As a female, romantic comedies irritate me. The plots are all cliche and the way men and women are portrayed pretty much make any gender want to give up the search for lasting love. The big change to hit the rom-com format is the R-rated romantic comedy. Done in Knocked Up and My Best Friend's Girl most recently, it tries to appeal to both genders by having dirty words and more sexual encounters thrown onto the screen. The Ugly Truth, is one such comedy and where Knocked Up gave the perfect blend of what was needed, the former film fails in making all the characters unlikeable and being dirty for the sake of it.
Abby (Katherine Heigel) is a successful television producer whose morning news show is tanking in the ratings, much like her love life which is nonexistent due to her control freak nature. As a last ditch effort to keep the show afloat her boss hires Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a ladies man with a popular cable access show, The Ugly Truth, that tells women why men aren't interested in them. Abby and Mike immediately butt heads due to his chauvinist demeanor and her demands, but when Mike gets Abby the man of her dreams, the two start to get along...and possibly start to fall for each other.
The Ugly Truth may be formulaic and utterly cliche but it's not short on laughs. The movie is jam packed with jokes and every one should hit some demographic of the audience. There's gender jokes, sex jokes, etc and they all should elicit a giggle at a minimum. As a personal note it's great to see the film set in Sacramento where I currently reside. It's astonishing how little the city gets mentioned in movies and it was great being able to identify certain landmarks. Note to directors: base more movies out of Sac please! The biggest reason to see this is the chemistry between Butler and Heigel. It's white hot and works throughout the entire movie. If you've seen a preview for this then you've seen the big “flirting” scene and it works better on the big screen in the context of the film.
That leads right into the acting range and the film has a strong comedic presence. Heigel has more than proved herself worthy of being a leading lady and she's so fantastic here. She's confident, sexy, and when she lets loose it's hilarious. It'll be interesting to see how many more movie roles she'll take in this genre before people get tired of it. Butler is solid as the leading man but it's not new territory for him at all. He's proven he's a Lothario and milks it well. The side characters are what makes the movie. Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins are hysterical as the married anchors of the news show. Their jokes are the strongest, probably because they play off each other so well. It would have worked to have the whole movie based around them. The weakest link is Eric Winter as Abby's boyfriend Colin. The guy's hot and all but he comes off stiff as a board and just bland.
It's mentioned before that the premise is not unique and the whole film is formulaic. Boy and girl hate each other, fall in love, miscommunication pulls them apart, etc. The plot can be figured out in 30 seconds if you've seen any movies in this genre so really the strongest pull should be the comedy. For an R-rated film it doesn't zing as much as Judd Apatow's films do. The biggest problem is that The Ugly Truth tries too hard to be dirty. All the jokes have to have one dirty word in them at least and the sex scenes are so tame it's really hard to figure out why this movie got the R in the first place. Heigel and Butler are going to be forever typecast as the ball-busting career woman and the male pig respectively and here it's just boring. The biggest issue is the plot. The film essentially makes the argument that women are control freaks and men only care about looks. You never like the characters because Heigel is so domineering and Butler is such a pig. The ending seems so out of place because neither character truly changes and yet all of a sudden they love each other? The movie just seems scattered and never truly flies. It's also really depressing if you're a single lady since the movie makes such a big deal about being “hot” for a guy.
I know I should probably just accept this movie for what it is, especially as a female but I can't. The movie makes so many generalizations about the genders that it's enough to make anyone not want to be in a relationship, and doesn't that defeat the purpose of movies like these? If you're a female who loves romantic comedies you'll get what you came for. If you're anyone who likes your movies with some meat to them, skip it. The Ugly Truth gets a 2/5.