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Movie Review: 'The Ugly Truth'

Category: The Ugly Truth Reviews
Article Date: August 4, 2009 | Publication: The Epoch Times | Author: James Carroll

Posted by: stagewomanjen

What do you get when you stick a bit of raunch and Gerard Butler into your run-of-the-mill, formulaic rom-com? The Ugly Truth is a surprisingly watchable chick flick for men as well as women.

New rom-com queen Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up/27 Dresses) stars as the romantically challenged, high maintenance, This Morning style TV producer Abby. Her beloved show, despite all her best efforts, is floundering in the ratings war. To perk up their figures, studio boss Stuart (Nick Searcy) brings in local cable sensation Mike (Gerard Butler – 300/P.S. I Love You/RocknRolla) to reveal to the masses “The Ugly Truth”.

A misogynist, Frank T.J. Mackey-type womaniser, Mike pushes all Abby’s wrong buttons. The public loves him however, leading the show to take an upturn in fortunes and a larger starring role for the chauvinistic correspondent. Then when Abby meets Dr Colin (the none-more-so American Eric Winter – Days of Our Lives) and swiftly fluffs her chances with him thanks to her lack of flirting skills, she turns to Mike to help her snare her man. With “unexpected” (yeah, right) consequences.

Look, let’s be honest. The Ugly Truth completely adheres to formula and offers nothing especially original or exciting. We know that the two leads that don’t like each other at the beginning are going to by the end. This film even comes complete with the chase to get the girl at the end. But half the appeal of these stories is the comfort of knowing what’s going to happen. The other half is how you get there.

In this case it’s screwball battle of the sexes meets surprisingly risqué and rude and it works well for the most part. It’s bitty, but crucially, funny. And, for once, actually romantic as well. Romantic because the hate-cum-love story here actually goes through some realistic beats with palpable chemistry between the two leads for a change. Funny because Butler brings it and there’s a couple of decent if derivative comedy set-pieces (the central dinner date is the undoubted highlight – think Wedding Crashers or Police Academy podium in reverse and you’ll get the picture).

Kudos should also go to Butler and Heigl for allowing their characters to appear nothing less than unlikeable for the first half of the movie. Both their characters aren’t the type you would normally root for, but they become increasingly appealing through their continual interaction with one another and forced improvements upon one another.
Realistic and romantic, in both character and situation. Who woulda thunk it possible from a conventional chick flick?

Rating: 3 stars of 5


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