REVIEW: The Ugly Truth

30 07 2009

I’ll spare you the bad puns about the ugly truth about this movie. What I will say about “The Ugly Truth” is that at face value, it is a movie so predictable that it is almost painful. You know the formula: guy and girl who are complete opposites meet, they bicker and fight, they reluctantly interact, one of them makes a friendly gesture and things change, and then they fall in love (but usually make love before they realize that). While the movie sticks to this formula like white on rice, it does manage to offer up some gut-wrenching laughs.

In one corner, we have Abby (Katherine Heigl, television’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Knocked Up”), the femnist control freak with her checklist of characteristics that any prospective date has to meet. She dreams of the perfect guy who will respect her for the hard-working woman that she is, but TV personality Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler, “300”) sees things through a different lens. He is a realist, which makes him come off as chauvinistic, who sees men for the sex-crazy pigs that they really are. They butt heads instantly, and much to Abby’s dismay, he is brought in as a ratings ploy on the show that she produces. She eventually confides in Mike to help solve her drought with men, and he turns her into the girl of every man’s dreams…er, fantasies. Only then do the hilarious antics really start as prim and proper Abby slowly takes on some of Mike’s gruff tendencies. Naturally, Abby’s sweetness rubs off on Mike slowly, but when the film delves into the depths of his heart, it becomes corny and clichéd.

Heigl loses some of the charm that she possessed in “Knocked Up” and “27 Dresses,” but she makes up for it by surprising us with a raunchy side that I didn’t think she could do. “The Ugly Truth” is a crude comedy, and Heigl delivers its most vulgar and outrageous moments. Butler is in the zone playing the misogynist and purely carnal Chadway, but when his sensitive and romantic side is exposed, Butler doesn’t deliver the right stuff to make us feel for him.

Although most of the talk about the movie revolves around Heigl and Butler, the hilarious comedic turns from Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and John Michael Higgins (that DirectTV commercial) as news anchors and spouses struggling with their marriage.  And surprisingly enough, the script actually offers up some decent points about relationships that might make decent fodder for a conversation about what each sex is looking for in a relationship (but if you want to see a truly believable one, look here). In the end, an otherwise predictable movie is made bearable by some well-executed raunchy humor. B 2halfstars


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