Monday, August 03, 2009

The Ugly Truth (**)

The Ugly Truth. 95 mins. R. Directed by Robert Luketic. Written by Nicole Eastman and Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith. Starring Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Eric Winter, John Michael Higgins, and Cheryl Hines.

The Ugly Truth is about as fresh as a high school production of Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman. It is yet another lame studio romantic comedy, with an unbelievable plot and lame jokes. Even more insulting, the movie is rated "R", but it's the most half-assed "R" I've ever seen (or maybe I'm still reeling from Bruno's abuse of the rating). I say, if you're going to go for the "R" rating, then go for it - see The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, or any other Apatow production.
Heigl stars as Abby, an uptight, professional television news producer who has almost no love life to speak of. Butler is Mike, a public access, Loveline-type commentator, who prides himself on speaking "the ugly truth" about women, dating, and relationships. When Mike is picked up as a guest commentator for Abby's news program, the two immediately butt heads, but soon bond when Mike agrees to help Abby woo her new doctor neighbor. What follows is a soggy stream of sex jokes, with the centerpiece being an indirect ripoff of the When Harry Met Sally orgasm scene. This time though, it's Heigl wearing vibrating underwear to dinner, and when she loses the remote and a little kid picks it up to play with it, she starts to enjoy dinner, ahem, a little too much. Are you laughing yet?
The Ugly Truth is not a chore to sit through, it's just pointless and stupid. The movie asks us to believe that Mike's commentary would somehow connect with audiences and cause viewership to substantially increase, even though the advice he offers is insulting and unoriginal, and basically boils down to, "All guys think about is sex." Watching The Ugly Truth is like playing an unsubtle game of "Battle of the Sexes," but with none of the fun. Heigl continues to be a likeable leading lady (though I could have done without all the happy dancing she does here), and Butler does what he can, juggling stupid lines and a growly American accent. One can't help but watch this though and think back to all the controversy Heigl caused when taking Knocked Up to task for having underdeveloped female characters. Okay, fine, but THIS is okay?



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