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The Ugly Truth(2009)
Abby Richter is a romantically challenged morning show producer whose search for Mr. Perfect has left her hopelessly single. She's in for a rude awakening when her bosses team her with Mike Chadway, a hardcore TV personality who promises to spill the ugly truth on what makes men and women tick.
For more about The Ugly Truth and the The Ugly Truth Blu-ray release, see the The Ugly Truth Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 7, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Nick Searcy, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins
Director: Robert Luketic
» See full cast & crew
The Ugly Truth Blu-ray Review
'The Ugly Truth' looks beautiful on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 7, 2009
You have to be two people: the saint and the sinner.
What an appropriate title -- with an emphasis on the "ugly" -- for one of the lesser Romantic Comedies of the decade. The Ugly Truth waddles through genre clichés but does so not with spunk, spirit, or even a good old-fashioned sense of fun, but with generic, unlikable characters; a boring and predictable story; and not even a hint of charm. The Ugly Truth suffers not from genre overexposure but rather obvious underexposure as to what makes movies like these work. It dares to step over the comfortable PG-13 boundaries that represent the genre norm, doing so with heightened vulgarity, innuendo, and sexually-charged sight gags that don't make up for the sheer lack of magnetism between its characters and the absence of any real humor or originality in its script. This is no 50 First Dates or even Actress Katherine Heigl's own 27 Dresses; The Ugly Truth, rather, leaves a sour aftertaste that's best cured by a double-dose of 13 Going on 30.
Television producer Abby Richter (Heigl) is struggling to keep her station's ratings high, and her dating life could stand a boost as well. A perfectionist both in the broadcast booth and on the dating circuit, Abby is always striving for the best broadcasts and searching for the man that meets all of her stringent criteria. When the network hires the vulgar yet highly-rated host of the public access show "The Ugly Truth" named Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler, 300), ratings soar but Abby sours on the condescending and brutally honest relationship "guru" who openly prefers a thin waist and a big chest to brains and charm. When Abby meets her dream man, Mike offers to help her -- with strings attached. If his advice wins over Abby's man, she'll put aside her differences with his style and go with the flow, but if his advice fails her, Mike promises to quit. Of course, this requires they actually spend time together, but will it be time enough for them to realize that, just maybe, opposites really attract?
The Ugly Truth flops at every turn; for every chance the film has to take off and venture out into that oh-so-scarry but rich, fertile, and open land called "Originality," it retreats and huddles into the corner of its comfortable little abode in Clichéville. It need be stated straight away that Romantic Comedies, by definition, all share the same ending, so there's no harm, no foul in the sheer predictability of the outcome between the Abby/Mike relationship. However, the referee's arm will be sore when this one is over for the necessarily excessive throwing of the yellow penalty flag in almost every scene. The film constructs itself not around a tightly-woven story but rather a series of loosely-related events all with the same goal of ending up in some wannabe-humorous-but-ultimately-trite-and-out-of-place sight or verbal gag, most of which don't work particularly well in The Ugly Truth thanks to the film's inability to decide of it's sweet and innocent or raunchy and despicable. It certainly leans towards the latter in most every scene, and by extension any semblance of sweetness and sincerity are pushed by the wayside, a deathblow to any Romantic Comedy. On those rare occasions where the movie tries to shed its bad-boy attitude and revert back to genre norms, the damage has already become irreversible, and The Ugly Truth flounders even when it shouldn't.
In all fairness, there are fleeting glimpses of fun and a moment or two where the performances move past the mundane, but under the sheer weight of the missteps alone it's hard to find -- let alone appreciate -- the few things the movie gets right. Gerard Butler seems to have his character's self-confident and brash façade down pat, but when the movie tries to shift gears in the final act and paint him as something different, neither he nor the script pull it off with any sort of believability. Heigl and Butler show hints of decent chemistry; they deliver a few good tit-for-tat dialogue moments, though oddly enough the best comes before the two have even met and are arguing about the "perfect man" over the telephone via an on-air call-in show. A few gags work well enough; most Romantic Comedies tend to stray -- though with an innocent wink-and-a-nod -- into slightly more raunchy territory, but they never take the material too far. Several of the jokes in The Ugly Truth would have worked nicely in a lighter film, but again don't really add up to much when they have nothing to play against but more -- and more excessive -- of the same.
The Ugly Truth Blu-ray, Video Quality
One thing that's definitely not ugly about The Ugly Truth is Sony's gorgeous 1080p, 2.40:1-framed transfer. It's becoming old hat to review these pristine and film-like transfers from the studio, but it never gets old watching them. This transfer instantly transports viewers to the local high-quality multiplex thanks to its incredible detail, rich color palette, stunning detail, crisp definition, and nice sense of depth. As typical of a Romantic Comedy, the colors throughout take on a slightly warm tint, but they appear stable and pleasing to the eye in every scene. The Ugly Truth is abundantly colorful, and many scenes jump off the screen thanks to both the color reproduction and solid level of detail that's seen in practically every scene; whether the darker, bluish-gray interior of the television control booth or several bright exteriors, fine detail on every surface impresses a great deal. Black levels are marvelous, and flesh tones never veer too far from a natural shade, despite the warmth of the color palette. Rounded out by a very subtle but nicely-preserved grain structure, The Ugly Truth represents another fantastic new release from Sony.
