Movies teach us that ninjas rule and true love always starts as a bet for money

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
By Lauren Spitzer
3.5 Hatchets

Ladies, you can relate. Foolishly losing an appealing guy is not a difficult task to accomplish. And for guys, getting rid of a lunatic girl can be even more complicated. Yet two players show us that just when you think your devious plan is working, you fall in love.

The hilarious romantic comedy, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, directed by Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality) is a success, allowing its lead characters to shine through witty dialogue and a believable screenplay.

When Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson, Almost Famous) creates her latest “How To” column for Composure magazine, she sets out to meet the man who she will eventually cause to “wish he were dead” by using classic mistakes girls make in relationships.

Things take a turn (for the better) when she “coincidentally” stumbles across Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey, The Wedding Planner) who placed a bet with colleagues at his ad agency that he could make a girl fall in love with him in 10 days in order to land a diamond account.

Though the ending is inevitable and takes a bit too long to reach, the entertaining ride to get there is worth it. As one of her first leading roles, Hudson is finally able to shine as a girlfriend from hell. While we’ve seen McConaughey as the charmer with arrogance, his credibility as an actor makes his performance seem effortless.

Though another “chick flick” with some masculine appeal, the flawless chemistry between the leads coupled with the realistically funny torture devices Hudson formulates adds freshness to the generic and cliched genre in which the film falls.

Like Composure magazine, which helps women keep “it,” the film is geared toward a female audience. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a nice Valentine’s date. As Andie and Ben say, “that’s how it’s done.”

Shanghai Knights
By Jeff Frost
2.5 Hatchets

One is the wayward son of a Chinese royal guardsman. The other played the non-biological son of Royal Tenenbaum. What do we get when they team up for a second time? A breezy action flick fit for a king.

Shanghai Knights picks up a few years after the events of the film Shanghai Noon, a somewhat silly Jackie Chan movie set in the old American West. Chon Wang (Chan) is now a successful sheriff in 1880s Nevada. His life is disrupted upon receiving news of his father’s murder. In desperate need of money, Chon travels to New York City to find his old partner, Roy (Owen Wilson). The duo heads to England to meet Chon’s sister, Lin, who has tracked their father’s murderer all the way to London. Using acrobatic martial arts, swordplay and dumb luck, the three uncover a conspiracy that threatens the British throne – there may be a connection to Chon’s father’s murder mixed in there, too.

The plot of the film isn’t really what’s important. What makes or breaks buddy action flicks is the chemistry between the two leads. Chan and Wilson have no shortage of that, but they work just as well together as they do separately. Martial arts master Chan does what he does best. He jumps, flips, kicks and spins to a point where it’s unbelievable. But you can never take your eyes off of it.

Wilson is able to carry the better part of the film on his own. With standout performances in films such as Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums, his talent has never really been a question. His laid-back delivery and over-the-top American nationalism are the highlights of this flick. Though the story may be rather limp, the two stars are more than enough entertainment.

The film also has some clever historical “cameos” by authors, serial killers and silent film stars. All in all, Shanghai Knights is a friendly popcorn flick without any major negative qualities. As long as you go in knowing what you want – a fun 90 minutes of pure veg time – you’ll be sure to get it.

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