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  Publicity Stills of
"The Ugly Truth"
(Courtesy of Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Romance/Comedy
Director: Robert Luketic
Cast: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Eric Winter, John Michael Higgins, Nick Searcy, Kevin Connolly, Cheryl Hines
RunTime: 1 hr 36 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: NC-16 (Some Sexual Preferences)
Official Website: http://www.theuglytruth-movie.com/

Opening Day: 17 September 2009


The battle of the sexes heats up in Columbia Pictures' comedy "The Ugly Truth." Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is a romantically challenged morning show producer whose search for Mr. Perfect has left her hopelessly single. She's in for a rude awakening when her bosses team her with Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a hardcore TV personality who promises to spill the ugly truth on what makes men and women tick.

Movie Review:

At first sight, “The Ugly Truth” seems like another romantic comedy by way of Doris Day/ Rock Hudson, where two opposites begin by hating each other’s guts, move on to sabotaging each other’s lives, and end up falling in love with each other. But take a closer look at its poster- especially where Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler are holding their bright red cut-out hearts- and you’ll get a hint of what really is "The Ugly Truth".

It’s as simple as this- girls want true love, but guys just want good sex. That’s the wisdom, 'the ugly truth', that Mike (Gerald Butler) imparts to his audience on his late-night cable-TV show; and the same wisdom Mike teaches Abby (Katherine Heigl), his new Sacramento morning-TV show producer who desperately needs him to give her show a ratings boost. You see, Abby is also romantically challenged, so while the pair disagree over Mike’s sexually explicit antics on TV, she decides to give Mike’s advice a go to help her win the heart of her new dashing next-door neighbour, a doctor no less.

You’d be surprised at how raunchy "The Ugly Truth" actually gets- from the not-so-subtle “hot dog” reference to the even less subtle use(s) of the “cock” word, it’s quite clear how this rom-com has earned itself its NC16 rating. But it is also this almost fearless, no-holds-barred attempt at infusing the traditional female-oriented romantic comedy with elements of the male gross-out comedy that makes it hilarious.

Indeed, "The Ugly Truth’s" trio of female writers- Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz and Kristen Smith (the latter two also wrote "The House Bunny")- show no qualms in pushing the envelope. They pepper their script throughout with sexual innuendoes (Abby: “My cat stepped on the remote”; Mike: “Be sure to thank your pussy for me”) and downright sexually suggestive scenes (most notably the one where Abby writhes and groans at a corporate dinner meeting thanks to a boy at a neighbouring table who finds the remote to her pulsating panties and turns it on to 'orgasm' mode).

There’s no denying that these bawdy strokes of humour are the movie’s most enjoyable bits; since the rest of it is simply too clichéd-ridden to be anything else but trite and predictable. Yes, aside from its sexual humour, there isn’t anything else particularly funny or romantic about the movie. But like this year’s other exercise in mediocrity, "The Proposal", the banality of the film is redeemed by the winning chemistry between its stars Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler.

Through "Knocked Up" and "27 Dresses", Heigl has displayed an uncanny ability to play tightly wound characters who mask their vulnerability with a cool air of assurance. As before, Heigl shows off her spot-on comic timing in "The Ugly Truth", playing the uptight producer resisting the loss of control over her own TV show with just the right dose of kookiness. Butler, on the other hand, is completely at ease in his first stab at the comedy genre, and the ruggedly handsome actor effuses a nice roguish charm as the lovable cad given his shot at redemption. Together, Heigl and Butler banter with a breezy sharpness that will win you over- even at times when the flimsy material can’t.

And that’s the truth about director Robert Luketic’s formulaic rom-com- it is the stars and their chemistry that ultimately make it work. Despite the very brave attempts by three female writers to take a stab at a gross-out sexual rom-com accessible for both guys and gals, "The Ugly Truth" is wildly uneven and falls flat on its face when it’s not making jokes about male and female genitalia. It’s safe to say that if Doris Day/Rock Hudson had seen this, they would have been appalled.

Movie Rating:

(Some very raunchy humour and sparkling chemistry between Heigl and Butler save this from being an ugly exercise in the rom-com genre)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. The Proposal (2009)

. He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

. 27 Dresses (2008)

. P.S. I Love You (2007)

. No Reservation (2008)

. Knocked Up (2007)

. Lucky You (2007)

. Elizabethtown (2006)


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