Any chick flick worth its serviceability rating needs a strong sense of urgency. The central hookup has to glimmer on the horizon, spark up a wildfire, rage into ruin, and warmly rekindle in 90 minutes (occupying the pre- or post-ristorante time slot). The final de rigueur chasedown has to seem necessary (why crash your car through her parents’ gate when you can just, y’know, call her?). And cultivating Graduate-level, glass-banging fervor demands more than just putting Jenny on the block. This particular week, though, the faux-urgent lovers in Deliver Us From Eva and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days seem authentically pressured—since 10 days is about the furthest ahead anybody’s looking.
As Eva, Bring It On‘s Gabrielle Union has a new squad—the family she’s led with a whip since their parents died. Now her three younger sisters have men in their lives who want to throw Eva from the train, resentful as they are of their wimmin’s fealty to big sis. Enter LL Cool J as Ray, the cool lady-lover the boys pay to seduce Eva and break up her axis. But if he thinks that’ll be easy, then he doesn’t know what Eva is. As wrathful health inspector, possessed choir director, and general castrating angel, Union wrecks store with a slew of ass-chapping teardowns that would make Cam’ron curdle. The sisters’ gender-fuck frustrations (one’s man wants a baby, another more snuggling, another to move in) play a little silly as wish fulfillment, but in the wake of Union’s explosions, slo-mo of the sisters switch-striding up from behind a slope like “No, No, No” era Destiny’s children is a “Brothers Ain’t Shit” knockout drop. And as for Eva getting her groove back, well, aside from some ill-advised horseback riding, James Todd Smith proves a worthy match—long as he don’t handle her cheddar, dawta.
In How to Lose a Guy we get not only a quick breakneck spin through the life cycle of a modern affair, but also a glimpse into the Starbucksy, Condé Nasty life of New York women’s mag-ers. As Andie, a whitewashed Anka (and would-be Arianna Huffington, judging from her repeatedly rejected “substantive” story ideas), Kate Hudson pitches a how-to that requires she date and scare away a man by being emotional and clingy (daters might want to catch this one before the dinner). Why this process would take 10 days is mysterious. But oddly enough, Hudson’s victim has made an unrelated bet that he can win a woman’s love in 10 short days as well (Matthew McConaughey, anybody?).
With a premise this screwy, nobody has any choice but to follow the savvy lead of Bebe Neuwirth, who, as Hudson’s Composure editor, hams her queen-bitch-mother-hen role to glazed perfection. Even when Hudson falls in love, her boss isn’t having it: “I want copy on my desk in 48 hours!” Yes ma’am! McConaughey’s ace ball-gown double-take makes Ralph Fiennes’s Maid in Manhattan attempt look even more like that Schindler-stealing leer. (Note: It’s also less winceable watching McConaughey vault onto a Hudson-piloted motorcycle than bracing for LL’s bobbling on Union’s steed.) Of course, Hudson clamors about writing pieces on Tajikistan while finding no fault with ad exec McConaughey’s vicious competition for a worldwide diamond cartel account. But that’s just a small continuity glitch. Nobody will notice, and anyway, 10 days from now, we might not even be here.