The Ugly Truth

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner
Directed by: Robert Luketic (“21”)
Written by: Nicole Eastman (debut), Karen McCullah Lutz (“The House Bunny”), Kirsten Smith (“She’s the Man”)

A woman who can’t drag her man to any romantic comedies even if her life depended on it shouldn’t feel he’s ignoring her cinematic needs if that rom-com is anything like “The Ugly Truth.” Truth be told, the movie is down-right deplorable and diluted with cheap jokes and dialogue. Although it attempts to disguise itself as something with a conscious perspective on the chemistry between the opposite sex, the only thing “The Ugly Truth” succeeds in doing is demonstrating why men and women – when looking for love – are as equally annoying.

The three-headed screenwriting monster consisting of Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz, and Kirsten Smith might like to believe they’ve written something unique and groundbreaking in terms of the relationship dynamic they’ve set up here. They’re sadly mistaken. “The Ugly Truth” stars Katherine Heigl (“Knocked Up”) as Abby Richter, a overbearing television show producer in Sacramento whose personal and professional life is nudged quite significantly off track when the station’s director hires a controversial color commentator to join the on-air talent.

Mike Chadwick (Gerard Butler), is plucked from his makeshift studio where he hosts a cable access television show, and handed a much grander platform to spout off his aggressive relationship advice to women who can’t seem to get their love lives in order. Don’t have a boyfriend, ladies? Mike’s advice is to shed a few pounds before you become a lonely spinster. Can’t get a second date? You might want to put out during the first.

It’s all unenlightening gibberish passed off as words of wisdom by the screenwriters and “Legally Blonde” director Robert Luketic. At least in “Blonde,” Reese Witherspoon is a heartbroken ditz who learns she can be independent and happy. In “The Ugly Truth,” Heigl is a desperate airhead who starts taking advices from the one guy she should be trying to avoid.

It all becomes very formulaic and predictable as Abby and Mike start spending more time with each other so he can educate her in the ways of seduction. Most of this is done by borrowing from other romantic comedies, some good, some just as pathetic. Nevertheless, Luketic and crew allow “The Ugly Truth” to become unnecessarily vulgar (a scene where Heigl repeats an expletive is merely for shock value and hardly funny) and misogynistic. If this is the route rom-coms are going to start taking, there’s really no reason for date nights anymore.

Space Chimps

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels
Directed by: Kirk De Micco (debut)
Written by: Kirk De Micco (“Racing Stripes”)

The year was a perfect three for three in commendable animated features with “Horton Hears a Who,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “WALL-E” leading the way. Leave it up to a bunch of dirty apes to devolve the genre in less than two hours.

In “Space Chimps,” a circus performing chimp named Ham III (voiced by Andy Samberg), is recruited by NASA to go on a mission through space far too dangerous for human astronauts to travel. As the grandson of the first chimpanzee launched into space, Ham is bound by his bloodline to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, although he would much rather be launched from a canon under the big top.

Although he has reservations about the trip, Ham is tricked into going with fellow simian astronauts Luna (Cheryl Hinds) and Titan (Patrick Warburton) into a wormhole that leads to a planet where the dreadful dictator Zartog (Jeff Daniels) has taken control of his Teletubbie-looking citizens and is making them do hard labor.

Unrefined and poorly generated, “Space Chimps” isn’t what most would consider quality animation. Written by Kirk De Micco, there are far too many “is this mic on?” moments where jokes fall flat and all that’s left are monkey and evolution puns to fill the substandard work by Vanguard Animation. We’re not asking everyone to be Pixar, now, but not everything has to be dumb down just because it’s rated G.