Review: The Ugly Truth (2009)

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The Ugly Truth (2009)

Directed by: Robert Luketic | 96 minutes | comedy, romance | Actors: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D. Goins, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins, Noah Matthews, Bonnie Somerville, John Sloman, Yvette Nicole Brown, Nathan Corddry, Allen Maldonado, Steve Little , Dan Callahan, Tess Parker, Arielle Vandenberg, Kevin Connolly

In ‘The Ugly Truth’, Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) urges female viewers to wake up. However romantic and understanding men may seem; they really only think of one thing… Right. Abby (Katherine Heigl) is a morning show producer on Sacramento’s regional TV station. She is a true control freak and therefore has no relationship. She does have dates, but she works them out according to a checklist. Not a man who will stick around after that, of course. As the ratings of her show plummet, her boss comes up with an asset: Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler). With his rather flat ‘The Ugly Truth’ about how relationships and (especially) men work, he scored well with a small TV station and he is now supposed to announce his unequivocal lyrics on Abby’s morning show…

It turns out to be a bull’s eye because Mike is an outright ratings hit. Abby, on the other hand, is disgusted by Mike and his lyrics and does believe in Mr. Perfect. In fact; maybe he just moved in next door! The young orthopedic surgeon Colin (Eric Winter) seems to have everything going for it. Only Abby doesn’t know how to make him fall in love with her. Mike knows how to deal with that, however, and he strikes a deal with Abby: he gives her advice on how to handle Colin. If this leads to a relationship between Abby and Colin, Abby must bury the hatchet with Mike. If Mike fails, he will resign and Abby will be rid of him.

Mike then takes Abby to buy clothes that work well with the male hormones and on dates with Colin, he tells her what to say or do through an earpiece. We know that from ‘Hitch’ (2005) and it once again produces hilarious scenes, partly thanks to Heigl’s great facial expression and Butler’s mischievous eyes.

The ending of the film can then be guessed, but that is common with rom-coms. Therein lies the strength of ‘The Ugly Truth’. No, the film simply but nicely responds to the (magnified) cliché differences between men and women. Mike Chadway is the “alpha male on the rock” type and Abby Richter the hopeless romantic who believes in fairytale princes. And because she wants to conquer her Prince Charming – Colin – she is willing to go far for it. After ‘Knocked Up’ (2007) and ’27 Dresses’ (2008), Heigl once again shows that he can handle this genre well. She can be funny, serious and sexy without compromising on her credibility. The chemistry with Gerard Butler (‘300′ (2006), ‘RocknRolla’ (2008)) is also surprisingly good. Butler has so much charm and charisma that he can get away with it even with the female viewers when he is ranting in puberty.

‘The Ugly Truth’ is funny and fresh, without the story yielding any real surprises. The happy ending is woefully trite and weak in terms of special effects. But you also get what you can expect from a rom-com.

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