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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: Examining its Plot Structure

He grins and bears Celine Dion, hiding his disappointment at not getting to see the Knicks' playoff games (that the Knicks would reach playoffs is itself a fantasy situation), always keeping his eyes on the diamond prize. Although he explodes on poker night, his colleagues remind him that the diamond account hinges on his still-active bet, and he races to patch things up with Andie.

The characters' cross-purposed actions create a comic rhythm. They are behaving in ways that are untypical of them and that, as far as romance is concerned, are against their own best emotional interests. The repetition of Andie's efforts to get Ben to get rid of her feeds the comedy, and it is consistent with Bergson's identification of repetition of action or words as an index of the comic mode; he uses the Jack-in-the-box and the Punch-and-Judy action as metaphors for mechanical repetition of behavior, he refers to "a complete repeating-machine set going by a fixed idea" (388). Meanwhile, the romance is never far beneath the surface because it becomes clear quickly that, all agendas aside, Ben and Andie are genuinely being drawn together, before they even realize it. Equally, before they even realize it, they are putting the authentic side of their relationship in jeopardy. Bergson's idea of the source of comic characterization is relevant here:

Take any comic character: however unconscious he may be of what he says or does, he cannot be comical unless there be some aspect of his person of which he is unaware, one side of his nature which he overlooks; on that account alone does he make us laugh. . . . It is not uncommon for a comic character to condemn in general terms a certain line of conduct and immediately afterwards afford an example of it himself. . . . What is the object of such contradictions except to help us to put our finger on the obliviousnss of the characters to their own actions? (Bergson 392).

The line of action that develops and d...

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