Ah The Ugly Truth... women fall head over heels and men fall for women that make them look twice. The whole Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus game of male/female interactions has been discussed at length and whichever way you look at it... there just doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Well, that's what we thought until we watched What Women Want, as Mel Gibson discovered he had the gift. Now the flip side of the coin is exposed and girls you're not going to like it. Prince Charming is dead... long live King Leonadis... err, Mike... played by Gerard Butler.
He's a guy, who likes to call it as it is and in this case, it's nasty... just plain nasty. Katherine Heigl creates an eclectic mix for The Ugly Truth from two of her recent starring roles in 27 Dresses and Knocked Up. She's a producer at a local news network and she's a Britney Spears versus Gwyneth Paltrow knock out. This romantic comedy is R-rated and for good reason with plenty of potty mouth and several scenes that leave little to the imagination. The game of love gets a spin as relational uglinesses surface in Abby's attempt to win the affection of her Doctor/Model neighbour. She's a robot in Mike's control as he tries to give her the What Guys Want makeover without the easy-to-follow instructions.
The movie incorporates aspects from Anchorman with the majority of the drama as sparks fly in the news room, where Mike and Abby battle for supremacy like Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate. The roles of career-orientated men and women are contrasted sharply against one another, as the time-honoured line between love and hate gets the runaround. It's fairly typical romantic comedy terrain with a new stomping ground and fresh take on the dating game. It's called The Ugly Truth and things do get ugly... but not ugly enough to top There's Something About Mary. Butler and Heigl have great on-screen chemistry and look good together in a Dharma & Greg kind of way. The fresh coat of paint gives the tired love triangle a new edge, which is bolstered by Knocked Up's agility when it comes to comedy. While the dialogue could have been much wittier, it's the romantic insight and situational comedy that succeeds in The Ugly Truth.
The movie toes the line with plenty of bad language and some controversial aspects when it comes to the game of love, but pulls the plug on the dirty bath water in favour of a more traditional last quarter. This makes the whole tawdry affair seem way too predictable, but isn't that what audiences want with romantic comedies? Butler demonstrates his amazing range as he bridges the divide between gung-ho action films like RocknRolla and 300 with the lead romantic appearances in P.S. I Love You and now The Ugly Truth. Heigl's a strong actress and has enough charm to pull off the laughs and swoons at the right moments. The Ugly Truth isn't going to blow your socks off (no pun intended) and starts off with a bang (no pun intended) only to leave you nestled between Lady Love's fairy cushions once again (pun intended).
The movie takes a while to get going comedically, but has enough Butler/Heigl chemistry and "romcom" formula to keep aloft until a rather shaggy and abrupt conclusion. Eric Winter shows off as the ideal hunk and check list guy, while John Michael Higgins and Cheryl Hines play a funny duo in supporting parts as married news anchors. The Ugly Truth is that this romantic chick flick works for guys too with its brash comedy and sexual curiosity. The cast hold everything together and it works as a decent, entertaining piece of soft focus Hollywood under the watchful eye of Robert Luketic. It's a third or fourth date kind of movie, which makes some humourous and interesting gender observations while keeping within the confines of the "romcom" genre rules.
The bottom line: Cheeky.