Katherine Heigl,Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, John Michael Higgins, Cheryl Hines
Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith
I can't quite figure out Katherine Heigl, a talented actress with a tendency to openly criticize poor writing and unnecessary, sloppy stereotypes.
Was there something in the original script for "The Ugly Truth" that really drew her to this film?
Did she and Josh Kelley simply need to finance his next CD?
Maybe they needed a second honeymoon?
I can't explain why Heigl, who went rather harsh on the Apatow gang about "Knocked Up," but somehow thought "The Ugly Truth" was a better, less demeaning script. Even worse, Heigl also has a credit for Executive Producer on the film.
In fact, if not for Heigl and the equally charming Gerard Butler, "The Ugly Truth" would have likely been much, much worse than it is.
Yet, "The Ugly Truth," even uglier because it was written by three women, manages to reinforce every archaic female stereotype while feeling awkwardly unfunny much of the time.
A huge part of the problem lies in the fact that while Butler and Heigl are charming performers, they appear to be as uncomfortable together onscreen as were Heigl and Rogen. The weird thing is that, as much as Heigl has subtly and not so subtly taken digs at Rogen and the Apatow gang for the rather coarse "Knocked Up," "The Ugly Truth" almost seems to be trying to take a page out of the Apatow book by turning "The Ugly Truth" into an edgy, adult comedy.
The problem is "The Ugly Truth" isn't edgy and it isn't funny. The problem may very well be that Heigl is a bit known for resisting this kind of humor. One has to wonder if she didn't repeatedly tone down the off-color humor and, yet, somehow allow herself to go just far enough for the film to garner an R-rating.
Funny, I just noticed how choppy this review is reading.
That's "The Ugly Truth" in a nutshell... Choppy, inconsistent and largely unsatisfying despite the presence of two winning performers.
There's so much about "The Ugly Truth" that feels lacking in authenticity and any semblance of humanity.
Will the hot, over-controlling woman end up with the hottie doctor (Eric Winter) or the hottie who's supposed to be helping her get her hottie?
Will we ever care?
Again, what on earth did Heigl see in this script that felt inviting? How could she possibly have been drawn to something that seems so un-Heigl?
There are a few laughs here and there, and it is at least modestly interesting watching Heigl and Butler do their dance around the film's more adult material and more revealing scenes. Yet, too often, "The Ugly Truth" goes for the easy laugh rather than stretching and finding something intelligent and clever.
I'm speechless, really.
Truthfully, I've been a fan of Heigl's for quite awhile and really fell in love with her, believe it or not, in "The Ringer." Yet, there's a growing pattern of inconsistency and, at the very least, borderline hypocrisy starting to surface.
Do not, I repeat do not, criticize the production team that turned you into a star and then turn around make a film that is more coarse, more adult, more demeaning AND, worst of all, less entertaining.
It simply doesn't make sense.
Director Robert Luketic doesn't help matters, with an approach that is about as nuanced as a Larry the Cable Guy film.
To top it all off, production values are modest at best with Russell Carpenter's cinematography seemingly out of balance and Aaron Zigman's original score more a distraction than a complement.
So, Heigl. What is it? Who do you blame now that you're the star AND the Executive Producer?
Hopefully, her last couple films are simply an awkward adjustment to sudden stardom and Heigl will bounce back to being an intelligent, thoughtful and selective actress. Otherwise, a couple more films like this one and she'll simply me a Hollywood afterthought.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic