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Ten ways to lose your audience
Jeet Thayil | February 11, 2003 14:57 IST
1Get Donald Petrie to direct a film titled How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. In this cinematic Petrie dish, pit Kate Hudson against Matthew McConaughey in a story of twin deceptions. Hudson tries to get McConaughey to dump her for an article she is writing and McConaughey tries to get Hudson to fall in love with him so as to clinch an account. She tries to blow him off; he stays. This contrived premise only gets worse.
2Make sure there are no sparks between your lead actors Hudson and McConaughey. I have never seen kisses as passionless as the few these actors share onscreen. Hudson tries her best but manages to seem singularly uninterested in the leading man. There is one consolation: McConaughey is so caught up with himself he barely notices.
3Translate this television movie premise to the big screen and shoot it in New York City. Meanwhile, pile on every cliché and contrivance you have come across. Make sure there is a chase at the end, with McConaughey trying to overtake Hudson on her way to the airport. Put in a bridge or two and plenty of yellow cabs to show the film is set in NYC.
4Make Hudson's character a journalist with Composure, a Cosmo-type magazine, who writes a How to column when she actually wants to pontificate about politics, war, poverty, you know, 'the things that matter.' Make sure to put her into a barely there green dress for the guys in the audience. Except, of course, there aren't any.
5Make McConaughey's character a testosterone-fueled guy's guy who handles beer and men's athletics for an ad agency. He wants to pitch for a De Beers-type diamond company's account and makes a bet with his boss that he can make a woman fall in love with him in, you guessed it, 10 days.
6Put in every stereotype you can remember. Men play poker. They do not like women who cling or whine. Remember that women do all those things and then some. They also like to drag men to 'relationship therapists' and Celine Dion concerts.
7Give Hudson -- who, on occasion, can come up with a smile that is vaguely reminiscent of mom Goldie Hawn -- two girl friends who try their best to be cute but rarely succeed. Give McConaughey two guy friends who are supposed to be cool but rarely are.
8Put in plenty of sports, specifically Knicks games, which guys love, right? Make sure there are climactic scenes that include last minute baskets and crowd scenes. You know, from every sports movie you remember. Add no flair or imaginative twist of your own. Stick to the tried and the tested.
9Be sure to include a gratuitous scene in which Hudson visits McConaughey's Staten Island home. Be sure his down-to-earth family wins over her upmarket heart. Be sure to include a cute dog. If it is not cute, give it a faux diamond choker. So many other movies have had all those set-ups, why not yours?
10Give it a deadbeat soundtrack of old-time classic rock. If, by any chance, a bit of originality or quirkiness does slip through, make sure to edit it before your film is released.
If you follow all these steps you are guaranteed to produce a movie that will turn off audiences everywhere. Good luck.
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