Is The Ugly Truth the Worst Romantic Comedy Ever?
Since when Romance Met Comedy kicked off 2019 with a the passionate defense of Katherine Heigl and 27 dresses, it just seems like I’m kicking off 2020 by taking a look at the more questionable side of his romantic comedy work. Because while I defend Heigl, there is no way to defend his vehicle 2009 The sad truth, a film in the running for the worst romantic comedy ever. The sad truth is a particularly glaring misstep in Heigl’s often dubious filmography, not least because she also produced it by management. Two years after the hubbub ended Heigl is calling In blister “a little sexist” Seth Rogen joked at Howard Stern’s show, “I hear there is a scene [in her latest film] where she’s wearing… underwear… with a vibrator in it, so I should see if that is uplifting for women. Spoiler alert: this is not the case!
Heigl stars as Abby, an overpowered and nervous morning show producer from Sacramento who is forced to work with misogynistic “truth-teller” Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), whose relationship counseling boils down to telling women to lose weight and lose weight. do more blowjobs. Like all professional women who own cats, Abby is in desperate need of love, but too clinical and controlling to find it. So when she meets orthopedic surgeon Colin (Eric Winter) – the rare man who meets all 10 criteria on her dream man checklist – Abby finds herself somewhat reluctantly following Mike’s advice on way to make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex. Namely: wear a push-up bra, get hair extensions, pretend to laugh at his jokes, and never criticize him or talk about your own issues. In the end, however, Colin falls in love with the fake version of Abby, while Mike falls in love with the real one.
The sad truth try to updating the dynamics of a Doris Day / Rock Hudson bedroom comedy with the 21st century genre politics that fueled 2000s romantic comedies like Coupling, What women Want, and He’s just not very interested. All these films contrast the magnanimous way of things should be with the crass way they actually are (aka “the ugly truth”) before building a climax that recognizes that there are no hard and fast rules because, hey, the heart wants what he wants ! And even if you think it would at least help The sad truth to explore an arc in which Mike reforms as Abby learns to relax, it’s mostly an exercise to watch Abby embarrass herself for 96 minutes until she ends up falling into Mike’s arms out of resignation more than anything else. Rather than maturing Mike, the film has its on-air replacement actively advocating rape so that Mike at least looks better in comparison.
The strangest thing about The sad truth it’s that it was made by really talented people. 10 things I hate about you scriptwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith were hired to rework Nicole Eastman’s original screenplay, which had been circulating in Hollywood for years. (Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck were attached at one point, when they were dating.) Lutz and Smith teamed up with director Robert Luketic, who previously directed their screenplay for The revenge of a blonde. But at the same time 10 things and The revenge of a blonde are modern classics with markedly subversive feminist tendencies, The sad truth is good, The sad truth.
It may be because the project clearly came with a mandate to take up the bawdy-mouth formula that had made Judd Apatow a household name after the success of The 40-year-old virgin. The 2000s were the time when the R rating became a badge of honor for studio comedies, as many of them packed as much as possible. Especially after the success of Blistered, studios were eager to sell R-rated romantic comedies as an exciting new development no matter what When Harry meets Sally and A pretty woman– the two iconic films that kicked off the ’90s romantic comedy renaissance in the first place – are also rated R.
It wouldn’t be before Bridesmaids in 2011, Hollywood finally found a way for women to have fun too. Generously you could see The sad truth as an inelegant step in that direction – sticking to the same old sexist script but at least giving her female role a little more. In his infamous Vanity Fair interview, Heigl said of Blistered, “He portrays women as shrews, humorless and tense, and he portrays men as adorable, goofy, and fun-loving guys.” The sad truth shares that dynamic, but it’s at least a lot more intentional about it. Abby’s oppression is an active character trait, while in Blistered rather, it’s the result of a storyline that just doesn’t care about the inner life of his female role. (The biggest problem with Blistered isn’t Heigl’s Alison being acerbic, is that she lacks any sort of consistent characterization.)
While Abby may be the target of The sad truthjokes, Heigl can at least get in on the comedy in a way she didn’t In blister. And you can’t say that she doesn’t engage in the vibrating underwear scene admirably, even though the logistics of getting Abby to an important business dinner in vibrating panties with a capricious remote control is incredibly painful. The sad truth is much more sexist than Blistered, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Heigl had more fun doing it.
None of this makes up for the fact that this is chauvinistic and painfully funny work in which the most interesting common thread is Butler’s continued struggle to transform his Scottish brogue into something that vaguely resembles a American accent. The sad truth has been universally breaded, but like many romantic comedies of the era, it seemed to enjoy the remaining affection for the genre’s climax, earning a lot of money ($ 88.9 million domestic for a whopping 205.3 million total. dollars in the world). It’s a reality that at least makes me somewhat sympathetic to women who embark on projects like this. If sexist films are the only films studios have to make, what should a woman do?
And yet it was also the existence of films like this that essentially drove the romantic comedy underground for a decade. Heigl herself later admitted that she got oversaturated like: “I stopped challenging myself. It has become a bit rote, and as a creative person it can wear you out. ” The sad truth is the perfect example of a late 2000s romantic comedy that realizes its audiences know its plot rhythms are inevitable, so never bother to make the effort to justify them. In the big hot air balloon climax in which Mike finally confesses his love for Abby, she asks, “Are you in love with me?” Why? ”To which he replies,“ It beats me the shit, but I am. ”
In truth, I can’t really say that The sad truth is the worst romantic comedy ever made, especially not when Shallow hal exist. But it certainly represents the worst romantic comedies can be when everyone involved accepts that they are the lowest common denominator, and not a legitimate genre on which to build unique stories. The sad truth ends with a supposedly cute epilogue in which Abby and Mike’s roll in the bag ends with his joke that he’ll never know if she just faked his effusive orgasm – a callback to an earlier moment in which he explains that fake laughs and fake orgasms are the best thing for the male ego to do. Feign the illusion of pleasure for the benefit of a disinterested public? It’s hard to think of a more appropriate metaphor for romantic comedies in the late 2000s.
The next time: Let the river flow, it’s time to A hard worker!