Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Awful Truth

Caught The Ugly Truth, a dreadful romantic comedy from last year.

The plot features Katherine Heigl as a TV morning show producer having Gerard Butler, an X-rated misogynist who gives advice to the lovelorn, foist upon her show. His take on relationships is very popular with the audience, so she can't get rid of him. She makes a deal to take his advice on how to catch the hot, single doctor living next door, and it ends up working. After numerous and tiresome farcical complications, Heigl and Butler recognize (and I apologize for revealing what you already knew) they're meant for each other.

I only bring this up because we have in this film a common situation in romantic comedy these days--Heigl's character is a stunning, accomplished woman, but she can't get a man. Her problem is, allegedly, she's a neurotic control freak, but it's still hard to believe guys wouldn't be hitting on her every time she turns around. (In the movie, predictably, she breaks up with the doctor because he loves her for something she's not, while Butler knows the real woman and still accepts her.)

Of course, this is part of a larger illusion that Hollywood presents. While a man in a comedy can get away with being less than a male model, it's much rarer to see a female lead who isn't hot. Heigl's first big hit, Knocked Up, was all about that, in fact.

The Ugly Truth made money, so it's telling a story people want to hear. But I assume the main audience is female, so this is their idea of wish fulfillment. They know they're not Katherine Heigl, I suppose, but it's a nice dream--you're a knockout whom men just don't understand, but there's still a good, handsome guy around the corner waiting to find you.


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