AWFJ Women On Film – “The Ugly Truth” – Susan Granger reviews

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To call this a “chick flick” is insulting to those of us of the female gender who enjoy a good romantic comedy – which this isn’t. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Set in Sacramento, it centers on a television station where savvy-but-uptight Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl), the producer of a morning talk show that’s floundering with low ratings, is forced to work with a rude, crude, self-styled sex guru, Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), observing, “He represents everything that’s wrong with TV and society.”

She’s right, of course, but then – inexplicably – Abby begins to look to mucho macho, misogynistic Mike for advice. It seems there’s this hunky, handsome doctor, Colin (Eric Winter), who lives next door to her, and she hasn’t had sex in the past 11 months. A few amusing snippets occur when Mike, the lust-over-love advocate, coaches her on how to catch her neighbor’s interest and she realizes that, perhaps, he may have some insight into the male psyche. But the foul-mouthed vulgarity of some of Mike’s on-air segments is inexcusable – and also unbelievable, given FCC regulations.

Written by newcomer Nicole Eastman and the “Legally Blonde”/”House Bunny” team of Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith and directed by Robert Luketic, it unabashedly ‘borrows’ from “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Taming of the Shrew” and “Pygmalion,” but remains steadfastly predictable and formulaic. While Katherine Heigl seems eager to break out of her “Grey’s Anatomy” niche, her feature-film choices are humiliating, like “Knocked Up” and “27 Dresses.” Instead of leaving her vamping with a vibrator, can’t someone find this woman an intelligently written screwball comedy?

As for the rugged Scotsman, Gerard Butler (“P.S. I Love You,” “300,” “Phantom of the Opera”), he has yet to land the breakout role that will validate his ‘leading man’ status. And it’s a shame that the talents of John Michael Higgins and Cheryl Hines, as the perpetually squabbling, husband-and-wife anchor team, are squandered. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Ugly Truth” is a raunchy, tiresome 2. It could turn a date-night into a disaster.

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