Ugly Truth, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus wishes Butler had kicked Heigl down a hole in this rom com, 300 style...
Control freak Abby (Katherine Heigl), a morning TV show producer who’s been a little too long without a boyfriend, battles to keep control of new employee Mike (Gerald Butler), a tell it like it is relationship adviser who enjoys the ladies and has no intention of getting into anything meaningful.
Overcoming their differences, Abby enlists the help of Mike and he soon proves his theories on the battle of sexes are sound and gets her the man of her dreams (cue the record scratch sound effect), but sometimes the very thing you’re looking for could be closer than you think.
The first third of this rom-com was worse than anticipated. Heigl is immediately unlikable, all of the dialogue is horrific, and everything comes off as a bad sitcom with bad characters and something I would want to turn off, just because I knew I’d be wasting ninety minutes of my life.
Around about the half way mark and when Butler’s utterly unrealistic but still likable Mike takes the reins and starts leading the movie, everything gets a little more enjoyable. The dialogue is still hammy, forced and everything you’d expect from the genre, but it gets a little dirtier. And when I say dirtier, I mean perfectly safe filthy gags as opposed to effective laughter bombs. I mean, you mention masturbation in a Judd Apatow or Kevin Smith movie, the mood and style of comedy (as well as the talent) delivers a laugh, here it feels like your Mum and Dad talking about it, and I don’t know about you, but that’s just uncomfortable.
Treading the line between typical date night friendly and the muckier R rated comedies out there, we get underdeveloped comedic set pieces revolving around Heigl battling her vibrating panties in a crowded restaurant, her getting embarrassed by a baseball stadium big screen that mistakenly shows her giving her date head and of course non discreet conversations about how often she ‘flicks her bean’. All of this on paper should be hilarious (and I’m sure there are groups out there it works for), but everything felt so flaccid and fake and meticulously planned as not to offend the market it’s aimed at that I just didn’t buy it.
Hit and miss filthy gags aside, and despite the totally unbelievable route this story takes, I once again get lured in and I can’t deny I wanted these two to get together (even if it’s just to have Mike sleep with someone a week later and say ‘Now that’s the Ugly Truth!!’). The chemistry is just about there and although the end is mind blowingly typical, it’s the pretty bow the story really needs to get the job done.
Every single shot of this movie looks pretty much the same. Other than the odd darker scenes, every moment is bathed in a golden glow that makes The Ugly Truth seem more like a cartoon (set in the Cities of Gold) than it does live action movie.
As for the transfer itself, it’s hard to work out whether I’m a little too used to Blu-ray or if Sony aren’t putting much effort into standard definition DVD anymore. The image is super soft, comes with almost zero in the way of any real detail and the colours are so bold it blasts any sort of sharpness into oblivion. Of course, there’s always the fall back that this is rom-com and all it needs to do is look glossy and bright but I can’t imagine that the HD upgrade is as washy as this.
The best word to sum this up is ‘dull’. It’s just dialogue with the odd punchy pop tunes or phone ringing in office atmospherics. The most dynamic it gets is at the baseball game where the crowd sit safely in the rear speakers and do little to enthral.
Once again, the genre dictates all of the above, so it’s not like I was expecting much more but hey sometimes these things can surprise you. Not this time though.
Only ten of the scenes come with commentary from director Robert Luketic and producer Gary Lucchesi and every instalment has the same chirpy mood that talks about how fun the scenes are and how the ‘vibrating panties” scene will be referred to in years to come (deluded).
There are six deleted and extended scenes (15:49), two alternative endings (04:57) (one in which Mike is faking it and another in which they seem to be married with a goofy speech to show what they have learned) and a typical gag reel (09:58).
‘The Truth is Ugly: Capturing the Male and Female Point of Views’ (12:18) is a small featurette with cast and director discussing how different men and women are and what the movie aimed to do. ‘The Art of Laughter: A making of Hilarious Proportions’ (15:16) is a bog standard making of with casting stories and tales of all the fun they had.
Lastly, there are trailers for Blu-ray is High Definition, District 9, 2012, Ice Castles, Angels and Demons and Julie and Julia.
The Ugly Truth is typical stuff with a slice of dirt. It doesn’t all work and anyone looking for an honest look at relationships should look elsewhere. Heigl plays her usual unlikable self and Butler coasts through relatively unscathed but this is only this humble reviewers opinion and I’m not the target audience for this sort of affair.
The disc is thoroughly underwhelming across the board but matches the specs of many of the titles in the rom-com catalogue, so all in all, it’s a release that isn’t out to impress but just wants to fit the bill as an option for a date night or a girly sleepover.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 8th February 2010
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Audio Descriptive Service English
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish
Extras: Select Scene Commentary, Deleted and Extended Scenes, Alternative Endings, Gag Reel, Featurettes, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Robert Luketic
Cast: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler
Genre: Comedy and Romance
Length: 92 minutes
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