who manage to make their characters attractive despite indulging in a pretty shabby dual deceit.

McConaughey portrays his character as a little more thoughtful than the usual irritants who inhabit the advertising world.

Hudson shows a light touch as the wannabe Pulitzer prize-winner, forced to write about "fashion, diets and salacious gossip" but weighed down by her media studies certificate.

In fact, both the advertising and fashion industries are revealed in all their shallow glory as needing a sharp dose of reality and, if that fails, of anthrax.

There's some obvious digs at sexual stereotypes - Ben is dragged to a Celine Dion concert while Andie serves cucumber sandwiches at a boy's poker night.

And there's also a cringingly unsubtle soundtrack underscoring every emotional swerve on the screen.

But for a genre that has witnessed some shocking moments (cf Maid In Manhattan), this will find a place in the heart of undemanding romantics.

Tim Evans

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