Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 30
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES: In spite of the fact that Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler, right) hosts a TV show that offers advice to the lovelorn that Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) considers sexist and offensive, she is so desperate to find the right person for herself that she pleads with Mike to help her get her boyfriend Colin (Eric Winter, not shown) to fall for her. The results of their collaboration are not at all what she expected would happen.

The Ugly Truth: An Ugly Sitcom With an Implausible Plot and Ending

Kam Williams

Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is the exasperated producer of Sacramento AM, a TV morning show that is suffering from poor ratings. Morale in the studio is so low that crew members have begun bickering with each other on a daily basis.

Faced with the prospect of having her program cancelled, Abby grudgingly agrees to let her boss (Nick Searcy) make several programming changes, although she hates the idea of allowing corporate management dictate content. However, she never guessed that he intended to hire Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), the host of a popular relationship advice show called “The Ugly Truth” on public access television.

Coincidentally, the night before, Abby had accidentally happened to watch an episode of “The Ugly Truth.” She’d been so outraged by Mike’s misogynistic advice that she called into the show to confront him on the air to challenge his pronouncement that all men are shallow and are only interested in a woman’s looks. Unfortunately, he got the better of the exchange and put her on the defensive by insinuating that she was a lonely spinster. Then he referred to her as a “house-bound inbred” and abruptly hung up on her.

Abby’s love life has admittedly been disappointing because of the demands of her career and also because she has been searching for the sort of perfect gentleman that Mike claims doesn’t exist. Of course, the two butt heads from the moment he arrives at the station the following morning, especially when he goes over her head to get approval for segments that feature female Jello wrestling and a couple of brainless women who are billed as “The Fun Bag Twins.”

So unfolds the battle-of-the-sexes scenario established at the outset of The Ugly Truth, a predictable romantic comedy directed by Robert Luketic (Monster-in-Law). Only in a formulaic Hollywood fairy tale could a feminist like Abby eventually fall for a misogynistic sexist like Mike. This occurs in spite of the appearance of Colin (Eric Winter), a handsome and polite doctor with all the attributes she’d been looking for. Nonetheless, the script has Abby falling in love with Mike, a man who believes that “Just because she says no doesn’t mean she means no.”

But worse than the implausible and offensive plot is the picture’s low brand of humor that appeals to the lowest common denominator of the audience in a crude fashion.

Ugly, and that’s the truth!

Fair (one star). Rated R for sexuality and profanity. Running time: 97 minutes. Studio: Columbia Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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