It is fascinating to think about Hollywood's general perception of women. Leading ladies in Hollywood romantic comedies are these high-strung, uppity women who are dominating control freaks. Also, these women are like this because they haven't been in bed with a proper man yet. Along will come a men's man who will bed her properly, exposing her vulnerable interior and need for manly support in her hollow, shallow life. This is what Hollywood would have us believe - and ironically, their target audience is women who would flock to these idiotic films setting new records in the process.
It is possible to write essays on what is utterly wrong with this way of making films, but if the box office figures of such movies are any indication, I'm not telling the crowds what they want to know. The demeaning of women reaches a new low in The Ugly Truth, which is as potty-mouthed and utterly disgracing to all the women who star in it. Especially Katherine Heigl.
Heigl, after the surprise mega-hit Knocked Up and the almost solo 27 Dresses
, was touted as many to be the successor to Julia Roberts' empty throne. If this film is any indication, things have not taken a turn in that direction at all. This is an uncouth and humiliating role for anyone, and won't do her any favours at all.
Heigl plays Abby, a successful TV show producer who is controlling and good at her work. Her show's ratings skyrocket when it is joined by Mike (Butler), a foul-mouthed "straight talker" who tells women that the reason men like them is because of their breasts and ass, and the reason they stay is because of the things they do with them (not kidding).
As the three women screenwriters of this film would have it, Abby hasn't had any luck in the dating department, and so she takes advice from Mike to impress a next-door doctor (Eric Winter). What follow are a series of increasingly public humiliations for Abby, almost always sexual in nature, and her road to realizing that only Mr. Wrong is right for her.
There is nothing attractive in these two opposites at all, so the romance, despite or buoyed by these tropes depending on taste, is non-existent. Director Robert Luketic does not even try to bring a semblance of chemistry between his leads - the romantic revelation being one of the most forced moments in this farce.
Heigl is a pale shadow of the promise she showed earlier - the charm is still intact, and she gives the annoying scenes her all, but that joie de vivre
is somehow missing. Butler looks bloated and utterly devoid of any charisma whatsoever. The supporting cast is as by-the-numbers as a film like this is likely to have. If anything saves the movie, it is a small cameo from Craig Ferguson - and an increasing bevy of pretty faces to look at.
Russell Carpenter is a decidedly huge-movie guy, and his surehandedness is the only point worth writing home about. The shot selection is decent, but Carpenter adds in visual flourishes here and there that at least give the movie a posher feel.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, I did not write this film off entirely before watching it, but watching it fully has made me swear off Hollywood's attempts at "romantic" "comedies". Your mileage may vary slightly, but this is a despicably bad film, with some tasteless jokes that I cannot recommend at all.