It's always interesting when a film gets universally panned by critics and yet makes a crazy amount of money at the box office. Sometimes this is because the film just had a big first weekend before anyone heard the word of mouth reviews, but sometimes it is genuinely because mainstream audiences loved it and ignored the critics altogether. The Ugly Truth is a classic example. It came out in July and got hit hard by critics, but it made almost $200 million dollars in theaters. Could it be because of the widespread appeal of stars Katherine Heigl and Gerald Butler? Or that sometimes critics can be snotty and expect romcoms to be more than they are? Whatever the reason, the film will most likely do just as well now that it is out on DVD and Blu-ray. It's not hard to understand why.
Abby (Heigl) is a control freak television producer who is intelligent, well read, elegant, and has an exact list of traits she wants in her ideal man. Her show is dropping in ratings and she may be in danger of losing her job. One night her cat flips the channel to a strange cable show called "The Ugly Truth" starring Mike (Butler). He tells women that men only care about their looks and sex, and to stop kidding themselves about the ideal man. Abby calls to argue with him, and she is surprised to find out the next day that he has been hired at her station to boost their ratings. She desperately wants to destroy this man who she thinks represents all that is wrong with the opposite gender, but he only seems to succeed more and more with every passing day.
A handsome man named Colin (Eric Winter) moves in next door and Abby knows he is The One. Mike warns that she'll never get him with her current attitude, and he makes a deal with her. If she does what he says and she gets Colin to like her, she has to be nice to him at work. If she doesn't get the guy, then Mike will quit. He sets out to teach Abby how to act and dress so Colin will like her, but naturally Mike starts to like her as well. Except he likes Abby for who she is, rather than who she is trying to be. Abby gets to know Mike more and realizes he's more than just a brutish pig, but she has the perfect man already. Why should she settle for anything else?
This is a classic romcom from start to finish. Boy and girl meet, they hate one another, they fight but are attracted, they secretly start to like one another, then something else breaks them up, and then they work it out in the end and kiss. Ta da. Rinse and repeat. The Ugly Truth doesn't stand out much, except that it is rated R so it is more raunchy than most and the characters openly swear and talk about sex. Also, the two stars have believable chemistry between them, and a good portion of the dialogue is smart and sassy. It may be contrived in terms of plot and sleepily satisfying, but that is all it intends to do. It succeeds in its genre. The only thing that felt like it went too far was the vibrating panties. It was over the top and felt like they were trying too hard to be sexy and funny.
The film on Blu-ray, at 1080p resolution and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, looks great, although this isn't a movie that necessarily needs such extreme detail. Where it certainly flourishes is in the colors, and that is important for the movie since there are scenes that really come alive with fresh and vibrant color. The dance between the two main characters is rich and sensual due to the lighting, and the bright balloon ride at the end is simply stunning. The sound is just as good, although there were a few times when the blast of the modern music over the scenes could get overwhelming. Still, it didn't obscure any dialogue or background noise in the actual scenes so it wasn't a lasting problem. Every word was clearly spoken, even in the cluttered scenes like the baseball game.
It comes with several extras, including two alternate endings, commentary on specific scenes with the director and a producer, a gag reel, a behind-the-scenes featurette about the film and one about the comedic style of the actors.
The Blu-ray comes with a direct digital copy on the main disc that can be transferred to the PSP and PS3 hard drive. Overall The Ugly Truth is exactly what you expect. It is a nice date movie without too much depth or lasting emotion. Fans of the film in the theater will have every reason to pick it up for their collection, especially since it looks great on the Blu-ray format. It is rated R and available on Blu-ray and DVD now.