Another triumph for Katherine Heigl.
, 20 Aug 2009
Romantic comedy in which Sacramento, California TV producer Abby Richter (played by Katherine Heigl) is most unhappy when her network hires boorish and misogynist former salesman Mike Chadway (played by Gerard Butler) to be the host of a new show to be aired on the network entitled The Ugly Truth in which he lays out the ugly truth about what men want from women: not personality and depth of character but looks, looks, looks and sex, sex, sex. Men are simple creatures and they dont want a deep emotional connection with a woman but merely a woman who looks gorgeous and with whom they can get laid easily and often. Abby is Mikes producer and is outraged at his opinions and views him as a sexist pig whose show will be the death of the network but when The Ugly Truth turns out to be a ratings winner she is forced to eat humble pie and accept that Mike is good for the network, even though the show goes against everything that she believes in. Abby thinks that Mike is an idiot who doesnt know anything about sex and relationships but when advice that he gives her enables her to get into a relationship with her handsome next-door neighbour and doctor Colin (played by Eric Winter) she realises that despite Mikes boorish ways he does seem to know what he is talking about when it comes to how a woman should attract a man. Despite having disliked Mike intensely initially she grows to like him somewhat (although she still holds that he is somewhat of a misogynist pig), especially when she finds out that he has a good relationship with his 10 or so year old nephew to whom he is a father figure. However when it transpires that a major TV network in New York is swooping to poach Mike from Abbys network because his show The Ugly Truth is just so good, Abby is sent by her boss to intercept him before he appears as a guest on talk show The Late Late Show and convince him to stay at their network for the sake of their ratings. Abby meets Mike at the hotel he is staying at and when she does it transpires that he has turned down the New York job offer so that he can stay in Sacramento and in his nephews life, which pleases Abby as now she doesnt have to swallow her pride and try to convince him to stay at her network. But after an electrifying dance between the two of them on a dancefloor after Mikes interview Abby and Mike discover that the attraction between them that they have both been trying to deny for some time is just too strong to resist and they end up kissing in the hotels elevator. Both embarassed by what has just happened Abby and Mike retreat to their respective hotel rooms. But the normally cocky and womanising Mike is falling for Abby and decides that he is not going to pretend that what happened in the elevator should not have happened and is instead going to admit to Abby his feelings for her. But when he gets to Abbys room, the boyfriend that he got her into a relationship with Colin has showed up to surprise her and answers the door, forcing Mike to lie and say that he showed up to tell Abby about changes to their flight arrangements. Mike leaves but Abby pursues him and catches up with him in the corridor as she wants to know what the kiss between them in the elevator meant: she is seemingly falling for him as well. But then the cocky and misogynist front that Mike usually portrays to women and to the world is revealed as existing because he has been hurt by women in the past and is afraid of getting his heart broken again. Mike then rejects Abby and denies that the kiss meant anything and that he wants to be with her and walks away. But Abby now knows that she wants to be with Mike and so splits up with Colin, citing as the reason that the version of herself that she had been presenting to him was not the real her but a contructed version that Mike had said that she should present to Colin if she wanted to snare him. The next day at work, Abby discovers that Mike has quit her network to work for a local rival network: it seems so that he doesnt have to see her. Abbys boss informs her in no uncertain terms that she needs to get Mike back on their network within a week or the loss of ratings may mean the end of their network. So Abby comes up with a clever plan to attempt to get Mike back onto The Ugly Truth and back into her life by indirectly criticising him and his fear of relationships on TV, hoping to appeal to his pride. With Abby going all out to get her man and Mike considering whether to succumb to his ego and speak to her again, will true love prevail?
Comments: this was a most promising film. Katherine Heigls character, although suffering from a few wobbles, generally makes for a most pleasing heroine and Gerard Butler is also excellent as our hero who turns out to be more than just the sexist womanising pig he initially appears to be. The film has a lot of insightful observations about sex and relationships and made me laugh a lot. Katherine Heigls character turns out to be someone that, although initially possessing unrealistic expectations of what she wants in a man that has meant that she has not been in a relationship or had sex for almost a year at the start of the film, is not afraid to not hesitate and go after her man despite the possibilty of rejection. There is also a strong cast of supporting characters (mainly Katherine Heigls characters TV network work colleagues) and whilst the film is primarily a romantic comedy it also explores other themes such as sexism in the workplace and the nature of competition between rival TV networks in the battle for ratings. For me the stand-out scene from the film is where Katherine Heigls and Gerard Butlers characters have that dance on a dancefloor because the chemistry and attraction between the two characters is so exhilarating. The film ends with a satisfying climax in a hot air balloon in the air surrounded by other hot air balloons with stunning scenery in the distance, and the beautiful cinematography of this scene perfectly matches the romance of not only the end of the film but a skillfully paced and well balanced movie. Although not a flawless film The Ugly Truth is another triumph for Katherine Heigl as she secures her place as the quintessential romantic comedy actress and comes highly recommended for men and women alike.
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