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Movie Review

The Ugly Truth

MPAA Rating: R for sexual content and language.

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner

Extremely Offensive
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Primary Audience:
Romance, Comedy
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 24, 2009 (wide—2,700 theaters)
DVD: November 10, 2009
Copyright, Columbia Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures

Lust in the Bible

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Marriage in the Bible

Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Many people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?

Featuring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Kevin Connolly, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D. Goins, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins, Noah Matthews, Bonnie Somerville, John Sloman, Yvette Nicole Brown, Nate Corddry, Allen Maldonado, Steve Little, Dan Callahan, Tess Parker, Arielle Vandenberg, Rocco DiSpirito, Valente Rodriguez, Jamison Yang, Blake Robbins, Austin Winsberg, Tom Virtue, Adam Harrington, J. Claude Deering, Alexis Krause, Craig Ferguson, Caleb De Oliveira, Jade Marx, Lenny Schmidt, Mimi Michaels, Donnie Smith, Kate Mulligan, Earl Carroll, Marc D. Wilson, Nathan Potter, Jeff Newburg, Ryan Surratt, Vicki Lewis, David Lowe, Yolanda Pecoraro, Brooke Stone, Stephanie Mace, Bob Morrisey
Director: Robert Luketic—“Legally Blonde,” “21,” “Monster-in-Law”
Producer: Lakeshore Entertainment, Relativity Media, Kimberly di Bonaventura, Andre Lamal, Gary Lucchesi, Deborah Jelin Newmyer, Eric Reid, Steven Reuther, Tom Rosenberg, Kirsten Smith
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Abby (Katherine Heigl) is the producer of a tanking morning show in Sacramento. Realizing the desperation in the show’s situation, Abby considers putting her personal life on hold again in order to brainstorm for solutions. Her associate producer, and seemingly best friend Joy (Bree Turner) talks her out of canceling the evening’s blind date, which turns out horribly because of Abby’s controlling and anal tendencies…

Mike (Gerard Butler) has his own cable show entitled “The Ugly Truth.” Offering up his own perverse perspective on things ranging from women, to men and the relationship between them—Mike successfully manages to offend viewers and then take their calls—only to insult and belittle them more.

When Abby’s manager decides to offer Mike a position in an effort to boost ratings and essentially save their morning show, Abby finds herself stuck between her integrity and what’s necessary to preserve her job.

I am finding it really difficult to sum up, in a nutshell, how completely offensive this movie is. I don’t always refrain from seeing the more inappropriately humored films, and my tastes are not prudish in any way. To say that the sexual references, discussions and descriptions in this movie are constant would be an understatement. Vulgarity runs rampant, giving little regard to any other focus.

The offensiveness doesn’t end there, however. The very basic storyline of this film is so stereotypical and shallow. The scantily clad women are shown as brainless and willing to be treated like meat, while the career-driven women are shown to carry faux self respect beneath their controlling and self-focused exteriors. Men are painted in a hopeless light where there couldn’t possibly be any sincerity in their actions, as every single thing they think or do is ultimately a manipulation for sex. Love and marriage are painted only as self-serving decisions, with no other possibilities, to be avoided. Even when “love” does come around, it isn’t anything other than lust driven emotional attachment.

Personally, I find these ideas most offensive.

The very idea that love is something only existing as a part of a checklist for women, while men only care about satisfying their own lusts and desires is cliché and overly done. It’s nothing new. This time around the jokes are edgier, and the delivery is just a bit more crass, but it’s a story we’ve all seen before. It’s shallow, it’s one dimensional and it’s predictable. Most people don’t buy tickets to see films of the romantic comedy genre to find depth or conviction, but that doesn’t mean the audience wants to be treated like brainless numbers either.

