In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_y6dpvzigsnvvskcmoqjamctbogg

Planes: Fire & Rescue

"Planes: Fire & Rescue" won’t ever be mistaken for a classic, especially not with its happy ending that exists primarily for the benefit of future…

Thumb_5omusvdwvy5duis2jrck22aecnq

Mood Indigo

Even if you have a high tolerance for whimsy, "Mood Indigo" may still be too much.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

The Ugly Truth

The Ugly Truth Movie Review
  |  

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler are so pleasant in "The Ugly Truth" that it’s a shame to spoil their party. But toil and try as they do, the comedy bogs down in relentless predictability and the puzzling overuse of naughty words.

Once the movies were forbidden to drop the f-word at all, but in this one, it’s only an opening salvo in a potty-mouth bombing run. Heigl plays Abby, producer of the early morning news on a Sacramento station that is operated like no other station in the history of television. Anchored by a bickering married couple, the broadcast is tanking in the ratings, and so her boss forces Abby to bring in Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a macho local cable personality whose ideas about the battle of the sexes date back to about Alley Oop.

On his first appearance, he departs from his script, diagnoses the anchor as the victim of his control-freak wife and suggests they’ve probably stopped sleeping together. “This is great!” the station manager raves, despite that the that segment runs so long, it steps on the first five minutes of the network morning slot.

Abby is a raving beauty who of course can’t find a man, maybe because her standards are those of a perfectionist. A handsome young orthopedic surgeon (Eric Winter) comes within her sights, after she twists an ankle falling from a tree outside his bedroom window watching him dry off after a shower while she was trying to rescue her cat. That’s the sort of thing, wouldn’t you agree, that happens all too rarely in life?

Mike, the rugged sex-talk guru, tells her she’s making all the wrong moves if she ever wants to catch this guy and starts coaching her. So which guy does she end up with? Guess. The movie leaves not a stone unturned, including the semi-obligatory Beauty Makeover Montage, during which Mike advises her on the requirements of a push-up bra and tells her to acquire longer hair. Uh, huh. And when the doc takes her to a ballgame, Mike broadcasts instructions to her earphone, just as a producer might speak into an anchor’s earpiece.

There’s one scene with real comic possibilities, but it doesn’t pay off. Mike gives her a pair of remote-controlled, battery-powered vibrating panties. (Yes, they actually manufacture such items. Isn’t the Web a useful resource?) Abby, the silly girl, foolishly decides to wear these to a business dinner and takes along the remote control, for reasons it is hard to explain. A kid at a nearby table grabs the remote control. We all know what’s coming, and Heigl makes a real effort, but I’m afraid Meg Ryan’s restaurant orgasm in "When Harry Met Sally..." remains the gold standard in this rare but never boring category.

The TV news as portrayed in the film makes "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" look like a documentary. Every segment can run as long as necessary. Macho Mike ad libs everything. Yes, he’s good for ratings, but if after a few days, he’s really pulling in a 12 in the 5 a.m. hour, in prime time he would outscore the Oscars. And TV cameras do not usually follow newsmen out of the studio and into the street and watch whatever they do — although if it were funnier, we might not mind.

Again, Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler are awfully nice here but the movie does them in. Amazing that this raunchy screenplay was written by three women. At its conclusion, I am forced to report, it provides abundant evidence of my belief that a good movie has rarely featured a hot-air balloon.

Popular Blog Posts

Reverse Trip: Charting the History of Bong Joon-Ho's "Snowpiercer"

A look at the cinematic and political history that resulted in Bong Joon-Ho's "Snowpiercer."

Video games can never be art

Having once made the statement above, I have declined all opportunities to ...

Home Entertainment Consumer Guide: July 17, 2014

The best new releases on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, VOD, and Blu-ray/DVD.

James Garner: 1928-2014

An obituary for the legendary James Garner, who has passed away at the age of 86.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus