The Ugly Truth Directed by: Robert Luketic Cast: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: R Release Date: July 24, 2009
Plot: In order to save her news show, a conservative producer (Heigl) reluctantly enlists the help of a man (Butler) who offers dating advice on a segment called "The Ugly Truth."
Who’s It For? The R-rated dating crowd that only like the illusion of seeing a movie empowering to both men and women. Though it's written by three women and even produced by Heigl, The Ugly Truth has much more of a "men"tality than one would expect.
Expectations: Considering the compelling casting, I had hopes that this would be a funny relationship comedy with some genuine laughs. I was even thinking this movie could enlighten us onto how the opposite sex thinks.
Actors: Katherine Heigl as Abby Richter: Despite the roles assigned to her by Butler's character, Heigl is more amusing as "the librarian" than "the stripper." Abby's moments of sexiness always have the creepy course of an agenda, often controlled by Mike (or even worse, the film's script). Her chemistry with the piggish Chadway is at least more interesting when it is a clear example of positive vs. negative. Score: 6
Gerard Butler as Mike Chadway: If men are from mars, then Chadway is that planet’s emperor. Butler is once again an interesting fit for a romantic comedy, but is surely able to continue King Leonidas-like dominance. While he may not have the shredded 80-pack of Abby’s all-American doctor boyfriend, his character Chadway has everything the ultimate dude could want. He has 100 percent confidence in all of his actions, he has a young accomplice of which he can be a father figure to, he has the power to bring a San Diego news station to his knees, and even has the ability to manipulate the entire character of women that “need” his advice (in this Ugly case, Abby). Plus, he must always be eating, because Butler’s cute little cheeks always give off the idea that he’s chewing something - which for all we know could be his own BS. (Apparently three women wrote this script, but their names might as well be one big pseudonym for author of “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell,” man/beast/scum-of-the-earth Tucker Max.) Score: 6
Talking: Aside from a handful of clever lines, the dialogue is rarely biting. The Truth is that this movie could've really benefited from spicy dialogue more than the repeated formula of Butler saying something gross or piggish, only to be complimented by Heigl's scoffs and head shakes. Score: 4
Sights: Katherine Heigl has a very When Harry Met Sally moment at the dinner table, which I suppose is something most of us don't see every day. Score: 4
Sounds: Three summer '09 jams are present and accounted for in this soundtrack. Katy Perry's "Hot and Cold" even controls the pulse of the opening credits. Flo Rida's "Right 'Round" and Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful of Sunshine" also make carefully placed appearances. Needless to say, don't worry about buying a soundtrack that is full of songs already on your iPod (if you can actually stand these tracks). Score: 5
Best Scene: The very first interaction between Heigl and Butler happens over the phone, and it’s a sharp-witted peak of which the dull Ugly Truth commences to slowly tumble down from.
Ending: Mike doesn't get his comeuppance for turning Abby into everything that is not herself. But I'm sure you can guess who and what he does get in the end. (Hint: not the illiterate fun-bag twin).
Questions: Admittedly, The Ugly Truth taught me a way to find out if someone likes me with just one phone call (hang up mid-chat and wait to see if the person calls back). But why couldn't the writers share more tricks like that?
Rewatchability: No, thanks. When it comes to the thoughts of The Ugly Truth, I get it. Men are apparently more powerful than women. Next.
More than it should, this film believes in its “ugly” male protagonist wholeheartedly. It thinks that Abby's show could only benefit from a guy who aggressively flirts with the FCC moral code line, and also that his coaching (which include butt-smacks and telling Abby to "shut up" twice) are "ugly" but even more so "true." As a bachelor on the lookout, even I was shaking my head.
Lamer than that, The Ugly Truth squanders its chances to be a sexy lil' thang by disappearing into a crowd of romantic comedy clichés, including the message it so lazily tries to dish out after all the damage has been done. As far as “romantic comedies” go, there are indeed other fish in the sea - one’s that are smarter and a bit more unique. They’re not all dumb bimbos like The Ugly Truth that can’t think for themselves.
Final Score: 4/10