Capsule reviews: `The Ugly Truth'

Category: The Ugly Truth Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: July 21, 2009 | Publication: The Associated Press | Author: Christy Lemire
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"The Ugly Truth" —

At the end of this drearily formulaic romantic comedy, as our two leads are finally admitting they've fallen for each other (no spoilers here, folks), Katherine Heigl's character asks Gerard Butler's why he's in love with her. Basically he says he has no idea, only he phrases it with a word we can't reprint here. Our sentiments exactly. Obviously, in a battle-of-the-sexes comedy like this, the guy and the girl who hate each other at the beginning realize they're meant for each other by the end. But there's nothing even remotely likable, much less lovable, about Heigl's Abby Richter. She's a control freak who runs a tight ship at a Sacramento TV station, producing the morning news with unflappable efficiency and zero creativity. She uses the same approach in her personal life, which is why she's hopelessly single, despite the fact that she looks like Katherine Heigl. Sure, it's meant as a joke, but come on. The idea of a woman being so rigid and frigid is purely archaic — which is why it's so disheartening that the script comes from three women: Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, who had much greater success writing female characters in "Legally Blonde" and "The House Bunny," and first-timer Nicole Eastman. (Robert Luketic, who also did better work with "Legally Blonde," directs the slapstick antics in rather unspectacular fashion.) When Butler's brash Mike Chadway gets hired to boost ratings at the station after hosting a popular cable-access show on dating, he and Abby immediately clash. Naturally, that will change.

One and a half stars out of four.