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Newsflash – Katherine Heigle plays a tightly wound career woman in new romantic comedy!


Movie review – The Ugly Truth

– by Liz Stanton

Iím never sure if I should feel sorry for Katherine Heigl or not. On one hand, sheís made millions by starring in films like Knocked Up, and Iím pretty sure her day job on Greyís Anatomy pays better than peanuts.

On the other hand, though, Iíve never seen her play anyone other than a shrew. Sure, her shrew ranges from only mildly annoying to ďOh God, just stab the bitch already,Ē but itís omnipresent. Having somehow seen just about everything Heiglís ever been in (including way too many episodes of Roswell), I headed in to The Ugly Truth fully expecting yet another portrayal of a tightly wound career woman who just needs to find a man to loosen up. Good news: I may have a future as a psychic.

In the film, Hiegl plays Abby, the superstar producer of a Sacramento morning show that, despite her best efforts, is pulling lackluster ratings. In an attempt to save the show, Abbyís boss brings in Mike (Gerard Butler), the chauvinistic host of a cable access advice program called The Ugly Truth. As you can probably guess, Abby and Mike butt heads – he wants to Jello-wrestle on-air! She wants him to choke on his own vomit! – but eventually (spoiler alert, if youíre a moron), they fall for each other.

Katherine Heigl Gerard Butler The Ugly Truth movie image

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth.

The Ugly Truth is Hollywoodís latest offering to the gods of Rom and Com, and it stays fairly neatly within the genreís well-established boundaries. Thereís the meet-cute (misunderstandings!), the montage (trying on clothes!), and the ďOMG, weíre in love!Ē realization. Unusually for a romantic comedy, though, this film garnered an R rating, which meant that characters were actually allowed to drop casual f-bombs in a manner somewhat resembling real life. Prudes and the elderly may find the cursing and other adult content off-putting, but pottymouths (like me!) should enjoy it.

Hiegl and Butlerís co-stars, which include Curb Your Enthusiasmís Cheryl Hines, do decent if unremarkable jobs, but it was John Michael Higgins as Hinesí co-anchor Larry who coaxed the loudest laughs out of me. You may recognize Higgins from the DIRECTV ads running now or his work in some of Christopher Guestís films, and if so, you know to expect that he will bring the funny. One of his short bits, something about a bird in his dressing room, elicited a particularly embarrassing chortle from my seat.

The most important part of losing yourself in an experience as insubstantial as that offered by a romantic comedy requires that you believe wholeheartedly in the chemistry between the two leads. Maybe itís because I donít find Butler that attractive, but I never really understood what Heiglís character saw in him. At best, he personifies caveman chic, and at worstÖ wellÖ has anyone else ever noticed that he seems to talk only out of the middle of his mouth? Itís like heís storing food in his cheeks for winter or something.

I hear Butler does pretty well with the ladies, though; Iím betting if I ran into him in a darkened bar, Iíd be willing to overlook the cheek thing. And Heigl? Even if youíre as annoying as all of the characters you end up playing, I still kind of want to hang out with you, so kudos.

That doesnít mean I forgive the rest of the audience for clapping at the end of the screening, though.

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