I can’t handle The Ugly Truth

“Isn’t this movie just Leonidas with a shirt on?”

-Tony Lin, 14/07/2009

Have you got any idea of how sick of seeing trailers for The Ugly Truth I am? They’re pairing it with everything, from Revolutionary Road way back in the day to Transformers and Brüno now! It’s had a huge lead in promotion, so it’s probably going to explode at the Australian box office.
This time I won’t go into a lengthy tirade against Katherine Heigl, because she’s got some sort of defence machine that will spring into action if a word – and there have been many – is said against her. That doesn’t stop the fact that this movie is going to suck (although last time I defamed The Ugly Truth I also defamed The Proposal, and that turned out better than my cynical heart could ever have hoped).

I don’t understand why some movies take so long to come out. I’ve been seeing trailers for this for about five months; it comes out on August 6th here.  From the (Australian!) director of Legally Blonde, the Jane Fonda comeback vehicle Monster-in-Law (which I saw the trailer for roughly seventy billion times in 2005), and criminally boring card counting flick 21, The Ugly Truth is another bad romantic comedy about two unlovable creatures finding love in each other.
That’s actually pretty surprising: that both of them are as bad as each other, albeit in different ways.  How many times am I going to have to see Heigl fellate a hot dog before I die? It’s getting so much play that I fear I may have a coronary at the cinema and that will be the last thing that I see.

The Ugly Truth amounts to a frat comedy on Gerard Butler’s side combined with a “successful woman want to know what love is, and wants you to show her” romance on the other side. Can misogyny and blatant career sexism meet in the middle and create a successful film? Does Gerard Butler actually work in a “real” movie, or will he forever be kicking people into holes and telling them where they are in the hearts and minds of the people?

It’s also R rated in America, so that means you’ll get extra raunch! Substitute “raunch” for “boobs”, which in Hollywood means the same thing most of the time.

Maybe, if I could drag myself to it, it could surprise me. The Proposal worked because it didn’t resort to gender stereotyping, even if the same movie could never have been made had Sandra Bullock’s character been a man and Reynolds’ a woman. These were just two people who had their own family and intimacy issues and the movie worked based on that.

The Ugly Truth, from the poster on, tells you “this is what a man is. This is what a woman is.” It’s lazy writing, in reality, but time and again that seems to be what audiences want. You can’t go to such a movie and uncritically accept what it is trying to feed you. I want people to be able to rise up and say: “not everyone is like this! Certainly, Katherine Heigl, men like your breasts, but that is not all there is to you! And Gerard Butler, stop making men seem so shallow! Sure you like Katherine Heigl’s breasts, but that’s not all you like about her!”
It’s a war I’m never liable to win, but I’ll repeat myself until the day I die: stop making crap movies that are little more than thinly veiled sexism. As I intend to die during a preview for The Ugly Truth next week, you won’t hear it repeated much longer, but keep it in mind.

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