The Ugly Truth review – misogyny versus misandry!
There is something about romantic comedies made these days. They are incredibly predictable, with only a few exceptions. Most of them seem to take their foundations from classic romantic tales such as Cyrano De Bergerac along with Beauty and the Beast. Modern romcoms focus on two seemingly incompatible people who begin the film hating each other and suddenly realise that their initial arrogance shields their many insecurities.
With this in mind then, The Ugly Truth plays almost exactly to expectations. In no other film genre, this would be considered acceptable but in romantic comedies it is the norm. We can only hope that one day (sometime in the future) someone capable of writing a decent storyline will show us a new take on this genre. Until then however we are left with films such as The Ugly Truth which as you would expect, is amusing enough to sit through, but contrived enough to make 50% of the population ignore it!
A romantically challenged morning show producer (Heigl) is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent (Butler) to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love. His clever ploys, however, lead to an “unexpected” result.
Don’t be fooled by the synopsis section of this review. There is nothing unexpected in this film and that fundamentally is its biggest flaw. What is most unusual though is the adult tone throughout the piece allowing for a little bit of peace and quiet away from the school children on summer holidays!
For some reason Katherine Heigl is considered an actress. I have yet to see it. What I have watched of her work is simply another cut and paste Kate Hudson who is firmly placed in one genre and refuses to step out of it. Don’t get me wrong: she is perfectly capable of coming across as a control freak who is offended by the misogynistic behaviour of Gerard Butler but then again, I doubt anyone would have a problem with this.
Butler however is where the film gets its buzz. He is able to bring an unusual charm to the role despite primarily being an arrogant and crude individual. This is no mean feat as anyone given the lines of his character (Mike Chadway) has to work hard to gain any empathy from the audience at all.
Supporting roles are almost non-existent in The Ugly Truth which is a great shame as many more comical occurrences could be squeezed from the news crew (which the main characters work with). Certainly the initial amusement gained from the husband and wife news anchors is lost after about 15 minutes and is almost an unwelcome change in pace.
This is a film of two halves. It certainly takes its time in getting to the point and you feel as if Mike’s misogynistic ramblings are heard about 6 times too many for most people’s liking. As the film progresses though and the chemistry between the leads blossom, the tale takes a turn for the better.
The Ugly Truth is not a laugh a minute comedy. It doesn’t even try to be. What it attempts to do is to make a romantic film for men and women. Sadly, what inevitably occurs is the first half contains an extreme stereotypical “male” point of view and the second half contains an extreme stereotypical “female” point of view. Both of these halves are unlikely to please all of the audience and yet whilst watching it, these most obvious flaws are overlooked.
The symmetry of the film is something to behold though as both sides of view are offered up for opinion. It is a refreshing change to see a bold move by producing this movie. On paper this just sounds like a major mistake. It is only with the help of onscreen chemistry and the charm of both of the leads that brings us to a suitable conclusion.
When all is said and done though The Ugly Truth; despite starting to bend the boundaries; doesn’t break them. It is a romcom through and through and manages to un-surprise me in such a way that I was shocked as to how unsurprised I was. It is a predictable tale that will appeal to more of a demographic than its usual core audience and because of that, it is an improvement on the many thousands of awful romcom titles that have come before it.
I enjoyed The Ugly Truth. It made me laugh (always a good sign). The leads were solid and had good chemistry and above all both Heigl and Butler had some absolutely hilarious scenes (look out for Heigl’s remote control underwear). It is recommended for your average date film but is missing a great deal more emotion. If only Mike’s history had been explained in a bit more detail then this review would be a great deal more positive
Rating: 3.5 out of 5