Ugly Truth, The
Sometimes, I feel that romantic comedies are Hollywood’s way of looking at the world’s population and saying “you’re stupid”. How else can you explain the drivel that comes out on a somewhat consistent basis? The next in line of mind-numbing rom-coms is Katherine Heigl’s latest attempt to convince us she’s a star, THE UGLY TRUTH. The basic rom-com premise is here, so we’ve all seen this setup before. The catch this time is that instead of sitting back and saying how much we like the characters, we sit back and say how much we hate the characters. And believe me; there are few redeeming qualities about either lead.
Heigl stars as Abby Richter, an uptight producer of a local talk show. Gerard Butler stars as Mike Chadaway, a host of his own “show” where he tells “the ugly truth” about men, women and dating. When Abby’s show starts to struggle in the ratings, the network brings in Mike to boost ratings. The conflict comes in their personalities since Abby is snobby and uptight, while Mike is crass and loose. After some very weak attempts to establish them as enemies, Abby learns to appreciate Mike after he helps her understand a sexy doctor she’s trying to date. Of course, during that encounter, Mike discovers an appreciation for Abby.
It was really tough for me to write that synopsis. Just trying to take this plot seriously is painful for me. I can’t list all the problems in 1000 words or less, but let’s start with the complete lack of conflict throughout the film. The first “fight” between Mike and Abby happens when she calls into his show and they share “banter” back and forth. It’s a trite, highly contrived sequence that makes no sense whatsoever. When he shows up to work for her the next day, he becomes a beacon against everything she stands for. What’s even worse is how quickly she abandons her views and beliefs to follow Mike and get the ratings.
But maybe the worst aspect of the film is the character development. It’s not that they didn’t have character development, it’s that they started to develop characters and then abandoned the notion for cheap laughs. For example; they gave Mike a nephew and a sister that he takes care of, but aside from a few scenes, we don’t learn anything more about them or their relationship. We kind of know why Mike is like he is because he gives a quick monologue at the end, but we never know why Abby is so uptight and difficult to get along with. As far as we know, she somehow managed to make it her whole life as a beautiful woman that has no idea how to date men.
Believe it or not, I’m all for a good romantic comedy. I liked THE PROPOSAL and I’ve liked many rom-coms over the years. But this film was a complete waste of time for Gerard Butler. I’m not sure if it’s his inability to choose a good script, or his bad American accent, but he hasn’t been able to equal his performance in 300. KNOCKED UP aside, Katherine Heigl is a TV star (on a show I can’t stand) and dealing with her for 90 minutes is tough. As I was watching this, I realized that Bree Turner, who played her assistant, is more likeable and better looking than Ms. Heigl. In the future, I think I’d be more inclined to see her next film than Heigl’s.