'The Ugly Truth' has such potential, and some fun-loving, noteworthy actors to boot. Kathrine Heigl made a name for herself on 'Grey's Anatomy,' although this movie focuses more on the gross-out comedy style of 'Knocked Up.' Gerard Butler plays opposite Heigl. Butler has charisma and energy in everything he's in, even if the material he's given stinks ('Law Abiding Citizen,' anyone?). While the actors try to do their best with the story, they end up becoming mired in a long line of predictable, witless, slapstick R-rated comedies.
Heigl plays Abby, a producer for a morning news show who has been given a charge to get their ratings out of the toilet. Butler is Macho Mike, a public television shock-jock star who dispenses chauvinistic "advice" to men about how to get women. His ranting has apparently garnered him a huge following of mindless, insensitive guys. When Abby's boss hires Mike to do a segment on the show, Abby is livid. Mike's sexist ramblings push the news show to the top of the ratings chart, but a few questions still remain. One I had a hard time believing was Mike's fanbase following him over to an early morning news show. These men who watched Mike rant about breasts and butts in the middle of the night, are suddenly going to wake up at 5 in the morning to watch him talk about the same thing?
The timing of this movie also seems to be off a bit, since nowadays shock-jock types are a dime a dozen, and compared to the likes of Howard Stern, Macho Mike's sex-filled TV show is almost PG-rated.
As the movie continues, it follows the tried and true plot of early sitcoms. Abby wants to date a guy, but instead of being her neurotic self, Mike convinces her to play it his way. He knows what guys want, and that's the only way she's going to bag the guy of her dreams. Abby foolishly follows along, when Mike says if she doesn't get the guy he'll quit the show.
(spoiler (?))It's obvious from the three minute trailer for the movie that Mike and Abby will soon fall for each other, and indeed they do. Wow, didn't see that coming!
'The Ugly Truth' suffers so much from predictability that it's hard to enjoy any bit of it. Even when Abby accidentally wears a pair of vibrating panties to a business meeting dinner we know exactly what's going to happen, how it's going to happen, and when. There are never any surprises, or moments that catch you off guard. The film feels like a diluted version of any other R-rated comedy that came before it.
Heigl and Butler do have some chemistry together, and are fun actors to watch. Butler has a manly bravado about him that gives him extra charm. It's irritating that the movie requires Butler to mask his Scottish accent. His American accent is distracting and useless. Heigl is for the most part fun and pretty here, but she's given zero in the way of real acting to do. In 'Knocked Up' she was really put through some very emotional scenes; here she's just given one gag after another.
'The Ugly Truth' really could have been a decent R-rated comedy with some adult laughs, but instead it goes for the easy, been-there-done-that jokes and conventional storylines that make it a movie that tries, but never becomes watchable.
The 2.40:1 framed 1080p transfer of 'The Ugly Truth' is a showcase that should have been used for a better movie. It looks beautiful in HD, but doesn't overshadow the sheer stupidity of the film itself.
Deeply rich colors and perfect contrast persist throughout the entire feature. Detail is luxuriously defined, with facial features, like Butler's stubble, popping off the screen. Skin tones are also perfectly rendered, giving the actors a very natural appearance. Black levels are nice and never overpowering of anything else on screen. Digital compression artifacts are kept completely at bay, leaving a pristinely immaculate video presentation for this sub-par romantic comedy.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is another strong point of this Sony release.
Although the movie is very dialogue centric, leaving little room for ambient surround sound, it still gives off a great presentation. Dialogue is never too soft, or overpowered by the soundtrack. Ambient noise is kept to a minimum, but scenes at the baseball field and the restaurant provide this audio presentation with some clearly defined sound effects bleeding into the surround channels. LFE is also scarce, except during some of the songs on the movie's soundtrack, but when it's present it's nice and clear and never distorts any of the other sounds happening during that time.
Overall, this is as good as it gets for a movie without any huge action scenes going on. While this isn't an audio presentation that will wow your friends, it's one that will make audiophiles happy if they decide to purchase it.
"Mike's First Broadcast"
"Abby Meets Colin"
"Mike Coaches Abby"
"The Baseball Game"
"The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson"
"Mike and Abby Dance"
"The Hot Air Balloon"
These commentaries are about as disappointing as the movie itself. It's just the same old, "this is how we did this" type stuff, which may be interesting to the few fans there might be of this movie. Overall, the director and producer are pretty droll and could have used Butler or Heigl to give the commentaries some life.
'The Ugly Truth' isn't a pretty experience. It becomes so bogged down in its own gross-out humor that it forgets about the heart that should be there as well. It suffers from predictability and tired jokes that have been done before. The audio and video presentations, however, are fantastic for a rom-com. This may entice some Blu-ray buyers. Even with the fairly stellar presentation of the film in high definition I still cannot recommend a purchase. Give it a rent.