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Paramount Studios presents
"That's what I'm talking about. Where's the sexy, cool, fun, smart, beautiful Andie that I knew? The one that wanted to be a serious journalist? You're up, you're down, you're here, you're there, you're like a frickin' one-woman circus."
DVD ReviewHow to Make a Formulaic Romantic Comedy in 10 Steps
by Kevin Clemons
Tired of trying to think of an exciting and original idea for a romantic comedy? Well here is just the thing for you. Take a look at this "how-to" list and you, too, can make your own predictable genre film:
1. Take two perfectly likeable lead actors (perhaps Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson) and saddled them with a script oblivious to the possibilities that is possesses. In this case make the story about two self-centered professionals who feign interest in the other in an effort to further their careers—but ultimately strip the film down to being a cutesy romantic romp with no bite.
2. Give your characters jobs, names, and aspirations that seem out of place in any real world. For instance, call them Benjamin Barry and Andie Anderson and give them jobs, one an advertising exec and one a "how-to" columnist, with dreams of doing much more beyond their present workload. Example: If Andie were the writer, show her working on an article entitled How to Obtain Peace in the Middle East, and then show her writing a piece entitled How to Obtain a Better Orgasm to show her inner struggle.
3: Allow Ben and Andie to "meet cute" and give them each a secret agenda. For Andie, it should be a writing assignment on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and, for Ben, it would help if his were to prove to his boss that he understands women so well he can get one to fall for him in ten days. And if he succeeds, he will land a very large account. Then, introduce Ben to Andie and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
4. Continue to play on the aspect that Ben and Andie know nothing of the other's motive so they will continue to succeed easily while having no idea why. Allow Andie to humiliate Ben in front of his friends and coworkers by naming his "personal area" with a feminine name while also turning his lavish bachelor pad iwith a woman's touch, complete with flowers and teddy bears. All the while, Ben should be showering Andie with praise and love, while looking like a very nice and romantic guy, though everyone should know that he is a creep.
5. Introduce friends for each side and use them as fodder for more jokes and humiliation for Ben, and also use them as ammunition for Andie. These friends should be instantly disposable and have no real bearing on the plot or any dimension to speak of. They should exist only to further the story along for the two lead actors.
6. Create a sequence of events in which it looks as though neither of the protagonists will achieve their goals, and they realize that they do really love each other and will at some point have to admit the truth. This should lead to a scene in a very public place amongst the previously mentioned friends.
7. Include a scene involving the parents of one of the protagonists and have them explain that they have never met one of their child's significant others up until this point. Pause for a moment of grief on the face of the protagonist in question, and begin to convey that they are beginning to have second thoughts about hurting the other.
8. A "must-have" is the scene in which the couple becomes intimate and we understand that, because they've shared a bed, that they really must love each other. Show the other edge of the sword, the one where we, the audience, feel sorry for the protagonists, knowing that the inevitable breakdown is near.
9: Concoct an elaborate finale that allows the star-crossed lovers to reconcile and embrace in a very unlikely location while proclaiming their love for one another. Presumably, each will forget about the mountains of hurt that the other placed upon them and they will live happily ever after.
10: Most importantly, you should waste the incredible talents of your two lead stars by relegating them to the previously mentioned steps. However, if you follow these steps you will win over the masses and create a one-hundred-million dollar blockbuster. Best of luck, dear readers.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-
Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days features what can best be described as average image quality. Colors are nicely done with no apparent bleeding, while the black levels show a slight amount of grain, which is disconcerting given the fact that it is such a recent release. I noticed some minor edge enhancement, though, thankfully, it wasn't much of a concern. This is a decent transfer, but given the recent theatrical release, I had expected better.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is just as one may expect from a romantic comedy: lackluster. Dialogue is the star of the mix, and it is anchored nicely to the center speaker with nice crispness and no distortion. The surround speakers are used sparingly, mainly for ambient sounds such as a busy street, or for reinforcement of the musical score.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, The Indiana Jones Trilogy, The Core
5 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Donald Petrie
Mapping Out the Perfect Movie is a look into the casting, writing, directing, editing, and generally the entire production. Each piece is brief, though when totalled, the running length clocks in at nearly an hour. It is nice to see this number of in-depth features on a romantic comedy release as opposed to the standard promotional inclusions. Mapping Out the Perfect Location looks at the sets and locations used for the film. This is an interesting collection of shorts, but overall, it is rather light on information.
Five deleted scenes comprise the last major extra and while each is available with optional commentary by Petrie, none really provides a case for its inclusion into the finished film. Petrie discusses why the scenes were cut-.
Finally, a music video for the song Somebody Like You by Keith Urban, as well as the original theatrical trailer and previews for The Core, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, and The Indiana Jones Trilogy round out the extra features.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsThough it may have seemed as though I despised the film, the performances of Hudson and McConaughey make the film tolerable. But the overall dullness of the subject matter, as well as the overly predictable script, makes this simply a rental at best.
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