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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 25, 2010

The Ugly Truth

THOSE WHO enjoy Star Cinema's formulaic romantic comedies will drool over "The Ugly Truth" as it comes from the same cookie-cutter template. The difference is that Star Cinema avoids the bawdy, sexy words they use rampantly here. The movie will also appeal to the fans of Katherine Heigl, who first zoomed to fame on TV as Izzie in "Grey's Anatomy" then achieved big screen stardom in romantic comedies like "Knocked Up" and "27 Dresses".

She now produces "The Ugly Truth" herself and once again plays the lead role of Abby Richter, the producer of a morning show on TV in Sacramento who's being hound by her boss to do something to up their poor ratings.

While watching TV on cable access, she sees a show called "The Ugly Truth" with a crass and unshaven host, Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), who has some controversial ideas about man-woman relationships. She's incensed by Mike's chauvinistic pontifications and calls up the show where they have an on-air altercation.

When she reports to their office later, she gets the surprise of her life when her boss tells her that they're hiring the guy from 'Ugly Truth' to do a segment in her morning show. She's vehemently against it, but once Mike is on the air, he's like a loose cannon who even manages to patch things up between the warring married couple who are the show's main hosts, Larry (John Michael Higgins), who he correctly diagnosed as feeling emasculated by his more successful wife, Georgia (Cheryl Hines). And what's more, he's a hit with their viewers, increasing their ratings considerably.

At home, Abby tries to rescue her pet from a tree and sees a hunky handsome neighbor coming out of the shower. She slips from the tree and the neighbor ends up rescuing her. He turns out to be a doctor, Colin (Eric Winter), and has all the qualities of the ideal guy he's describing to Mike. She calls him in front of Mike to ask for a date, but Mike is flabbergasted by her cheap behavior and teaches her how to hook her man in a more effective manner. Wonder of wonders, Mike's advice works and Colin begins to earnestly court her.

Rom-coms like this won't work without scenes subjecting the heroine to embarrassing situations, just like in "The Proposal". Here, Abby is taken to a ball game by Colin, accidentally dumps drinks on his lap and ends up being shown on the big screen monitor while she's wiping his crotch like she's giving him head. In a dinner date, she wears vibrating panties and the remote control is found by a little boy who then manipulates it like a toy, making her squirm and squeal on her way to mechanically induced pleasure. This is reminiscent of Meg Ryan's fake orgasm scene in "When Harry Met Sally".

As we all know, in films of this genre, the lead characters who start with antagonistic behavior to one another eventually end up in each other's arms. This would work only if the leads have good chemistry together and no doubt, Heigl and Butler do make a cute pair on screen. Both of them have great appeal and charisma and Director Robert Luketic ("Legally Blond", "21") knows exactly how to play them off against each other to come up with funny, laugh out loud scenes. The moment of self realization occurs when Mike gets an offer from a bigger TV station and Abby is assigned to convince him to sign up a three-year contract with them. Mike resigns but you know there'll be the usual reunion for the indispensable happy ending and this happens while they're both arguing on the air while on board a colorful hot air balloon, without them being aware that their bickering is being telecast on the air.

Butler is currently the busiest Brit import working in Hollywood, eclipsing the likes of Jude Law and Clive Owen. And he's certainly not choosy with his assignments, seemingly accepting whatever comes his way from action flicks like "300", "RocknRolla", and "Gamer" to more wholesome films like "Nim's Island" and "P.S. I Love You". Here, he speaks with an American accent and even does a charming dance number with Heigl who manages to give a very sympathetic performance especially in the scenes where he tries to put down Mike's cockiness.