The Ugly Truth

Category: The Ugly Truth Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: July 24, 2009 | Publication: | Author: RAFER GUZMN
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A romantic comedy written by three women and directed by a man, "The Ugly Truth" does a disservice to both genders.

Its crass sex jokes feel like chum for mentally stunted males, while its dimwitted storyline seems aimed at females who find paperback romances overly nuanced. It's doubtful these demographics even exist outside the filmmakers' cynical imaginations.

But they are represented in "The Ugly Truth" by Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl), the high-minded producer of a Sacramento television program, and Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a cable-channel commentator who believes women are good for only one thing. We're meant to believe these two will throw sparks, but instead, they produce the acrid smoke of a grease fire.

The dull plot involves Abby's desire for Colin (Eric Winter), her bland but hunky neighbor. Socially inept and insecure, Abby allows Mike to shape her into an attractive ditz, which sends Colin head over heels. Meanwhile, Mike mopes in the background.

But wait: Is Mike a sex-crazed Howard Stern or a sensitive Phil Donahue? The screenwriters - including two who wrote "The House Bunny" - can't decide, which leaves Butler adrift. And director Robert Luketic, efficient enough with "Legally Blonde," isn't much help, dutifully shooting each contradictory scene. As a result, the film's central romance flips and flops like a dying fish.

Only Heigl, who seems game for anything, manages to overcome the crude material. At one point the movie puts her in a pair of vibrating panties, then switches them on during a business dinner. To Heigl's credit, it's the funniest scene in the film.


1 1/2 stars