Heigl Talks Dirty, Butler Wrestles in Jell-O Tub

Category: The Ugly Truth Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: July 23, 2009 | Publication: bloomberg.com | Author: Rick Warner
Publication/Article Link:http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=akPZAwX1kcYY

Katherine Heigl may be creating a new category for beautiful actresses in romantic comedies: reverse typecasting.

After getting impregnated by a homely slacker in “Knocked Up” and playing a perennial bridesmaid in “27 Dresses,” Heigl defies pigeonholing again as a gorgeous TV producer who requires coaching on how to get a man in “The Ugly Truth.”

The implausible role is one of many absurdities in this silly film, co-starring Gerard Butler as a macho chauvinist whose crude ramblings on male-female relationships have made him a cable TV star in Sacramento, California. When he’s hired by Heigl’s rival station to pump up the morning ratings, the conflict between his tabloid antics (he wrestles with scantily clad women in a tub of Jell-O) and her sober news judgment sparks trouble -- though not for long.

It turns out that Heigl’s character is clueless about men and seeks Butler’s advice on how to snag her neighbor, a hunky doctor (Eric Winter) who rescues her when she gets stuck in a tree hanging upside down. As Heigl and Butler get to know each other better, their cold war thaws and ... well, you can figure out the rest.

The premise is as simple as a sitcom, and the presentation isn’t much more sophisticated. Most of the fault lies with the sophomoric screenplay by Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, which relies far too much on gags like Heigl talking dirty and the husband-and-wife co-anchors (Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins) making out on the set. Robert Luketic (“Legally Blonde,” “Monster-in-Law”) doesn’t help matters with his lethargic direction.

Only the natural charms of Heigl and Butler prevent a total disaster. And that’s the ugly truth.

“The Ugly Truth,” from Columbia Pictures, opens tomorrow across the U.S. Rating: *1/2