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Movie Review

Andie Anderson is a writer for Cosmopolitan clone Composure magazine. To spice up the details of a story she's assigned, she's supposed to meet a guy, woo him, then get him to dump her in 10 days by doing all the wrong things. Meanwhile, Ben wagers his boss that he can win over any single/straight/available woman in only 10 days. If he wins, he gets to head up a prize diamond account. Lose and he’s stuck hawking sports equipment and beer. When the two wind up meeting at a bar, the clock begins ticking. Andie begins the relationship on a sweet note, then attempts to sabotage it by being "clingy," "touchy-feely" and just plain obnoxious. Ben is, of course, determined to put up with anything to win his bet.

positive elements: During their whirlwind "courtship," Ben brings Andie home to meet his family. He displays affection for both of his parents and extended family.

spiritual content: When Andie’s boss searches for "something spiritual" to write about for the magazine, she decides an article about the Dalai Lama is most appropriate.

sexual content: It’s assumed that couples sleep around casually, guiltlessly and constantly. Marriage is never part of the equation. If there’s any sexual standard here it all, it has to do with time. Distressed that she’s lost another boyfriend after "a week and a half," Michelle confides to Andie that the "first time we had sex I cried." Asked when that occurred, Michelle admits it was on the second day of their relationship. Andie chides Michelle for being too easy and explains (by cell phone from the bathroom of Ben’s apartment), "I’m not going to sleep with him. I can practice self-control." But Andie's only seven days more restrained than Michelle. By the ninth day of their involvement, Ben and Andie have sex in his parent’s shower (he takes her top off and they move behind the shower curtain where you hear her unzipping his pants). An earlier scene shows her coming on to him at his apartment. Sexual game playing is all part of her plan to lose him. Get him aroused. Then douse him with a change of mind. She also tries to annoy him by giving his penis a female moniker. She moves her personal items into his apartment (Vagisil and Playtex products).

After their first date, Ben tells his co-workers he (uncharacteristically) didn’t "go for the gold" the night before. He rubs his face against Andie's clothed breast (something she enjoys). When Michelle inquires about Ben and Andie’s sex life, Ben seems ashamed to admit they haven’t slept together yet.

There are any number of sexual innuendoes, gay jokes and "performance" quips. Andie and other women wear low-cut, back-less/bra-less gowns. Several characters don tight and midriff-revealing tops.

violent content: Purposefully trying to be a jerk, Andie angers a male patron in a theater. Ben stands up for her and gets decked for his efforts. Only one punch is thrown, but it knocks Ben unconscious. Ben angrily hurls a hotdog at a vehicle after it splashes him with mud. While driving his motorcycle, Ben almost gets hit by a passing bus.

crude or profane language: There are no less than 30 s-words, most of which are used by players of a card game (they call bluffing "bulls---." Milder profanities (15 or so) also scar the script, as do several misuses of God's name and two abuses of Jesus’ name.

drug and alcohol content: Alcohol is everywhere. A bottle of Skyy vodka is prominently displayed while Andie and her friend sun themselves (and drink martinis). A Skyy poster hangs in Ben’s office. So it didn't shock me when I saw a full-page ad in Entertainment Weekly for Skyy vodka that doubled as a movie promo. Onscreen, Budweiser also gets primo placement. Ben and Andie hook up at the "best watering hole for the upwardly mobile." They drink champagne, wine, beer and mixed drinks. Ben and his buddies drink beer and smoke cigars at their weekly poker game. The only animate object that doesn't drink is Ben's dog, and that's no thanks to Ben who pours beer for the animal. At a party, an overindulged Andie commandeers the microphone in an effort to embarrass Ben.

other negative elements: Gambling is something of a problem. Besides the wager with his boss, Ben bets $20 on a Knicks game. And he plays real-money poker with his pals. Andie’s Chinese Crested dog (known as "Tinkle King") habitually urinates on a pool table. Ben has an uncle who exhibits a serious flatulence problem. Nelly’s hit song "Hot in Herre" plays in the background of one scene.

When Michelle states that she’s given up eating since being dumped by her lover, her boss congratulates her. If that's the disordered way this movie's writers think, it's no surprise that they included a scene in which an overweight woman is deemed substandard solely because of her size.

conclusion: This is supposed to be a tender love story about an unlikely couple. But think about it. What kind of person would be so deceptive, selfish and cold as to accept a writing assignment that involved using and abusing an unsuspecting soul? What kind of person would make a wager based on manipulating another's emotions and trust? Am I supposed to sit in the theater and actually root for such a person? In real life, people who use people like this are miserable folks who stumble from one rocky relationship to another. This film makes it seem as if you can begin on the wrong foot, but wind up firmly planted. It just isn't so! Andie sets out to lose her man in 10 days. Wrong-minded philosophies, alcohol abuse, foul language and sex talk will make families want to lose her movie in 10 minutes.

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Kate Hudson as Andie Anderson; Matthew McConaughey as Ben Barry; Katharyn Hahn as Michelle; Robert Klein as Phillip Warren


Donald Petrie ( )


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