Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Ugly Truth (2009)

The latest example of mind-bogglingly retrograde stereotypes mixed in with mind-numbingly lame comedy is The Ugly Truth, a raunchy romantic comedy with no wit, no style, and no substance. It features Katherine Heigl as a high-strung control-freak career woman harpy with an inability to relate to another human being in a non-business setting. Her foil, and ultimate dispenser of romantic advice, is the crass big-mouthed lout played by Gerard Butler who is hired as a commentator on male-female relationships by the TV station at which she works. They hate each other, but deep down they love each other. Surprised? At least the movie is utterly forgettable, however unbearable. It’s already slipping away from my memory as I type. It's a movie so forgettable, it has been out nearly a month and I kept forgetting it was released.

Indifferently shot by dullard director Robert Luketic, The Ugly Truth is all ugly, no truth. It’s a grim, joyless experience, a grueling death-march of a rom-com. The movie plods from one stupid scene to the next, giving me ample time to build my hatred towards it. It offers no real insight into relationships, instead bludgeoning audiences with banalities and filth substituting for substance. Any laughter generated must be purely Pavlovian: “This is a comedy; therefore we must laugh when an actor gives a winking spin to a line.” The movie plays out like a lame PG-13 movie made even lamer by interjecting R-level profanities in an attempt to make the material edgier or more truthful. It's sad and lifeless to watch normally charming actors get dragged through a story like this.

Not only is it unknowledgeable about human interactions, but it knows less about the TV business. The movie imagines TV-news as a land with cameras magically ready to capture all kinds of crazy situations and endless airtime on which to run them. Apparently, a technically flawless broadcast can be pulled off with almost no planning and with monologues, comedic diversions, and heartfelt emotional confessions meandering throughout the broadcast. There’s little comprehension of the real mechanics of a live television production, giving the TV-business aspect of the movie slightly less credibility than the shoddy relationships developing between the broadcasts. It’s like Broadcast News with all of its strengths removed. The Ugly Truth is nothing more than the sort of dumb "men are like this; women are like that" shtick that's the stock-in-trade of hack comedians everywhere.

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