The Ugly Truth Review

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TV producer Abby (Heigl) is forced to work with unreconstructed relationship ‘expert’ Mike (Butler), who advises women to use sex to get men. They make a bet: unless his methods snag her dream man (Winter) for her, he’ll leave the show


The strange thing about this raunchy rom-com is not that its truths are ugly, but that its lies are. It may come as a shock to Katherine Heigl’s uptight Abby that men prefer boobs to brains, at least at first sight, but it will hardly come as much of a surprise to anyone else with a pulse. What’s far worse is the idea that women are as dumb, controlling, uptight and inconsiderate as Abby.

The set-up is familiar from a thousand rom-coms past. Boy — Gerard Butler’s cocky, charismatic shock-jock Mike — meets girl, sparks fly, arguments rage and love blossoms. At least, it does for Abby and her improbably chiselled neighbour Colin (Eric Winter), a surgeon who appears to be her ideal man and who she lands by following Mike’s advice. Naturally, however, Mike’s more than the Neanderthal he seems, and Abby comes to appreciate his better qualities just as she’s realising how much she has compromised herself to keep cardboard cut-out Colin interested.

The plot, in other words, is no worse than any of its genre. What’s wrong is that the script — written, God help us, by three women — seems to hate its leading lady. That’s not without good reason, given her two-dimensional character and pathological naivety. Abby has unrealistic ideas about romance but sets about finding it with, quite literally, a shopping list. She’s not only so anal that she carries out a background check on a blind date; she’s also sufficiently clueless/bunny boiler-esque to reveal this fact. And to produce

a list of suggested conversation topics. While it’s entirely possible that someone who’s organised at work may be incapablein his or her personal life, it’s not credible for someone whose job involves soothing egos and juggling conflicting personalities.

Doing his best to rescue things from total disaster is Butler, who’s clearly having fun with a character we’d like even without the hamfisted attempt at a sympathetic backstory (something Abby, in contrast, isn’t given). He’s rakish, honest, just a little eccentric and charming enough that you can see the attraction on her side at least. If only this were more of a two-hander.

It’s not as risqué as it wishes it were, nor as likable as it should be. Butler’s rarely been better-cast, but the material’s too patchy to support him .