The Ugly Truth Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Ugly Truth features a strong DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that's as good as the video transfer. Other than music, there's little more than dialogue and light atmospherics to be found herein, but each is so wonderfully presented that the general lack of a whiz-bang, action-packed soundtrack is soon forgotten once the various pop songs blare through the sound system. Music plays with fantastic power but also pitch-perfect clarity. It also comes with a good bit of bass in tow and a noticeable rear-channel presence. A club scene in chapter 13 -- featuring a song with a decidedly Latin beat -- excels with a wonderfully crisp delivery and a healthy low end that turns the living room floor into the dance floor. While several musical pieces represent the sonic highlight of the track, it's made complete by solid atmospherics in several locales. Ringing phones in offices, clanking dishes and silverware in a restaurant, and a light but impressive general din throughout does well to compliment each and every environment, including a baseball game scene in chapter nine that effectively places the listener in the bleachers. Rounded out by strong dialogue reproduction, The Ugly Truth delivers another superb soundtrack from Sony.
The Ugly Truth Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Ugly Truth features several extras. First is a commentary with Director Robert Luketic and Producer Gary Lucchesi that covers only select scenes: Opening Sequence, Mike's First Broadcast, Abby Meets Colin, Mike Coaches Abby, The Baseball Game, Vibrating Panties, The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Mike and Abby Dance, Mike's Disappointment, and The Hot Air Balloon. Next up is a collection of six deleted and alternate scenes (1080p, 16:22), two alternate endings (1080p, 5:12), and a gag reel (1080p, 10:22). The Truth is Ugly: Capturing the Male & Female Point of View (1080p, 12:48) features cast and crew discussing the "ugly truth" of the "battle of the sexes," juxtaposed with footage from the film and behind-the-scenes clips. The piece also briefly delves into a few traditional comments as the cast and crew also discuss the film's themes, various scenes, and more. The Art of Laughter: A Making of Hilarious Proportions (1080p, 15:53) looks at the comedic performances of the cast and the traits that make the characters funny. Also included is BD-Live functionality; Sony's "MovieIQ" that offers live, up-to-date details about every scene, including cast and crew filmographies and biographies, soundtrack listings, and more; and 1080p trailers for Julie & Julia, Black Dynamite, An Education, It Might Get Loud, Lorna's Silence, Angels & Demons, Coco Before Chanel, Year One, and Whatever Works.
Perhaps the highlight of this set is the first-time inclusion of the on-the-Blu-ray-disc digital copy that may be transferred from the Playstation 3 (PS3) to a PSP system. The digital copy's icon appears below the movie's icon on the PS3 XMB (Xross Menu Bar) and is accompanied by a written reminder that the digital copy must be redeemed by 11/30/10 and is not available on rental discs. Clicking on the icon signs users into the PlayStation Network where a prompt to enter the included code appears on-screen. Following code entry, the digital copy is transferred to the PS3 hard drive. Once the process is complete, an icon for the film will again appear under the "video" tab of the XMB. To transfer to the PSP, highlight the digital copy's icon, press the "option" (green triangle) key on the remote, and scroll to "copy." From there, users will be prompted to connect the PSP to the PS3 via a USB cable, and then to select "USB Connection" from the PSP's "Settings" menu in the XMB. Once the PSP is connected, users may need to once again select "copy" under the digital copy's "options" screen on the PS3 to begin the transfer. Once the transfer is complete, the film will appear under the "Video" tab of the PSP's XMB. When the movie plays, the "X" button and "start" button both pause the film; the "circle" button and the "select" button return users to the XMB; the "triangle" button reveals a series of options; the "square" button reveals a menu to select scenes from the film at either 15 second, 30 second, one minute, two minute, or five minute intervals; the "left" and "right" arrow keys on the directional pad fast forward and reverse the film in increments of 1x, 2x, and 3x speeds; the "up" and "down" arrows on the directional pad increase and decrease the playback speed from a range of 0.5 speed to 2.0 speed; and the "left" and "right" shoulder buttons serve as chapter skips, though there are no set chapters here, and the "left" button only returns the film to the beginning. The video quality, as replayed on Sony's new PSP Go, is excellent and surpasses the typical quality found on the iPod Touch, offering improved color, detail, and no apparent severe blocking. The audio is understandably puny when listened via the built-in speakers; headphones produce more volume, a bit more clarity, a decent sense of space, and strong dialogue reproduction, but there's not much to get excited about with The Ugly Truth; more action-packed films should be more telling. Also included is a traditional digital copy on disc two. Replayed on a Second Generation iPod Touch, the visual presentation impresses, delivering strong colors, wonderful detail, and a fine sense of depth. The soundtrack, too, is solid. Ambient crowd noise during the baseball sequence, for example, does a fine job of replicating the feel of the ballpark, and dialogue is strong and consistently intelligible.
The Ugly Truth Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A Romantic Comedy need not be meaningful but it does require its characters be affable and its story be charming to work, but The Ugly Truth instead goes for, well, the ugly, and the result is a movie that follows basic genre clichés but fails in its attempt to branch out and delve into raunchier territory that sacrifices the lighthearted innocence that defines the best the genre has to offer. Nevertheless, genre aficionados and fans of the film will love Sony's technical presentation of The Ugly Truth; delivering pristine visuals and a wonderful lossless soundtrack, not to mention a decent collection of extras, this Blu-ray is a beautiful thing.
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The Ugly Truth Blu-ray, News and Updates
• PSP Digital Copy Included on Sony Blu-ray Releases - September 29, 2009
Beginning with the November 10th Blu-ray releases of 'Godzilla' and 'The Ugly Truth', Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will include a digital copy especially for the PSP on select Blu-ray disc releases. The announcement comes just days before the release ...
• The Ugly Truth Announced for Blu-ray - September 14, 2009
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of 'The Ugly Truth' on November 10, day-and-date with the DVD. 'The Ugly Truth' is a romantic comedy about a romantically-challenged morning show producer (Katherine Heigl, '27 Dresses') who is ...
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