Apparently the Battle of the Sexes is still raging. I guess. Men and women definitely still don’t understand each other, and usually that leads to problems, battles, blood, and mayhem. It’s more than a battle, it is a war. However by the end of the dull romantic comedy The Ugly Truth it was hard to tell who was winning, or why the fight was started in the first place.
When brash yet handsome Mike (Gerard Butler), who dishes out man-centric romantic advice on his public access show The Ugly Truth, gets a job as the new commentator on a Sacramento morning show he clashes with his romantically challenged producer Abby (Katherine Heigl), and despite their seemingly opposite world views the two… oh I don’t want to give it away. Written by Nicole Eastman and Katherine McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith the plot sticks to a very well tread path, and imagines itself edgy because the ladies get just as raw as the guys do. Though not really.
In actuality the “ugly” parts are pretty tame. Besides Heigl tossing around a couple male member euphemisms, and Butler discussing a man’s need for oral sex on the local wake-up show there is very little blue material in the whole movie. This is no Apatow, no Smigel, in fact this is barely prime time. Zero subplots flesh out the thin world so the audience is expected to hang on the predictable romance between Heigl and Butler for the entire picture.
Unfortunately Heigl just can’t tell a joke. She pulls of rude or unpleasant effortlessly, but humor isn’t her strong suit. It is not that she is particularly bad at telling them – that might have lent itself to a whole different sort of laughs – but she just doesn’t make the jokes work. Watching her it seems like she is trying to make the lines funny, instead of letting herself just be funny. Maybe she should get Kristen Wiig on the phone, and ask her how that one works.
Butler fairs better, making Mike a fun brute with a heart. He can toss off a line about breasts or butts with ease, and the ladies will continue to love him because of that lopsided grin. His charm aside there is little chemistry between the two leads. They are two beautiful people, but unfortunately not a good movie does that make.
Directorial reigns were held by Robert Luketic who barely makes his presence known. There is very little flare to the movie, and as such with the straight forward script the whole shebang is a resounding dud. Writers Lutz and Smith worked with Luketic previously on Legally Blonde, to a funner success. Here it felt like they were all phoning it in.
In the end this film says nothing new or interesting about men or women, or men and women, and if we’re not going to be made laugh, then we should be made to feel. If we aren’t going to feel then we should be made think. If none of that happens then what is the point?
El Luchador Rating: 2 out of 5 (2 out of 5)
Review By: Paul S. Myers (a.k.a. El Luchador)