None of this is to say that viewers won’t laugh during the film, because parts of this movie are indeed very fun. Comedy, yes. Romantic, no. There isn’t anything sweet or charming about any aspect of this story. It is not a good date film, a good chick flick, or a good movie at all, for that matter.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Before I saw the movie, I was very upset that my 19 year old son had chosen to see it. My son explained how it used offensive language, but in a funny way, so I went to see it myself. I was utterly amazed at how they actually made a point through the movie that the ways of life in which people do such offensive things is not a life that is really desired and happy. The theme showed the positive feeling of monogamous love at the end compared to lust and sex without love earlier. This is the way God wants us to live as Christians, loving each other as a couple. The main character is driven to find the perfect mate, according to a list of her choices for the perfect man, without regarding love.

The movie shows how men who have a lust for women are really unhappy. Women who strive to attract the lust in men in order to find a mate see how fake they are feeling about themselves. When they realize they are in love with each other, just because they enjoy being together, they have found true love, rather than lust. I attended this movie at a major college campus, and I felt it encouraged forming relationships of companionship, rather than merely for lust. Women do not have to look sexually attractive in order to be worthwhile, as the movie demonstrated at the end. I feel this movie was excellent for young adults in the dating age, especially. It compared lustful, sexual relationships to natural, loving relationships. It was a way to encourage young adults to form relationships with others through friendship without attracting each other sexually.

Most youth have a great awareness of all the negative language and attitudes in the movie, so that would not be a surprise to most. This movie showed how much more meaning there is when those attitudes are disregarded and instead love is involved. I think it encourages monogamy and looking for wholesome relationships.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kris, age 54 (USA)
Positive—I appreciate the review done on this film from your website, but I think she could lighten up a little. It’s just a perspective. It’s not a Christian perspective granted. It’s someone’s humanistic perspective, and taken as such, it gives an interesting peek into the psyche and inner workings of worldly males and females. Not all of them, of course, but every perspective is valid and holds some truth. That being said, I believe that many thinking adults will find the movie to be hilarious, as well as a bit sad.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Shannon, age 31 (USA)
Negative—Wow… this movie was full of swearing, crudeness, orgasms, talk of masturbation, sex, implied porn… need I say more?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Mark Hoppus, age 37 (Canada)
Negative—My girlfriends and I saw this movie just to have a girls night out. My friends are Catholic and I am Baptist, but none of us are prudes per se. We are also in a field/career where we study reproduction, physiology, and anatomy regularly. We are not easily offended. I found this movie extremely offensive with the way women were treated and spoken of. Women were relegated to the stereotypically archaic position where they are only viewed as objects of pleasure rather than human beings with minds, goals, and abilities.

Men were portrayed as mindless cavemen who are unable to control themselves and their desires. Relationships were labeled as selfishly unfulfilling societal necessities. While parts of this movie were funny, I could not overlook the belittling of women.

The move quality was also very poor. Overlooking all profanity, sexual references, and brief nudity, the story line simply did not flow. The photography and scene order was stilted and jumbled. It was often difficult to find the importance of several scenes. The only positive comment that I can give this movie is that I liked the soundtrack. However, even the music did not fit the movie.

I was surprised at the choice for a movie from Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. They are both very talented actors and definitely far better than a movie as “The Ugly Truth.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Erin, age 21 (USA)
Negative—This film was filled with not just sexual innuendos, but out and out sexual crudeness! I like Katherine Heigel, so I went to see the movie. I was very disappointed that she would participate in such a vulgar display. It could have been a cute movie.

The story line was a very familiar one as done by Doris Day, Goldie Hawn, Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, and the like—boy and girl disgust each other only to eventually fall in love. But this movie came very close to porn with the sexual conversations. One comment by the male lead went something like, “every guy looks at you just thinking about sticking his ‘d…’ into every one of your orifices…” There were many other comments just as offensive. Katherine used the “f” word and “cock” numerous times.

