Kate Hudson Was Original Cool Girl

It’s hard to forget the searing “Cool Girl” screed from Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl and the 2015 movie adaptation of the same name. To refresh, it goes something like this:

Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

The wild thing is: Barring a few, this list of adjectives reads like the character description of one Andie Anderson, protagonist of 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, which turns 20 years old this week. Can you believe a) that Andie perfected the cool girl schtick while Flynn hadn’t even yet published a novel about it, and b) we are so old?

Played by Kate Hudson, Andie is a 23-year-old women’s magazine writer who yearns to write ~serious journalism~ (I guess Teen Vogue wasn’t doing politics back in 2003). When the movie begins, her job is to write “how to” columns, and this month’s assignment is the titular “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”

The guy? Matthew McConaughey’s Benjamin Barry, an ad exec trying to land a diamond account in an interoffice bet (cue: “Am I a bet, am I a fucking bet?”) that involves him making a woman fall in love with him by the time the company party for the account holders rolls around, which is also in ten days. The woman? Andie Anderson.

So while Ben’s trying to woo Andie by making her a home-cooked meal and *checks notes* that’s kinda it, Andie is doing her darndest to turn him off by buying into all the tropes women’s magazines like hers peddle as such, like being needy, clingy, crashing boys night ,and decorating his apartment with doilies and “love ferns” on the second date.

In actuality, Andie is the Cool Girl that Flynn attempts to debunk as a real person in Gone Girl. She takes Ben to a Knicks game (where she makes him miss the final play—did I use the right sports terminology?—by forcing him to buy her refreshments from the concessions stand), wolfs down a burger for lunch instead of her colleagues’ dainty salads, and plays expletive-titled card games with Ben’s family, who live on Staten Island but are somehow Southern. (Watch this clip. What are those accents?)

Under the blonde magazine writer visage (if you’ll remember, Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne was also a blonde magazine writer; as an aside, I always thought Hudson would be good in that role) Andie’s just a cool girl who’s unbothered by riding motorbikes, getting splashed by muddy puddles, and ruining her blow out.

Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Ben is baffled by Andie’s 180, wondering where the “amazing, fun, cool, sexy woman” went, while Andie is struggling to understand why Ben is still interested after her stage five clinger schtick. In actuality, if they let their pretenses about what heterosexual men and women want from each other disappear, they’d see that they actually have a lot in common. Andie wants to graduate to writing about more intellectual topics while Ben no longer wants to be seen as “the sports guy” by landing the more lucrative diamond account. But of course this is a peak 2000s rom-com, so the love interests can’t possibly treat each other like human beings with diverse interests.

Remember when Anne Hathaway joked to James Corden that Gone Girl was her favorite rom-com and was met with crickets? (That should have been our first clue that Corden was a blight on society.) She had a point: the next part of Amy’s famous monologue goes on to say that movies like rom-coms contribute to the creation of the cool girl persona.

“You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them,” Flynn continues. Andie, director Donald Petrie and the two out of three writers of the film who are men do nothing to disabuse Ben of this notion.

Don’t get me wrong, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is one of the better entries in the genre, owing largely to the chemistry between Hudson and McConaughey and the inclusion of a young Kathryn Hahn as the put-upon best friend. And the climax that involves a gorgeous yellow dress, a Carly Simon singalong, and a would-be stolen diamond is *chef’s kiss*.

Blood diamonds as an aspirational rom-com plot point is how you know the movie couldn’t be replicated today. It’s not for want of trying, though. Hudson has said that she’s “open” to a sequel, and has talked a lot about why the rom-com has dissipated since her heyday in them during the press tour for Glass Onion.

“That’s the class I’m going to be [teaching] at NYU film school when I’m 75. I’ll be the professor of rom-coms,” she said on Hot Ones.

And, randomly, the Daniels—the Oscar-nominated Everything Everywhere All At Once directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert—told IndieWire that they’ve pitched a How to Lose a Guy sequel!

What would that entail, I wonder? Hudson as a disgruntled IRS employee? McConaughey running his family laundromat business on Staten Island? Their kid creating a multiverse to heal from their generational trauma of their parents playing psychosexual mind games with one another? The mind boggles. One thing’s for sure: After an Oscars sweep of 11 nominations, the most of any film this year, the Daniels’ version of How to Lose a Guy is probably being greenlit as I write.

But maybe that goes to Amy Dunne’s point: Do we really need another rom-com written by socially awkward men? Perhaps a modern sequel to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days could be a deconstruction of the cool girl trope. Instead of a disillusioned magazine (remember those; the currentmedialandscape wound not be ripe for a young Andie) writer buying into outdated notions of dating, the article she writes could be about how (not) to do so.

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