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Thursday, July 30, 2009 07:12 am

Ugly can’t describe Truth

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Gerard Butler as Mike Alexander and Katherine Heigl as Abby Richter

If you’re a woman and you want to find true love, don’t be too successful or too smart or too reserved. To bag a man, you can’t make more money than he does or be wiser than he is. Being a bit of a slut is a prerequisite to keeping him interested. Unlock your inner-tramp and he’s all yours.

This is the theme of the romantic comedy The Ugly Truth. What’s most surprising isn’t that its wrongheaded message went out of vogue 75 years ago, but that its script was written by three women. Ladies, you should be ashamed of yourselves as should star Katherine Heigl, who served as one of the movie’s producers as well as its lead on-screen bimbo. She plays Abby, a television show producer who’s forced to contend with Mike (Gerard Butler), a male chauvanist who dispenses relationship advice in a new segment on her program. She cringes as he recommends Jello wrestling as a recreational sport, yet the ratings go through the roof. They’re stuck with each other, they hate each other and in movieland we all know that means they’ll fall in love. To quote Walt Kowalsky from Gran Torino, “What a load of crap.”

Heigl and Butler generate as much heat as a refrigerator at the North Pole and the garbage that comes out of Mike’s mouth would make a sailor blush. This attempt to combine American Pie crudity with When Harry met Sally sweetness is a disaster from the start, delivering more groans than laughs. A sequence in which Abby finds herself at the mercy of a teenage boy who has the controls of a pair of vibrating panties she has on, winds up ugly rather than hilarious, which is par for the course in this misguided feature. It may not be what fans of either of these performers want to hear, but it’s the truth.

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