As Ugly as they come

Category: The Ugly Truth Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: July 24, 2009 | Publication: Metro Canada | Author: CHRIS ALEXANDER
Publication/Article Link:http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/entertainment/article/267574--the-ugly-truth

Rating: ** 1/2

If you’re going to call your film The Ugly Truth then you better be sure it’s a masterpiece because if it’s not, every film critic who lays eyes upon it will simply stand back and let the title review itself.

And make no mistake, the skinny on this pedestrian rom-com migraine-maker ain’t terribly pretty.

Grey’s Anatomy sexpot Katherine Heigl stars as Abby, a TV morning show producer who gets her feathers ruffled by Mike, played by Gerard Butler, a knuckle dragging hunk who has been hired on as an on-air love advice columnist.

Mike’s claim to fame is that he swears to tell “the ugly truth” about male/female relations; lurid from the hip wisdom with little care placed on who he might offend. But although Abby generally loathes her popular star’s sexist ramblings, she decides to take a page out of Cyrano De Bergerac and use him to help her get with her neighbour.

This being the sort of movie it is, guess who she really ends up with...

From tender roles in stuff like the underrated Dear Frankie, to the macho action hero antics of 300, to pseudo-hip fluff like RocknRolla, Butler is a seriously strong screen presence and here he proves that he also has a great sense of comic timing.

Watching him spew out cheerfully rude vulgarites, smirking and smoldering is amusing and hints at the go for the throat picture screenwriters Nicole Eastman and Karen McCullah were trying for. The character (and the actor) belongs in a better film.

Director Robert Luketic (Monster In-Law) never finds the right tone to make any of the faux-screwball shenanigans anything more than an exercise in forced, fast talking (and filthy) foolishness. Even Heigl, so endearing in equally smut-lite comedies like Knocked Up can’t save it and genuine laughs are few and far between (though an over the top scene featuring Heigl and a pair of electric panties is pretty funny… again, if only it were in a better, braver film). Raunchy but safe and predictable, The Ugly Truth just ends up being unlikable. And Ugly. That’s the truth.