It's an ongoing battle of the sexes. "We're just wired differently." "Men and women will never see eye-to-eye." Whatever the cliche perpetuating polar opposite personalities and cognitive thought processes, the truth is, both genders live on the same planet, and we somehow have to learn how to co-exist, while achieving harmony.
That's the ugly truth, a concept that the romantic comedy The Ugly Truth tried to prove over and over again. Starring Katherine Heigl as a controlling, successful TV producer who plays Abby and Gerard Butler, a real guy's guy who plays Mike, The Ugly Truth attempts to reveal a no-frills attitude about the differences between men and women.
Why is it that successful career women on-screen are portrayed as romantically challenged? That's what Abby is-the cat-owning morning show producer who just can't seem to get or keep a man. Enter Mike, male chauvinist extraordinaire who agrees to coach Abby on what men really want, and ends up falling for her.
"There's definitely a lot of me in this film, but I think it's more about me just being boisterous and having fun," says Butler.
Both strong actors, Heigl and Butler are unfortunately in the midst of some pretty ugly reviews. "The real problem here isn't the stars, but the script," says Stephen Witty, reviewer for NJ.com. "It makes Butler spout lunky commentaries that wouldn't have passed muster on "The Man Show." It thinks just having Heigl say dirty words is somehow funny."
Michael Phillips, from the LA Times agrees, "The Ugly Truth continues a pretty ugly run of romantic comedies squandering the on-screen talent while perpetuating the image of career women as harpies with nice clothes and no dates."
Although there has been some screenplay bashing, screenwriter Karen McCullah Lutz says that she had fun working on this film because she considers herself as a "raunchy and foul-mouthed girl". Fellow screenwriter, Kirsten Smith agrees, "We don't have to censor as much. I mean, usually we're in PG-13 so we have to change it up and find euphemisms for certain words, and now we just get to say those words."
Raunchy, edgy, or risky, the critics are adamant about the bland idea of the plot, something that seems too recycled, too overdone, and too predictable.
"There's not a genuine laugh in it, unless you think vibrating underwear is hoot material," says Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine.
The Ugly Truth opened over the weekend in North American theatres, garnering $27 million.
Katherine Heigl as Abby Richter
Gerard Butler as Mike Chadway
Cheryl Hines as a co-anchor of the morning show
Bree Turner as Joy
Eric Winter as Colin
Kevin Connolly as Jim
Directed by Robert Luketic
Written by Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz, and Kirsten Smith