I would like to send the message to Hollywood that couples can actually date and not immediately hop into bed together; and that people actually converse without using curse words and crude language AND that people of the opposite sex don’t always discuss their sexual performance with everyone! Do not go to see this movie. The only redeeming thing I can say about it is that in the end the characters realize it’s important to be the person you really are and not pretend to be somebody else.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Janie, age 55 (USA)
Negative—My wife and I went to see this movie with another Christian couple and were soon very sorry that we did. From the beginning, this movie was an offense, and I strongly believe that most Christians today would object to the language and principles asserted in this movie.

This movie used a trashy delivery of crummy ideas, thinking it would be funny. Well, it certainly was not funny to me, and long before this movie was over, we got up and walked out on it. The previews of this movie were not telling of its disgusting perverseness. Had I known the true content beforehand, I would have seen something else and really enjoyed the evening.

I find it difficult to believe that Katherine Heigl would make this kind of move. Further, I will now be avoiding movies, which feature Gerard Butler in leading roles. Don’t waste your time or good conscious on this movie. I spent nearly $20 for tickets and felt it a shame that refunds were not available, after all, it was almost like false advertising.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Gary, age 43 (USA)
Negative—If you are a person that is religious, you will hate this movie. I hate this movie because it did everything that the Bible talks against. I was embarrassed. I was with my company party at the movie. I could not believe that they let us see this. This should have been XXXX rated.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Terry, age 42 (USA)
Negative—Looking to relax for the evening before beginning a week of work, a friend (female 60) and I (female 55) went to see “The Ugly Truth” tonight, as we were familiar with both the female and male lead. What a disappointment! I figured as a romantic comedy that it would be predictable; however, what I did not figure on is just how crude and tasteless it would be. Disgusted, we walked out after approximately 30 minutes. Fortunately, although not able to get a cash refund, we were able to get 1 pass each for another film which we plan to use at a later date, hopefully to see something good. In my opinion, “The Ugly Truth” about this movie is that it is a must NOT see!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Karla, age 55 (USA)
Negative—I walked out of this movie because every dialogue was about sex. It was disgusting, and I am sorry it took me as long as it did to walk out. It could have been a cute plot about a guy helping a girl get another guy but, for me, it was ruined by all the sex. There really is more to life than sex, though our world doesn’t seem to realize that.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Nan, age 47 (USA)
Negative—My husband and I saw this as a “date movie”, after a couple of other Christian women I know said it was not a Christian film by any means, but funny. We were bored and disgusted and walked out after about 30 min. The entire theatre was silent, the only laughs were in the very beginning few minutes, and after that couples were all leaning away from each other and seeming to be offended by the characterizations displayed. I liked both actors, but that wasn’t enough to watch this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Karen, age 44 (USA)
Negative—My Husband and I went to see this movie. I have to begin by saying we have been married for 36 years, have 2 grown children and 5 grandchildren and I have never been so offended by a movie in my entire life. I was totally embarrassed to be sitting in mixed company watching this movie, not to mention the complete embarassment to my witness for Christ. We only stayed for the first 20 to 30 miniutes of the movie before asking for a refund. I have to be honest in saying that was much too long. I am really confused how someone can make movies with such great moral content as the “Love Saga” movies and go so opposite with something like this.

I don’t mean to be ugly to Katherine Heigl, I love her in everything else that she has done, but I am worried about her moral integrity and apparent disregard for her fans opinion of subject content. The content, subject and language was very offensive to me. I do not consider myself to be a prude and I know this may seem radical to some but this should prove how offended my husband and I were. I will definitely do extensive investigation before seeing another of her movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Jaynie Gray, age over 40 (USA)
Negative—It’s awful, even as an atheist, liberal “enemy,” I thought it a hateful film that was offensive to just about every one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Luke Davis (atheist), age 24 (UK)
Comments from young people
Positive—Ok, yes, this movie was offensive, and did have some swearing, but, beside all of that, the movie was the funniest I’ve seen all summer long. I can see why a lot of people who commented on this movie gave it a negative, because of all of the crudeness in the movie, and I have to admit there was “a lot” or talk about masturbation and orgasms, but I must say this movie was very very funny.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Tom, age 14 (Canada)