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The Ugly Truth

Rating: 2.5

Rated: R for sexual content and language.
Release Date: 2009-07-24
Starring: Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith
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The Ugly Truth sells a fantasy about putting together two attractive individuals and telling the audience they’re falling in love rather than taking the time to develop interesting characters and build the romance. The only thing that differentiates it from far too many other uninspired rom-coms is that some of the material is funny and there is an occasional edge to the repartee. Beyond that, however, it’s a cookie-cutter movie, and the cookies are pretty stale.

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.

The two stars, Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, are the next coming of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. They’re both photogenic and their chemistry is hit-and-miss, but I can’t help wonder if this is more symptomatic of problems with the direction of Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) and the weaknesses in the screenplay. When they’re given a full scene in which to interact, there’s something there, but those moments are few and far between.

One thing The Ugly Truth has going for it is that, unlike many romantic comedies, this one is actually funny – not consistently, but there are enough laughter-inducing scenes to keep things from becoming too tedious. Much of the humor is of the sex farce variety, with some of it falling into the Benny Hill school of funny bone tickling. For the most part, The Ugly Truth is PG-13 material (with the only nudity being a male butt), but some profanity and a few descriptive sex terms push it over the line into the realm of the soft R, which makes no sense from a marketing standpoint.

The Ugly Truth is a neatly packaged product that comes with all the consumer friendly safety labels. The comedy, as sophomoric as it often is, relieves some of the boredom of the generic love story. The movie is more like a re-make than something new, but many viewers find comfort in the familiar, and this is for them. For my part, if I want to re-visit this formula, I’ll head for the DVD shelf, where better interpretations of the same basic story exist. And that my friends is ‘The Ugly Truth.’

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