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Review: 'The Ugly Truth'

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler star in this raunchy romantic comedy that plays along a predicable curve.

Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl star in "The Ugly Truth."

Saeed Adyani/Columbia Pictures/AP

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The ugly truth in the romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth" is that men and women, despite their warring mind-sets, are made for each other. Alert the media. An even uglier truth, though unintentional, emerges: Hollywood will do anything these days for laughs, even if means spackling a frothy date-night mediocrity like this one with hard R-rated humor. Again, alert the media.

On the other hand, minus the raunch, "The Ugly Truth," directed by Robert ("Legally Blonde") Luketic, would be even more formulaic and less bizarre. It's an oddity, a squeaky-clean "dirty" movie – no different, really, from any old Doris Day-Rock Hudson vehicle, except that any raciness that once was implicit has now become superexplicit.

Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is the overworked producer for the morning TV talk show "A.M. Sacramento." Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) is the shock jock who is recruited from cable against Abby's strenuous objections to boost the show's ratings with his daily chauvinistic rants about what men want and women really need.

Since it's clear these natural enemies will end up lovebirds, we wait, in vain, for some artful storytelling to ensue. But the screenwriters – Nicole Eastman and the "Legally Blonde" team Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith – don't do anything we haven't seen before, and better. Abby, the control-freak, messes up a blind date because she's ... overcontrolling. Abby, the successful career woman, has only her pet cat for companionship. Abby, the love-starved romantic, reluctantly looks to the macho misogynist for advice on how to land that good-looking physician (Eric Winter) who just moved next door. And so on. (There's even a restaurant scene that pilfers the "I'll have what she's having" moment from "When Harry Met Sally.")

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