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The World’s Worst Chick Flick Part 4: The Ugly Truth

January 4, 2011

Romantic comedies feature one of three types of women. The first is a career-driven woman who is too focused on her job to fall in love. You learn later that she isn’t too busy for love, she’s just afraid of love. You can spot these women because they usually have very straight hair and wear lots of boring neutrals.

The second type is obsessed with finding The One and will never be happy until she finds Mr. Right. She is usually dating someone who is wrong for her and the right guy comes along to free her from this boring relationship. The third is normal and happy with life and sees a husband as a happy addition to this life, but not necessary for it to be complete.

Rarely do you see the third type of woman in romantic movies any more. Katherine Heigl almost always plays the first type of woman, including in today’s feature, The Ugly Truth. You know she’s the first type because the first time we see her, she is on her way to work and talking on her cell phone, coffee mug in hand.

I watched The Ugly Truth several months ago when it first came out on DVD. The things a girl will watch when she’s bored and has a free Redbox code. I re-watched it because I have a bad memory for movies and it took everything I had not to turn it off and just wing it with this review. I’m just going to say it because it’s staring me right in the face: The ugly truth about The Ugly Truth is that this movie reeks with the stench of its own stupidity. Strong words, I know, but it would be ridiculous not to take advantage of such an aptly named movie.

Katherine Heigl plays Abby, the producer of a morning news show that is tanking in the ratings. Gerard Butler is Mike, a chauvinist who has a cable access show in which he talks about the ugly truths concerning men and women and their relationships. In order to boost their ratings, Abby’s boss hires him for a daily segment. Of course, she is a high-brow, control freak kind of girl who hates everything Mike stands for. But they make a deal that if Mike’s help gets Abby a date with her neighbor, then he gets to stay on the morning show.

Abby agrees, puts on an act for the neighbor, and it works. She gets the guy and the show gets great ratings. I bet you’ll never guess what happens next. Surprise! Mike and Abby fall in love! And Abby realizes that her doctor neighbor boyfriend doesn’t like the true her, but only likes the image that Mike told her to project. But she and Mike have a fight and blah, blah, blah, they argue in a hot air balloon and then kiss and make up. The end.

Problem: After 96 minutes of watching these people interact, I’m still not sure why I should like these two or why I should care that they get together. They have nothing in common and their entire relationship seems to rest on the fact that they find each other attractive.

That’s what really ruins a lot of romance movies for me—I keep wondering how long their shaky relationship will last. Mike will remember how annoying it is that Abby tries to control everything and Abby will remember how cynical Mike is, and after their first real fight things will end. I don’t know a lot about relationships, but I do know that a lasting relationship needs to be founded on something more substantial than how attracted you are to each other. We’re wading into deep waters here today.

Here’s an example of how little I cared about these two characters. They get together while riding in a hot air balloon and the entire time I kept getting distracted by the other balloons. Granted, I really love hot air balloons. I won’t deny the fact that my love for them means I get more easily distracted than the average movie-watcher. But then again, if your characters are less interesting than colorful balloons, maybe you should take a trip back to the writing room. Just saying.

If you enjoy movies with characters that are kind to each other and charm each other, this is not for you. If you like movies with crude jokes and men who openly admit to having nothing but sex on the brain, then you might enjoy The Ugly Truth. I, for one, am adding this movie to the long list of evidential proof that Hollywood is clueless about what women look for in a romantic comedy. Give us more Joe Fox and less Steff, please. Just because a man is cynical doesn’t mean he is interesting.

The Ugly Truth

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