As far as raunchy romantic comedies go, you’ll find a slim selection. Well, that’s not true; the selection is pretty vast, but the amount in there that are actually worth watching are very few. Cue The Ugly Truth, a new R-rated romantic comedy starring Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl as two opposing forces who…well, you know. It’s a romantic comedy, there is really only one ending. And it’s that predictable nature that led this film to slaughter by critics…but that didn’t deter the box office any. With a light budget of $38 million, the film had no trouble recouping that and then some as it brought in nearly $200 million worldwide.
Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler star in this wildly funny battle of the sexes. Abby (Heigl), a successful morning show producer, is looking for a lot in a man. Mike (Butler), her obnoxious TV star, knows men only want one thing. Determined to prove that she’s not romantically challenged, Abby takes Mike’s advice during a promising new romance, but the unexpected results will stun everyone.
Oh yes, unexpected results. If only that were the case. I’ve long since stopped trying to fool myself into thinking a romantic comedy is capable of such a twist that it’s not something you see coming from a mile away. True, The Ugly Truth is a little less obvious about it and leaves it fester until the last fifteen to twenty minutes or so, but nonetheless you see it coming. It’s simply a played out scenario and aside from heaping piles of vulgarity on top of it, this film does nothing new with the concept.
From the outset the film seemed like a more female geared version of a Judd Apatow movie. While Apatow movies tend to have a great deal of romance in them, they never really appeal to the female audience like they do to the male audience. So this movie, I felt, at least from the trailers, was a kind of answer to that. Well…yes and no, because it’s a pretty stupid execution. The film is overrun with vagina jokes (I guess that’s what makes it a female focused romantic comedy), none of which are particularly humorous, and even the “ugly truth” that Butler spouts out is overly juvenile in nature.
I’m sure there’s some truth to all of what the film was saying, but it’s kind of just pigeonholing one of many various groups of both genders. Granted that’s what these kinds of films do, but it’s done with same fantastically stupid results. Super attractive people running around trying to find dates and true love is fine and all, but if you’re going to make it a romantic comedy then for the love of God don’t forget the comedy part. Heigl and Butler work with what little they have here to their credit, but quite honestly I found Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins to be a lot funnier than anything else in this film. And then for some reason they got the super funny Nate Corddry to appear in the film for all of ten seconds. Kudos.
Honestly the film wasn’t lacking talent; it was just lacking everything else. The directing was uninspired; the script was dull and stale (think of it as a raunchier Hitch, really); and there just truly was little to really find entertaining here. Some decent jokes popped up here and there, but they were mostly the kind that made you go “wow, really?” more so than “hahaha that was hilarious!” I’m not sure if Butler’s going to have much of a career if he doesn’t stop taking on so many horrible projects (although the last good one he did, RockNRolla, performed quite abysmally…so maybe he should stick with poorly written rom com’s) and how Heigl signed on to do this film after lamenting how sexist Knocked Up was at times when this film is just as bad in the opposite direction, I don’t know. Unless maybe by doing both some kind of sexist karma has been returned to order in her universe.
But, in the end, there were admittedly a few moments that I laughed at…they were just very few and far between. To be honest the films “saw that coming” ending would’ve been a lot more enjoyable if it hadn’t actually come to fruition (plus the green screen behind them for the balloon sequence was quite horrendous looking), but…alas. That’s not the type of movie this is. As far as romantic comedies go this is one of the most vulgar and unfulfilling I’ve seen to date. Go ahead and Skip this one unless you’re looking for a way to waste an hour and a half (or see a well-toned naked man).
Sony has released The Ugly Truth in a standard DVD case with a re-imagining of the original movie poster with the actors in its place (I personally thought the movie poster was the only original thing about the film). Other than that it’s a standard Eco-friendly case with a disc-art-less disc and a basic menu setup. The video transfer is solid with decent detail and sharply defined colors. Audio is a DD5.1 mix that is relatively unassuming, with it never really coming alive. Also included is a French DD5.1 track as well as English and French subtitles.
Extras are fairly brief. The full list includes:
Select Scenes Commentary with Director Robert Luketic and Producer Gary Lucchesi (52:20)
Deleted and Extended Scenes (16:22)
Alternate Endings (5:08)
Gag Reel (10:22)
The Truth is Ugly: Capturing the Male and Female Point of View (12:48)
The Art of Laughter: A Making of Hilarious Proportions (15:53)
Now, granted, there’s nearly two hours of bonus content here, but most of it is pretty forgettable. Not even the 10 minute gag reel could entertain me as they seem to be overly long extended takes that aren’t even flubs some of the time. The film looked like fun to work on, at least, so it has that going for it. The “Art of Laughter” piece is a little pretentious as this film hasn’t even come close to mastering such a thing and the alternate endings/deleted scenes were as forgettable as the film. Although I do have to say that the alternate ending of Butler being the one to say the “You’ll never know” line made more sense from a bookend standpoint. Although both of those endings were a little bit crass, but then again so was the whole movie.
So what about this “select scene commentary” business mentioned above? Well from the way the track starts out and ends, I’d have to say that they likely recorded a commentary over the entire film with some serious dead spots, as it’s not introduced as commentaries on individual clips, but rather as being over the entire film. It’s an interesting bit of commentary occasionally, but most of the time it’s a bunch of self-congratulatory back slapping and laughing at their own jokes. Yes, yes, your poorly reviewed film made a boatload of cash. Congratulations, you’re joining the same club as Michael Bay. Which he coincidentally founded.
But enough condemning this film—is this DVD a yay or nay? Well not surprisingly the extras didn’t redeem the film even remotely, so this is a big fat Skip.
The Ugly Truth is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.