Monday, July 27, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Male gusto can't save chick flick
Despite avoiding some genre
cliches, 'The Ugly Truth' suffers
from a weak, predictable script
By TIMOTHY RABB
Daily Arts Writer
In an overtly generic romantic comedy, the female pro-
tagonist inevitably wins the battle against the stereotypical
bawdiness of her male lover, either through
manipulation and cunning or with tender-
ness and passion. This formula, albeit posi-
tively received by the female moviegoer, is
often an emasculating experience for her
male companion. This unfortunate out- TIht
come is so often repeated that it debases At Qualityl6
most romantic films to the dubious label of and Showcase
chick flick. This is not the case in "The Ugly
The film follows Abby Richter (Kather-
ine Heigl, "Knocked Up"), a local television
producer living in Sacramento whose obsessive-compulsive
approach to dating would induce nausea in even the most
stoic man alive.
One night, an extraordinary accident leads to Richter
engaging in an awkward telephone conversation with the
uncouth (to say the least) host of a public access television
show. Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler, "300") espouses his
simplistic, sexualized take on love in his show FILM R
"The Ugly Truth."
His chauvinism immediately offends Rich-
ter's fragile temperament, and she is horrified
the following day when she finds out that the
manager of her local television network has
invited Chadway to move his show to their net-
work. Chaos ensues as Richter is caught in an ,v
inelegant love triangle.
"The Ugly Truth" is filled with glaring flaws.
The weak script consigns Heigl's and Butler's
characters to complete one-dimensionality:
Anna's "humor" involves rambling rants that,
however verbally eloquent, amount to little
more than an annoying buzz in the ears of
the viewer. Mike's brand of humor is equally
contrived, and his chauvinist characteristics
almost perfectly parallel those of Frank T.J.
Mackey (Tom Cruise) in the film "Magnolia."
Coincidence? I think not. "This is madn
Also worth a mention are the poorly devised
visuals, which employ the use of backdrops so obviously fake
the film looks like it was produced in the 1940s.
But despite the film's pitfalls, it breaks some of the chick-
flick genre's conventions. Certain expectations must be fore-
gone in an era of filmmaking in which the focal point is the
bottom line rather than fresh material. "The Ugly Truth" may
not give viewers a script ofunadulterated originality, but it still
earns a position slightly above the typical romantic comedy.
Though the outcome is altogether predictable, the film
ess!" "No! This is A VERY NICE PARK!"
manages to offer a fresh, unexpectedly crass viewpoint that
rewards viewers with a healthy number of laugh-worthy
moments. It's nice to see a romance that doesn't entail a bum-
bling man who's constantly being outwitted by a member of
the "smarter sex."
More importantly, the film addresses the troubling, cynical
outlook on love that has been adopted by contemporary male
culture and is all too often overlooked - though it's a shame
that it can't present the concept in a more thoughtful manner.