The Ugly Truth: Round two (Blog)

Category: The Ugly Truth News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: August 14, 2009 | Publication: GQ Daily | Author: James Mullinger
Publication/Article Link:GQ Daily


In Monday's Guardian Hadley Freeman belatedly lambasted Friday-before-last's big release The Ugly Truth, Katherine Heigel's runaway box office hit. In tribute to Freeman's tardiness I have waited five days before responding to her column. In it, she claimed that the film is "bad in a way that saps your will to live" and that it "has won the impressive accolade of being the worst film of the summer". She claims that the film is humiliating to women and basically echoes what the Miami Herald said when they insisted that "The Ugly Truth is insulting to women, men and even goldfish".

Andy Morris eloquently slammed the film on this very site on the 27th July and it is true that The Ugly Truth boasts that rare trait normally reserved for films made by the Wayans brothers in that it has gleaned some of the worst reviews of the year while at the same time also being one of the most profitable.

I feel however that everyone is missing the point here. Obviously the film is nonsense, but has Heigl tried to hold it up as a bastion of cinematic greatness? No, she's just a working woman trying to succeed in a notoriously misogynistic industry. Freeman is doing what all chauvinists want: she is slamming a successful, powerful women. Freeman is an excellent writer. Heigl is a successful actress. Don't have a bitch fight girls - you are basically playing right into Littlejohn's grubby hands.

The film certainly appears to be insulting, suggesting that cinemagoers love utter tosh, but it can't be considered patronising when it transpires that this is exactly what the public do want as they've flocked in their millions to see it. For my sins, I must confess I really enjoyed the film. Sure I love Citizen Kane and The Godfather but when I go to the cinema with my wife I just want fluffy fun. The motif of the film seems to be that misogynists are really just looking for love. As a feminist I can say I don't find that in any way offensive.

Some have criticised the film as being wannabe-Apatow. Sometimes I think I am the only person who actually doesn't care about the characters in Apatow's films. They are boorish idiots. Sure, the films are funny but I find Seth Rogen's characters vile, not charming. Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth on the other hand is utterly charismatic throughout even when talking to a woman's breasts.

If you were going to see this film, chances are you already have. Twice. And contributed to its $100m haul, thus pushing Heigl higher up the Hollywood hierarchy. Another woman at the top? Surely as feminists we can celebrate her success, not slam her for it.