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UGLY TRUTH, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is an ambitious morning talk show producer who is good at finding solutions to most things - except her own love life. When the show's ratings slump, Abby is forced to team with newly recruited special correspondent Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), whose 'The Ugly Truth' segment promises to reveal what makes men tick. Meanwhile, Abby meets her neighbour Colin (Eric Winter) who is everything the racy, chauvinistic Mike is not. As much as she hates to admit it, Abby needs Mike to coach her in the art of seduction.

Review by Louise Keller:
If you're expecting a sophisticated battle of the sexes comedy with smart, witty dialogue, you'll be disappointed, but there's genuine chemistry between Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, and in director Robert Luketic's hands, there's fun to be had in this formulaic, predictable rom com. The premise suggests that while women have pencils ready to tick their checklist for the perfect man, men are far more basic with their genitals acting as guiding compass. Crude - you bet, but of course, love never follows rules and we spend the entire film enjoying the joust between Heigl's obsessive, controlling Abby and Gerard Butler's pig-headed, arrogant Mike.

'There are no problems, only solutions,' says Abby at work at the TV station where she solves problems as a fumigator terminates flies. But trying to find Mr Perfect is another story. The nearest thing to a solution for her on-going problem with men is when rescuing her cat d'Artagnan from the branches of a tree, she spies her new sexy neighbour Colin (Eric Winter) in a state of undress. But can she win him on her own terms? Not likely. Enter Butler's crude, rude Mike, whose unsubtle approach to the mating game makes the sagging TV ratings soar. 'Men are simple,' he ascertains, professing that lust, seduction and manipulation are his expertise. He is everything Abby despises as he makes his point wrestling with bikini babes in red jello.

There are a glut of scenes that are played for laughs, like Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins' husband and wife co-anchors who rekindle their sex life in front of their viewers, and the sequence in the hot air balloon when Abby and Mike are unaware they are on camera. But perhaps the most important scene (certainly the most credibly crucial) is the one in which Abby decides to let Mike tell her how to handle her brand new relationship with Colin. The key lies in the fact that the three (female) screenwriters have used female logic when Abby rings her new beau in front of Mike to prove that he really does exist. After that, it's time for a make-over ('pony tails are for factory workers and emptying the kitty litter'); the obvious truth is that Heigl looks much prettier with hair around her face and wearing sexy dresses instead of pulled-back hair and practical clothes. The restaurant scene in which Abby wears a pair of vibrating knickers is a hoot; some may draw parallels with Meg Ryan's infamous When Harry Met Sally moment.

Heigl and Butler milk their characters for all they are worth and while the result may not be Hepburn and Tracey, the film is superficial Hollywood dressed up as a date movie.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

UGLY TRUTH, THE (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D. Goins, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins

PRODUCER: Kirsten Smith, Kimberley di Bonaventura, Gary Lucchesi, Deborah Jelin Newmeyer, Steven Reuther, Tom Rosenberg

DIRECTOR: Robert Luketic

SCRIPT: Nicole Eastman, Kirsten Smith, Karen McCullah Lutz

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russell Carpenter

EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin

MUSIC: Aaron Zigman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Missy Stewart

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 6, 2009







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