To call The Ugly Truth misogynistic is truly an insult to misogyny. Misogyny is the point of The Ugly Truth and to suggest that it’s either sexist, degrading to women, or offensive would be to suggest that the movie is, in some small way, effective. I’m not willing to concede the point. Misogyny suggests a hatred of women; The Ugly Truth doesn’t give women enough respect to hate them. In the Company of Men, now that was a misogynistic movie. Not a moment goes by in that film where you don’t feel an unrelenting hatred for Aaron Eckhart’s character. The only thing you feel for Gerard Butler’s character, Mike, is indifference. He’s written too broadly; he’s a better-looking, crass caricature of Adam Carolla. He’s a human piñata that not even the most ardent feminist could work up a lather to hate. To do so would validate him, and he’s not worth the effort.
Indeed, going into The Ugly Truth, I felt a certain pity for Gerard Butler, slumming it in what was sure to be an awful, formulaic excuse for a romantic comedy. But seeing Butler for the first time outside of the context of an action film, I realized this: Butler is a terrible goddamn actor. Sweaty, shirtless, sword-wielding characters have obscured that fact for a while now. When he’s onscreen, it’s usually difficult to see beyond the pecs. The reality is that Katherine Heigl is far superior in the actressin’ department than Butler. In fact, though no one in Hollywood tickles my gag reflex more than Rainbow Killer, The Ugly Truth deserves the ultimate insult, which is to say: Even Heigl is too good for this movie. It is a vile, pitiable excuse for a film, and not because it’s offensive or sexist, but because it’s tedious, dull, predictable, poorly written, awfully directed, chemistry-free and despicably half-brained, written by three women born with a flaccid penis inside of their otherwise empty cranium.
Heigl stars as Abby, a producer for a local newscast , control freak, and scourge of the Earth who is unlucky with men because she apparently doesn’t know to wear brassieres that make guys want to suckle her breasts or wear her hair in such a way as to give men something to hang onto while they’re making a rear entrance. Enter Mike (Butler): A local access phenom who dispenses the “ugly truth” about men and dating, which is to say: They’re only interested in mute, empty-headed, blow-job machines. In other words, every man’s ideal would be Hellen Keller, if only she had bigger tits. Mike is brought in to increase ratings and, surprise, it works because he knows exactly what men want: Two illiterate half-naked chicks wrestling in Jell-O who know to shut the fuck up while the game is on.
Abby, who initially loathes the troglodytic Mike, eventually agrees to let him be her Cyrano de Bergerac and help her land a lay with a doctor by teaching Abby how to fellate a hot dog and flick her bean. And although his methods work, she finds herself falling for Mike because he doesn’t beat her and apparently, that’s all she’s looking for in a man: Someone who probably won’t break any domestic violence laws. Mike, meanwhile, grows increasingly fond of Abby because, well, she has one more orifice than him and he hasn’t yet mastered an ability to fuck himself.
And that, folks, is essentially the gist of The Ugly Truth. It’s a movie about fucking. And in a parlance that the filmmakers might understand: It’s a lousy goddamn lay, a lifeless hump, a bloated dead fish with leaking discharge. As a critic, I submitted to it involuntarily. And though I should, perhaps, feel violated, the experience was more dull than painful. The Ugly Truth simply took my $10 a rubbed up against me uncomfortably like an overeager castrated eunuch badly miming intercourse.