'Ugly Truth' is revealed before opening credits

Category: The Ugly Truth Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: July 23, 2009 | Publication: ohio.com Beacon Journal | Author: Rich Heldenfels
Publication/Article Link:http://www.ohio.com/entertainment/movies/51458182.html

Plot brings few surprises. Some unexpected laughs sneak in, but mostly movie sticks to formula.

The Ugly Truth is not a movie promising any great surprises. At its heart, it is a very traditional romantic comedy about a seemingly mismatched man and woman who find their way to true love.

The key to movies like this, then, is how good is the ride to a conclusion which is obvious from the trailers onward. In that respect, The Ugly Truth is at best a mixed bag, with some very big (and often R-rated) laughs scattered among stretches when you will be checking your watch.

Predictability, after all, is not confined to the overall plot. If a character's cat climbs into a tree, you can pretty much anticipate the next couple of beats in the story. Or, when the film introduces vibrating underwear with a remote control, you know the remote is going to fall into the wrong hands.

I also question the chemistry between Katherine Heigl (best known for Grey's Anatomy) and Gerard Butler (300, P.S. I Love You). Butler seems more engaging than the chillier Heigl, but this is what the movie has given you.

To plot, then: Heigl is Abby Richter, the producer of a morning TV show in Sacramento. The show has ratings troubles, and Heigl's boss decides the solution is Mike Chadway (Butler), the outspoken and blunt host of The ''Ugly'' Truth, a cable show about relationships.

Chadway joins the morning show and becomes a star. Abby also begins to warm to him, especially as she realizes that he may know more about how to get a man than she does. That becomes especially important when Abby meets Colin (Eric Winter), a hunky doctor, and is determined to win him.

There follows a series of dates where, like Cyrano de Bergerac, Mike secretly coaches Abby. Of course, Mike is also finding himself more attracted to Abby — meaning the real Abby, not the one he and she are creating as Colin's ideal.

And on it goes, tick tock, tick tock. As I said, there are laughs here and there. And Heigl seems to have realized that she is better suited to edgier, explicit humor like this and Knocked Up, as opposed to the milder jokes and more
wistful air of 27 Dresses.

While Heigl and Butler do most of the heavy lifting in the movie, it hedges its bets somewhat with the casting of a lot of improv-experienced comics, including Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and John Michael Higgins (Best in Show), as the co-anchors of the morning show. It helps somewhat, much the way improv expert Jennifer Coolidge elevated Legally Blonde, which shares a director (Robert Luketic) and two writers with The Ugly Truth.

Still, The Ugly Truth is a routine exercise at best, its funny bits just underscoring how uninspired it is most of the time.