Saturday, 19 December 2009
DVD REVIEW: THE UGLY TRUTH
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Out now on DVD and Blu-ray
In their recently announced Annual Achievement Awards, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists awarded director Robert Luketic their Hall of Shame Award for The Ugly Truth, although you won't find that accolade listed on the DVD cover and not just because the cover art was likely ready to go weeks in advance.
Indeed, Australian Luketic's directorial debut Legally Blonde could be viewed as a feminist doctrine when placed alongside The Ugly Truth such is its “study” of male-female dynamics. Abby (Katherine Heigl), a morning talk show producer, is so focused on her career that she has little time for dating but, of course, in spite of her success her life doesn't feel complete without a man. In a bid to up the station's flagging ratings. Abby's boss brings in radio shock jock Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), renowned for his 'tell it like it is' take on male-female relations – men are sex obsessed pigs and women really should just accept that - to spice things up.
That Abby and Mike take an instant dislike to each comes as no surprise; it's standard modus operandi for the rom-com. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey were verbal sparring partners long before Abby and Mike's parents ever met, though sadly, a shared first name between leading ladies is about as close as this new film gets to anything Hepburn and Tracey ever committed to celluloid.
That Abby, despite her disgust at this chauvinist, should take Mike's dating advice, like some modern take on Cyrano de Bergerac, when a hunky doctor moves in to her apartment complex is ridiculous; various misunderstandings amid growing attraction serve only to delay the inevitable. We know where the plot is headed from the get go.
Not that The Ugly Truth is the worst rom-com ever made or even the worst of 2009; He's Just Not That Into You, come on down. But just why Hollywood persists in making films for women which deliberately insults them I don't know. Just why women continue to go to these films is a much bigger mystery altogether.