Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Ugly Truth

That's How I Like It

How my friend and I got to watch an advance preview of this film is an interesting story in itself, given the circumstances and what we had experienced and observed, somehow playing a little bit on the theme of the movie, but I suppose that is something for another day. The Ugly Truth didn't fare all too well when it got released in the States, perhaps most people found the content too hard to swallow, in self-denial, or basically too prudish to let the hair down and guffaw at the situations being presented, however unlikely they could be.

If you had thought the trailer had some of the best lines in the movie, then may I assure you that you'll be up for a lot more. Maybe it's because I have bad taste, or a potty mind at times that took over, and found that hey, I could be the equivalent of a Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) too, with filth that comes out of the mouth without thorough processing. Butler's Chadway is a shock jock, who on late night cable television hosts The Ugly Truth, passing on sound but cynical judgement about the state of modern relationships to his viewers. Katherine Heigl's Abby is a television producer whose languishing ratings on her show translates to a threat of cancellation, until Mike gets contracted to present his pointed viewpoints on a segment of her news programme.

Needless to say, sparks don't fly between the two because the control freak in Abby is automatic loggerheads with Mike's loose cannon (pardon the pun), and made worse when Mike is deemed as the saviour of her show and career. The two enter a grudging professional relationship when Abby seeks help from Mike in order to snag the man of her dreams (according to a checklist, no less!), and I guess for a romantic comedy you can fill in the blanks all the way to the finale.

Sure the story isn't rocket science, full of fluff that could be used to fill a king sized mattress, but who cares about the story when you have insane, chauvinistic situations (and this is written by three women!) plastered left, right and centre full of sexual innuendos and references all targeted squarely at making you laugh, probably sometimes at yourself when you realize that you've utilized the same tips and tricks, or found yourself stuck in the exact same situation where the advice become “words of wisdom”. It's pretty much the games people play, laid out flatly on the table, and as such, adds to your ability to identify and participate in the film.

The film worked wonders because of its star pairing of Butler and Heigl. I always thought Butler could do action and romance with his eyes closed, but who would have realized that he makes an awesome shock jock who's convinced with exactly what he's preaching, and practising those lessons to the T. If anything it adds to his versatility that he can do comedy as well. Heigl needs no introduction, and she amplifies her comic timing a lot more in this one, which I think easily endears her. Playing essentially two proverbial roles like the Librarian and the Stripper in her real, and perceived, fake self thanks to Mike's creative input, it's a little bit of fantasy thrown in, as who can imagine anyone looking like Heigl, having a lack of suitors lining up her doorway. That goofy dance of hers each time she literally jumps for joy, should be immortalized.

Hold on, did I actually enjoy this film? Yes, really, so don't laugh (at me). I have to admit again that it relied plenty on cliches, cardboard characters, and unreal situations crafted just for laughs (such as the one just begging to challenge When Harry Met Sally's iconic scene in a restaurant), it's quite inexplicable how I could have come to really laugh at nearly every moment, and had a field day with it. Inexplicable, just like falling in love with someone is.

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