Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Ugly truth

"Ah... Flashback humor."

Serial single Abby despises Mike. She hates everything about him, especially his opinions on men, women, and love. But when Abby meets the man of her dreams, she is willing to do anything to get him- even take Mike's advice. But as Mike tooters her, Abby gets to know him and starts to find that he, and her dreams, aren't all their cracked up to be.

People (i.e. women) often accuse me of being anti-romantic comedy. I'm pretty sure there are two reasons they do this. First, because I'm a man- which I really can't argue with. And second, because I roll my eyes whenever someone mentions watching one. Now that second one might sound iron clad, but let me explain.

You see, romantic comedies are only as good as their ability to warm the viewer's heart. And most of this genre's viewer's hearts will only be warmed by a happily ever after. This presents a problem, since your average viewer will also be bored by a "boy meets girl, boy woos girl, boy gets girl" story (though as long as it's well told I don't see the problem). So, a long long time ago one writer decided that the only way to meet both criteria was to add in, between "boy woos girl" and "boy gets girl", a fourth section in entitled "boy royally pisses girl off".

Here some sort of misunderstanding leads to one of the main characters leaving. This ramps up the drama and allows for a "running after you" scene that can then lead directly to "boy gets girl". And there you have it, the formula used to bang out 99.99% of today's romantic comedies. And this is where I roll my eyes.

I am sick to death of this formula. Sure, as time went by they kept finding ways to mask the numbers. And as with any rule there are a few (usually interesting) exceptions. But for the most part, if you've seen one you've seen them all.

Which brings us to The Ugly Truth. This movie plays like a romantic comedy Chimera. I found myself entertained by a great many of it's situations, but each time I did I also found myself thinking of four or five other romantic comedies that had entertained me with the same one. I will say this: if The Ugly Truth is just a conglomeration of other romantic comedies, then they must have been rather funny.

And I wish it ended there dear reader- but it doesn't. This movie has a run-time of 97 minutes and the above applies only to the first 82. Remember the third part of the formula, "boy royally pisses girl off"? Well they've switched the genders but it's still present, and starting there this movie goes from delightful rehashing to just plain stale. The climax and finale to this movie were so contrived I very nearly booed at the screen. At least that would have been entertaining.

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler have entertained me across so many genres, this being one of them. So I was excited when I heard they were coming together, and I'm not willing to say my hopes were totally dashed. Most of this movie is utterly enjoyable (if unoriginal), unfortunately the parts that aren't are the scenes your left with when the lights come up. Save for a couple of cute lines there in, the ending to this movie was worthless to me. The Ugly Truth had me at hello, but lost me at goodbye.

Reel Deal Recommends:

Knocked Up: For a hilarious and sweet romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl.

P.S. I Love You: For a heartfelt romance with Gerard Butler.

No comments: