In this lushly produced but dispiriting new comedy, Katherine Heigl stars as Abby Richter, a successful but hopelessly uptight TV producer who is also perpetually single. Enter Mike (Gerard Butler), a big, boorish lunk of a hunk, whose cable-access show, The Ugly Truth, advises men and women to seek "lust, not love." Abby finds his philosophy infuriating, only to discover that her boss has hired Mike to do a daily advice spot on the Sacramento morning show she produces. Abby is mortified, but eventually, she and Mike make a pact: He'll quit the show if his love advice fails to help Abby score the heart of her gorgeous doctor neighbor (Eric Winter). Directed by Robert Luketic, The Ugly Truth is, of course, just another factory-authorized romantic comedy, soon to be digested and forgotten even as its target demographic prepares for the next bad-but-must-be-seen Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey flick. Heigl and Butler have genuine chemistry, and the writers have given the duo some bitchy, snappy dialogue. They probably had in mind such workplace comedies as Desk Set, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, but in this day and age witty banter and stars with chemistry aren't enough to catch an audience's attention. Or at least that's what conventional wisdom tells the greenlighters. And so it is that Mike talks raunchily about what women really want (hard, rough, and often), and Abby accidentally vibrates herself to orgasm at a business dinner.
Heigl discovers where Butlers hand went beneath the table.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., July 24. Rated R. 95 minutes.