Rating:

* *

Verdict:

Predictable pap that isn't as shocking as it thinks it is.

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Katherine HeiglStop me if you've heard this one before - Katherine Heigl plays an uptight, sexually repressed over-achiever who meets an emotionally impotent, neanderthal male (Butler) and ... well, you know the rest.

There may only be seven different storylines in the world but

The Ugly Truth

couldn't be more predictable if it came with a paint-by-numbers colour chart. A composite of cliches and stereotypes,

The Ugly Truth

portrays the world as a particularly ugly place where all women are neurotic shrews and men are all sex-starved simpletons.

Want to bag yourself a man, ladies? All you need do is hang up on him repeatedly, eat a hot dog seductively and hey presto! He's yours.

The insights don't stop there - though you'll wish they did. Instead, the film re-enacts every tired dating rule in the book while trying to stir up another battle of the sexes. But unlike other comedies of this genre,

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The Ugly Truth

is devoid of any of the physical humour or outrageous stunts that might have saved it.

Heigl's television producer character Abby Richter comes close to physical comedy in a restaurant scene, involving some naughty knickers and a mislaid remote. But that's about as boundary-pushing as it gets.

How the film warranted an R16 rating is a mystery, as Richter is the type of perky girl-next-door that says "effing" as an actual word. Then there's Scotsman Butler, who struggles with both American accent and straight face as Mike Chadway, a dating guru and guest commentator on Richter's TV show.

To its credit, the film doesn't try to redeem its characters and have them magically transform into people they're not. Rather, it's happy to fall back on another favourite cliche - opposites attract. That might be giving a little too much away, except there's nothing about this film you haven't seen a hundred times before.

In fact, the only surprise here is that the misogynistic screenplay was written by three females. Now that really is ugly.

Joanna Hunkin





Cast:

Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Cheryl Hines

Director:

Robert Luketic

Rating:

R16 (Offensive language and sexual themes)

Running time:

97 mins