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The Ugly Truth


Constructed as an homage of sorts to the classic "opposites attract" screwball comedies of old, The Ugly Truth stars Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, TV's Grey's Anatomy) as Abby Richter, an ambitious, Type A news producer for the local morning talk show A.M. Sacramento. Abby's uncompromising approach to news gathering is surpassed only by her uncompromising approach to dating; as a result, she's chronically single and her show's ratings are in the toilet. So when her boss insists that she take on Mike Chadway, the brash, obnoxious host of a cable-access relationship-oriented talk show as a new correspondent, Abby has little choice but to accept, despite her misgivings about Mike's unabashed chauvinism. Though ratings for A.M. Sacramento immediately spike with the addition of Mike, Abby remains unconvinced as to the efficacy of his politically incorrect (read: misogynist) dating advice. Chastened by Abby's continued skepticism, Mike makes her a wager: If she applies his tools and doesn't successfully turn around her moribund dating life, he'll quit the show. Abby agrees, initiating a sexually charged battle of wits between the two strident adversaries.


Facing off against Heigl is Gerard Butler, the man who once roared "We are Sparta!" as the infinitely badass King Leonidas in the sword-and-sandals epic 300. Unfortunately, Butler followed up the 2006 blockbuster with the weepy chick flick P.S. I Love You, then the limp action fantasy Nim's Island. And while he did manage to redeem himself as a cocky British gangster in Guy Ritchie's comeback RocknRolla, Butler takes a sad U-turn with The Ugly Truth, falling to emasculating new lows in this insipid romantic comedy. Supporting castmembers include Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), John Michael Higgins (Yes Man, Best in Show), Bree Turner (Just My Luck) and Eric Winter (Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay).


Butler and Heigl are both tremendously charming, camera-friendly actors (no one has perfected the art of "sexily flustered" better than Heigl) and they do exhibit a fun, lively chemistry at times during The Ugly Truth. Unfortunately, they're given precious little to work with and are forced to subsist on the few morsels of quality material the script provides.


Director Robert Luketic (21, Monster-in-Law, Legally Blonde) has always been a strict adherent to the modern style-over-substance school of filmmaking, and The Ugly Truth is suitably glossy and slick. But damned if it isn't the most uninspired, unfunny, unsexy sitcom rip-off to grace theaters in recent memory. If Luketic devoted half as much time to punching up the script as he did to lovingly photographing boy toy Eric Winter, he might actually have a decent movie on his hands.


Oy, that's a tough one. The closing credits would be too obvious a choice, so let's instead go with whichever scene immediately preceded the closing credits.


Heigl gets to show off her orgasm-faking skills during a scene in which she inadvertently turns on a pair of vibrating underpants (don't ask me to explain) at a dinner with corporate execs. Interestingly enough, it's her least sexy moment in the film. rated this film 1/2 star.