Wednesday 25 October 2017

Movie Review: The Ugly Truth (2009)

An undistinctive romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth offers decent star power but can't wriggle out of the genre's straightjacket.

Abby (Katherine Heigl) is an unattached television producer, a believer in romance and still looking for the perfect Mr. Right. With ratings in a slump, her station brings on outspoken shock jock Mike (Gerard Butler) to juice up the show. Mike believes only in lust and that women who are seeking an ideal romance are deluded.

Abby and Mike immediately clash, but he nevertheless helps her to develop a budding relationship with her new next door neighbour Colin (Eric Winter), an orthopedic surgeon who seems too good to be true. Mike tutors Abby in the art of seduction and Colin falls for her charms. But Mike and Abby also start to develop feelings for each other, despite having little in common.

There is nothing in The Ugly Truth that isn't totally predictable. Director Robert Luketic is unable to do anything unique or original with the feeble material, and indeed the television studio news show setting reeks of rom-com ideas about 20 years behind the times. In the late 1980s films like Broadcast News and Switching Channels played in this space for better or worse, and here Abby's workspace is a flashing sign warning of no new ideas.

It is left to stars Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler to wring some laughs out of the dross, and they do on occasion deliver. Both Heigl and Butler are better than the movie, and thanks to a foul-mouthed script oriented at adults and full of say-what's-really-on-your-mind obscenities, The Ugly Truth at least allows Abby and Mike to fully have a go at each other with some spirited verbal sparring. It may be often juvenile and always low-brow, but there are laughs to be had in the clash between the idealistic romantic and the boorish chauvinist.

Along the way the film pokes some fun at both simplistic men and overcomplicated women, as the two protagonists inevitably push towards the middle. When Abby and Mike do finally emotionally connect on the dance floor and then in a hotel elevator, Luketic delivers a decent sequence where adults are rocked by the rush of unexpected feelings. And the latest attempt to mimic the fake orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally is actually pretty funny.

Otherwise the pacing is clunky, the opposites attract theme too tired to even pretend to be convincing, and the supporting characters are straight out of cheap television sit-com territory. The truth is that despite two attractive stars, this film experience is mostly just ugly.

All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.

1 comment:

  1. katherine Heigl's movie career since leaving TV show Grey's Anatomy hasn't blown up in a big way as one would expect.


We welcome reader comments about this post.