1 Star - Demeaning
There is no doubt that men and women struggle with their relationships. But to take only the cynical side of that struggle and present it as the whole truth creates something so ugly that it is offensive. That is what happens to Mike (Gerard Butler) in Robert Luketic’s “The Ugly Truth.”
Written by Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz (Legally Blonde) and Kirsten Smith (The House Bunny), the story is predictable, the characters are stereotypical, and the vulgar language and raunchy sexuality depicted is deserving of its R rating – clearly inappropriate for underage or sensitive adult viewers.
As the producer of an early morning TV news show in Sacramento that has lost its status and ratings, Abby’s (Katherine Heigl) supervisor decides to bring Mike and his cable show “The Ugly Truth” on board. A cynical, perceptive man who has decided that love is not possible, Mike points out what he sees as the brutal truth about male-female relationships. Striking a chord with a frustrated culture, his show is a hit.
Naively romantic yet lonely and unrealistic about finding love, Abby is offended by Mike’s manner but dependent upon his success. This establishes an uneasy working relationship which predictably turns personal. The story then follows the usual path of discovering that even in the most cynical of hearts, there is the capacity to love.
“The Ugly Truth” adds nothing to our understanding of relationships and is demeaning and disrespectful in its reduction of male-female relationships to their basest sexual terms. That we often play games with one another and that it is easy to have our hearts broken is true. However, to think that we are not capable of love or that we can’t find a person with whom we can share our lives is simply not true. It may be difficult to find and nurture love in a healthy relationship, but truly loving another person is a beautiful truth and a value which can be affirmed by all.
Discussion for those who have seen the film:
- When Abby realizes that she is alone because of her ideals, she tries to become a woman she is told a man would want. Have you ever tried to be someone you are not in order to win someone’s love? What happened in that relationship?
- The pressure on producers to present shows which titillate a fickle audience is similar to a movie like this which uses raunchy language and humor to gain an audience. What do you think this pressure and choice is doing to TV and cinema, and to their audiences?
- When Abby uses Mike’s instructions to win the affections of Colin (Eric Winter), she is successful. Do you believe that a woman should try to be the woman a man would enjoy in order to be in a relationship? Why or why not?