The Ugly Truth

Year Released: 2009
Directed by: Robert Luketic
Starring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, other people who are usually comedy fodder.
Production Company: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Release Date: July 24, 2009

For a romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth is more comedy, than romance and squanders itself on focusing on a non-existent chemistry between the two main characters. Gerard Butler is a man’s man, so what’s this guy doing screwing around in another ROMCOM? Seriously? I thought he was just testing the waters with “P.S. I Love You”, but he just keeps getting sucked into this genre. At least he’s still doing some testosterone heavy movies like Gamer, even the mediocre reviewed Law Abiding Citizen doesn’t manage to emasculate him. The only person that’s fallen head first into the chick flick fodder cannon without a hope is Matthew McConaughey: and he’s so past the point of return that his balls are small enough to fit into a tic-tac container. Hey, you star with Kate Hudson in enough drippy girly flicks, you lose credibility, just face it.

Man, wasn’t 300 awesome?

Katherine Heigl is uptight, control freak Abby Richter. Abby can’t find a suitable date in L.A mainly because she’s the uptight, control freak type. Abby is the producer of a dying television talk show sorely in need of new blood, which comes in the form of a dirty minded, foul mouthed, yet truthful local cable personality, Mike Chadaway. Gerard Butler is Mike Chadaway, the anti control freak, the woman reader, the guy that knows what makes the sexes tick and uses them for his sexual ends (so we’re to assume). As you’d expect, sparks fly and the two are at ends with each other’s differing personalities. Abby as you know is the control freak, who just wants a man to love for who she is. Mike, knowing that men work by the tips of their southern heads, convinces Abby that he can help her bag the man of her dreams if she listens to his advice. If the deal doesn’t land Abby a man, he’ll resign from her show. This plot introduces us to Mike as more than a one dimensional character, his motivation being his nephew without a father-figure, and bombards us with more Katherine Heigl screen time.

As you would expect, Abby manages to get the man she’s always dreamed of, some comedic situations are thrown her way, and as Mike is giving directions he somehow falls in love with Abby. It’s predictable comedy fodder that we’ll forget in a few months time. That’s a good thing, because I felt like wincing through most of the film. The last 20 minutes for example takes the bickering couple up a romantic balloon ride while still broadcasting live, they pronounce their love for each other and the all’s well that ends well. This thing was written with more concentration on the material and getting girls to go gooey over Gerard Butler than actually focusing on the main relationship at hand.

The love/hate relationship between Mike and Abby was more convincing than the love/love relationship for one main reason: It was believable. I had more fun when they were at each other’s throats, rather than seeing Mike awkwardly gazing at Abby’s direction while she fawns over her new boyfriend on the phone.

I should have listened to my agent and stayed on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

I’m not sure what the draw is behind Heigl, is she the cute girl-next-door-type, or the stable-funny-type that gets audiences to pay up? What demographic does she play to? As far as I can tell, it’s the hopeless romantics in the world, or those guys who get roped into seeing another one of her movies. I don’t see it, I’m missing the point entirely about what draws people to her, and this is the second Heigl movie I’ve reviewed that I really didn’t like. She’s apparently quit her full time gig on Gray’s Anatomy to do more movies. Can the world really take more of this girl, who has Moxie, or whatever you want to call it filling up more screen time?

Just my two cents.

2.0 out of 10

Movie Review: 27 Dresses

27 Dresses
Year Released: 2008
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Catherine Heigl, James Marsden, Edward Burns
Production Company: Fox 2000 Pictures

Catherine Heigl is the hot friend that doesn’t really say much unless there’s something interesting going on. There, I fucking said it. Heigl was hilarious in Knocked up, but when I viewed it again the other night, I was laughing at her predicament and Seth Rogen’s performance more than her. I’m guessing the studio execs figured they could capture Heigl’s funnier moments on screen when she’s running the show, but given the weak material, it comes off a little clichéd and tired.
Heigl is the eternal bridesmaid and hopeless romantic Jane, the magazine assistant who’s totally infatuated with her perfect boss George (Ed Burns). How eternal a bridesmaid is she? She’s been in, get this: 27 dresses. And for some reason keeps them all to constantly remind her how empty her life is that suicide is something better left to bankers and lawyers. Sorry, I had to add a little something to keep the article going. She’s also supposed to hate pretty boy writer/marriage cover guy Kevin (James Marsden), so you know she falls in love with the guy after she finds out something clichéd about her boss – oh yeah, her boss falls for her little sister and they get *gasp* engaged!

Personally I would have preferred if Heigl took the high road, grabbed an uzi and a couple shotguns and went nuts at her sister’s wedding; pumping one rage fuelled round after another into either prospective single men, or just the immediate targets of hate. Unfortunately for me, she sucks it in and pretends that she’s in support of the marriage and quietly decides to sabotage it at the last moment: classy. Well, it probably worked out best this way, considering my demographic (late 20’s, married and hates sappy romantic movies) would rather prefer sabotage to come in the form of a Beastie Boys video.

Speaking of videos, there’s a sing-a-long scene involving Heigl, Marsden and Benny and the Jets. Never has that damn song been more emasculating.

Billed as a romantic comedy, you’d think the producers would at least try a few different angles, bringing in a gay in-law to complicate things, or manically funny assistant or something. Rather, they play it out by the numbers and nearly bore you to death. Heigl herself isn’t quite up to calibre to carrying this film all by herself just yet: especially in the comedy arena. At least in Knocked Up, she could play off whatever joke Seth Rogen was making, and he spit them out faster than a condom machine in a high school boy’s room. So, to say that without that formula to keep it going, the laughs are stale and the screenwriters have to resort to pulling used items out of the hat with little to no need to worry about how the sequence of events fall into place.

At least in comedies, there’s the comedy relief; usually in the form of a fast talking, bumbling assistant or a friend that’s a real party animal of some sort, right? Not one to be found in this grinder mix – the camera achingly dotes on Heigl one scene after another, hoping to capture some of that natural hilarity that occurs after a night of drinking, or losing one’s panties in public. Well, they play it safe: what else can I say?

For all these qualities, there are some redeeming ones: in predictability, there’s a sort of calming effect in knowing what’s coming next: they slowly build to a slow climax that you saw coming even before the initial credits stopped. You know that Heigl is more suited to be supporting actress material, you even know that there’s going to be a sappy wedding at the end because all the whole damn movie does is reference weddings and marriage and commitment. So, it’s not horrible, but perhaps a notch above.

4 out of 10