'The Ugly Truth' a not so pretty, formulaic romcom
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The ugly truth about "The Ugly Truth" is Katherine Heigl has finally met her rom-com match in Gerard Butler but it's in a movie that is utterly predictable. Not to mention R-rated, which puts it slightly closer to "Knocked Up" than "27 Dresses," for parents or moviegoers who care.
The "Grey's Anatomy" star plays Abby, producer of a breezy and ratings-challenged TV show called "A.M. Sacramento." She is a woman who believes in solving problems and taking control, whether in the newsroom or on a blind date.
2 stars = Mediocre
- Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler.
- Rating: R for sexual content and language.
After a particularly disastrous dinner, she ends up home alone where she accidentally stumbles upon a cable TV regular who knows the way to a man's, uh, heart (or thereabouts): Get skinny and buy trashy lingerie, for starters.
Turns out her boss thinks Mike (Gerard Butler) could be the answer to her show's ratings woes. Not only that, but he counsels her on landing a new neighbor, an orthopedic surgeon named Colin (Eric Winter of "Brothers & Sisters") who could be the man of her dreams -- or checklist of ideal attributes.
At a time when romance on screen is being reinvented, "The Ugly Truth" is a throwback but with risque patter and panties, plus Mike's list of rules for male attention and attraction.
Heigl seems game for anything and Butler's masculine charm meter is cranked up to high. They have more chemistry than Heigl and Seth Rogen ("Knocked Up") or Butler and Hilary Swank ("P.S. I Love You").
However, they are not always well served by the screenplay by Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith. The story works best when Mike is schooling Abby in the secrets of seduction, misfires in its portrait of morning TV, and turns silly and conventional by the end.
Directed by Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde," "Monster-in-Law"), "Ugly Truth" provides a chance for legions of Butler fans to see him in a movie in which he isn't disfigured, dead too soon or a small-time crook. Heigl has gone this rom-com road before but at least it doesn't lead to a stairway or elevator to heaven as with TV doc Izzie Stevens.
If, like Abby, we had a checklist for a first-rate romantic comedy, two appealing stars would be on it. But so would heartfelt exchanges, intelligent banter and creative daring, and they are missing.
First Published July 24, 2009 12:00 am