Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is a daytime TV producer whose show “Good Morning Sacramento ” is losing viewers. In an effort to boost ratings, her superiors bring in shock relationship consultant Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a shameless male chauvinist whose brutally frank yet insightful advice segment, The Ugly Truth, proves an instant success.
Abby is immediately opposed to Mike’s lewd behaviour and sleazy approach to counselling and relationships and wants him off the show. However, when she sets her sights on her new neighbour, a dreamy doctor named Colin, Mike strikes a deal with her. If his help gets her together with Colin, she’ll back off and let him do his job. If it fails, Mike will quit the show.
While there are laughs to be had in The Ugly Truth, there is little effort made by the writers to introduce anything resembling original storytelling. It is plainly signposted from the opening seconds that these two will fall for each other, despite their preconceptions, before the end credits roll. In the meantime there are few surprises. They fight, they squabble, and they frequently upset each other, before little by little seeing through the facades and finding something of substance that might actually make them happy.
Heigl’s character is woefully underwritten, playing the control-freak professional whose lack of success with relationships is staggeringly implausible. This comes as even more of a surprise considering Heigl is listed as one of the film’s producers. Her lack of foresight to secure herself the best material allows Butler to snatch all the best lines and walk away with the entire movie.
What is most infuriating about The Ugly Truth is that beneath this lazily cobbled together excuse for a movie, Heigl and Butler do spark some convincing onscreen chemistry and, while the script doesn’t provide them with much in the way of pithy banter, their performances are begrudgingly likeable. Butler is growing confidently into a reliable leading man, filling the gaping void left by Mel Gibson, while there is something undeniably charming about Katherine Heigl that stretches beyond her classical Hollywood good looks.
In an age where the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson land all the best comedy roles, only to deliver little in the way of laughs, it’s refreshing to have someone like Heigl step into the breach and finally give audiences an appealing actress to root for.