Monday, July 27, 2009

Through the Opera Glasses - 24 - The Ugly Truth

As some of you may know by now, when it comes to Gerard Butler, I react to him on a cellular level.

This may skew my reaction to a film like The Ugly Truth, which is getting stinkeroo reviews from critics - and enthusiastic endorsement from filmgoers.

Katherine Heigl plays Abby, a successful TV producer but unsuccessful dater.

She inherits Mike (Gerard Butler,) a low-rent shock jock who tells The Ugly Truth on his call-in show. The truth as he sees it regarding the battle of the sexes, that is.

Abby's boss wants the ratings Mike is guaranteed to pull in.

Abby wants to date her new neighbor, hunky doctor Colin (Eric Winter) without destroying her chances before they even begin.

Mike offers to coach her past her own dismal track record if she'll give his show a chance.

Here's the thing. Even though we follow Abby more than we follow Mike, the film is really presented from Mike's male point of view. This is a how-to-find-true-love romantic comedy told through a jaded man's focus - an outlook that is raunchy, obnoxious and unrepentent.

What I find really strange is the derision handed out to The Ugly Truth by critics, when I laughed throughout the movie - and so did everyone in the theatre.

So here's a battle of the critics versus the filmgoers.

Peter Travers from Rolling Stone gives it half a star out of four stars.

"Katherine Heigl once complained that Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, in which she starred, was way too guy-centric and made the women humorless shrews. Heigl owes Apatow an apology. The Ugly Truth, Heigl's new romcom, is the real sexist swill."

Internet Movie Data Base user michelem3 says, "I saw this movie at a preview event last Friday night and it was hilarious. The sold out cinema was laughing hysterically throughout the movie. Butler has great comedic timing complimenting his tough guy persona. If you are expecting to see a typical romantic comedy you will be surprised, because this R rated film is geared toward the men in the audience as well as the ladies. Grab your significant other and be prepared to laugh and enjoy the movie together."

Jason Anderson for The Toronto Star gives it one and a half stars out of four.

"These reluctant co-workers declare a truce when a hunky surgeon moves into Abby's apartment complex and she solicits Mike's advice on how to land him. Imagine what follows as George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion except with a potty-mouthed Henry Higgins instructing Eliza Doolittle on how to dress more like a stripper."

From IMDB user LadyMacbeth75:

"I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. My husband was happy to watch a romantic comedy from the male perspective as well as the female for a change. The typical fairy tale elements seem to go by the wayside here and we're left with a harsher but very funny battle-of-the-sexes comedy for the times in which we now live."

Manohla Dargis from the New York Times writes:

"That tap-tap-tapping sound you hear is another nail being driven into the coffin of the romantic comedy. Which leads to The Ugly Truth, a cynical, clumsy, aptly titled attempt to cross the female-oriented romantic comedy with the male-oriented gross-out comedy that is interesting on several levels, none having to do with cinema."

IMDB user tomjanjess says:

"I have not laughed so much over a movie as I did watching The Ugly Truth. This film was hysterical. It is a must see movie for both men and women. The scene in the restaurant just about sent me into a fit. I could not stop laughing. The baseball scene was just as funny. Guys would relate to a lot of the scenes in this movie. I cannot understand how the critics rate a movie poorly when the audience was roaring with laughter from beginning to end."

Liam Lacey from the Globe and Mail gives it one star out of four:

"If Doris Day and Rock Hudson had made jokes about vibrating panties and fellatio at the ballpark, just think how much funnier their romantic comedies would have been. That appears to have been the brainwave behind The Ugly Truth. The script was written by three women. They try desperately to copy Judd Apatow's recipe for romantic raunch but succeed only in reversing his snigger-to-flinch ratio."

IMDB user tabuno says:

"This romantic comedy had two gut wrenching belly laugh scenes, along with a more in-your-face sexist look at the differences between men and women which in some ways could be closer to the truth than more 'enlightened' people may want to admit. It is understandable why most critics didn't have much positive to say, but these politically-incorrect sexist comments have at their core some resonance in how men and women actually feel and think. This is a movie that says what many of us want to say, but are afraid to admit, but also enlightens the mass audience with some actual relationship truths by the end of the movie. Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler do have their own chemistry and there is a hidden playfulness that comes out that for some critics might seem childishly crude, but in many respects is so real."

As for myself...well...I could watch Gerry on the dance floor for hours but had to settle for a mere few minutes...sigh...

CLICK HERE to watch the set-up scene from The Ugly Truth

Ms Snarky Pants says That looks really cute! Katherine Heigel is one of my favorites.

Shelley Munro says It sounds like my kind of movie. I never agree with the critics anyway.

Anne MacFarlane says Saw it. Laughed but the vulgarity...Actually, I still feel a little "eeew" when I think of it.


MsSnarkyPants said...

That looks really cute! Katherine Heigel is one of my favorites.

Do you still enjoy Merlin? I love it, but I want to hurt Uther REAL bad which makes me feel conflicted because I loved him on Buffy. hehehe

Shelley Munro said...

It sounds like my kind of movie and I look forward to seeing it down here in NZ. I never agree with the critics anyway.

Anne MacFarlane said...

Saw it.
Laughed but the vulgarity made me feel a little sick to my stomach.
Actually, I still feel a little "eeew" when I think of it.

Julia Smith said...

Ms Snarky Pants - I'm still loving Merlin! I'm even thinking up scenes for it in my head when I'm on the bus, which is always a good sign.

Shelley - I actually tend to agree with critics. That's why I'm so stumped as to why they hate this film that audiences very obviously love. Of course, the earlier release this summer of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen also had hideous reviews and excellent box office. But I will be avoiding that film, as I already know I agree with the critics on that one.

Anne - I have a guy-like sense of humour. I laugh at all the gross-out humour on Family Guy along with my husband.

Amy Ruttan said...

See but I love Apatow type films. The films I adore really never get good reviews from "the critics" so I don't pay attention to reviews. If I want to see it, I go see it and don't give a damn.

And you know how I react to GB too. ;)

Jennifer Leeland said...

I often find that I have an entirely different view of movie critics. I might take a look at this one.
Vibrating panties and fellatio in the ballpark? I would NEVER do that. *snirk*.

Travis said...

I don't listen to critics. The movie had one of your favorite actors, so you want to see it. That's what I go by. If I like who's in it, then I'll consider seeing it. If I don't like who's in it, it has to be about something I really like.

TheChicGeek said...

Wow, Gail, what an incredible review! You really put a ton of work into this and I appreciate it!

Gerald Butler....ahhhh, I react to him on a (ahem) cellular level too...LOL
What's not to love!

I also like it that this is a romantic comedy from a male perspective...that sounds really cool to me! And I love Heigl too. She is so much fun!

I will definitely go see this one!
Loved your review!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!