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|The Ugly Truth|
dir Robert Luketic
scr Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith
prd Kimberly di Bonaventura, Gary Lucchesi, Deborah Jelin Newmyer, Steven Reuther, Tom Rosenberg, Kirsten Smith
with Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, John Michael Higgins, Cheryl Hines, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D Goins, Bonnie Somerville, Nate Corddry, Kevin Connolly, Craig Ferguson
release US 24.Jul.09, UK 7.Aug.09
09/US Columbia 1h41
Sparring partners: Butler and Heigl
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
It may be the nature of romantic comedies to be predictable, but this movie never departs from the formula at all. And while the cast is watchable, the film simply has nothing original to say.
Abby (Heigl) is a frazzled breakfast TV producer in Northern California, annoyed when the brutish Mike (Butler) is hired to present a male perspective on her show alongside smiling/strained hosts Larry and Georgia (Higgins and Hines). Mike's theory that men are only interested in looks enrages Abby, who is trying to woo a handsome, successful guy (Winter). Even though she's a complete control freak, she agrees to let Mike help her get her man.
Fortunately, the cast is charming and sometimes even funny. Heigl and Butler could do these roles in their sleep, oozing sass while cutely prickling against each other. Both of them are endearing, in a simplistic sort of way, throwing out witty one-liners and indulging in corny banter that implies the chemistry that is completely absent from the film. Much more fun are Higgins and Hines in small scene-stealing roles that are full of eye-rolling innuendo.
For a film about a strong woman, Abby is awfully needy and desperate. All she can think about is finding the perfect man, and we seem to be the only ones who realise that Mike is the only man the script has in mind for her. Meanwhile, for all his macho posturing and chauvinist comments, he's actually a sensitive soul who understands how men and woman connect. In other words, for all of its bluster, the film isn't remotely as edgy as it pretends to be.
All of the script's male-female sparring uses stereotypes and contrived situations to push the romance forward, from the Cyrano-like coaching to the unsophisticated (and unoriginal) vibrator gag. There are no subplots and no subtext at all. Even the sexuality is simplistic: it's just puritanical sniggering. And by the time the film finally addresses something resonant, wondering who could actually love a control freak, the contrived story and shallow approach leave us cold. But since this is a rom-com with likeable stars, that doesn't really matter.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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