The Ugly Truth

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Ugly Truth Movie Poster Image
Predictable romcom mixes racy content, sexist messages.
  • R
  • 2009
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Although in the end the main characters learn that it's being yourself that matters, most of the movie revolves around sexist, stereotypical ideas of how a woman should act if she wants to "land" a man -- and how not to act if she doesn't want to scare them all away forever (it basically boils down to playing games and hiding all signs of your true personality...). Other choice bits of advice include never criticizing, laughing at all of a guy's jokes, being sexy but also aloof, etc.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both male and female characters are very stereotypical: The successful businesswoman loses out on romance and is written as a brittle perfectionist who can’t find a boyfriend (even though she looks like Katherine Heigl...). Her counterpart is a boorish, sexist, noncommittal guy. Naturally, they both really have hearts of gold and manage to soften as the movie progresses, but the depiction of dating/relationships is still shallow and often cringe-inducing.


Abby almost falls out of a tree and needs rescuing; lots of verbal sparring, with some yelling.


Although the movie is more talk than action, there's a lot of talk, with frequent use of sexual/body part words and euphemisms like "balls," "p---y," "tits," "blow job," "funbags," etc. and frank discussions about sex and attraction. After discussing masturbation with a male co-worker, a woman dons vibrating underwear and has an orgasm during a business dinner. Two other women wrestle in a vat of Jell-O in bikinis. There's also a brief shot of partial nudity (a naked man is shown from the back from the waist down), plus some passionate kissing and one scene with implied sex (including lots of noises).


Frequent use of everything from "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and "c--k" to "crap," "hell," "goddamn," "oh my God," "bitch," and more.


Pretty subtle placement of logos for a few products (BMW, for instance).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking (wine, mixed drinks), but the characters are all adults, and no one appears to overindulge.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this R-rated comedy is much crasser than star Katherine Heigl's last romcom, 27 Dresses. It's heavy on sexual references and scenarios (Jell-O wrestling, vibrating underwear, etc.) and light on sweetness. The characters are stereotypes until the end, and most of the messages about dating and relationships are shallow and, frankly, sexist (i.e. women should play games and hide all traces of their true personality if they want to "land" a man). There's also lots of strong language, from swear words like "f--k" and "s--t" to body-part terms like "balls," "c--k," "p---y," and "tits."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKatherinevans June 23, 2020


There are a few scenes with sex involved but not to much. One of the deleted scenes shows abbys skirt getting ripped off by a car and she just stands there in h... Continue reading
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byDesiree O. June 28, 2017
Teen, 13 years old Written byAsutinpoers June 23, 2020
Couple underpants scenes. Deleted scene shows abbys skirt get ripped and Katherine heigl is standing in her undies and it zooms in on her booty
Teen, 16 years old Written byJexicabestraterever June 22, 2017

What's the story?

Sacramento TV producer Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is a self-admitted control freak with exacting expectations for the man of her dreams ... which is part of the reason she's had trouble finding him. A handsome new neighbor looks like he could be the one, but her show's resident in-house boor, Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), thinks Abby needs to refine her act a bit first and become the woman of all men's dreams: compliant, non-threatening, and dressed for sex. Abby can't stand Mike’s caveman ways, but she's eager enough to win her dream guy that she's willing to give his tips a try -- especially since Mike appears to be the ratings lure her bosses have been craving. But, as it turns out, both Abby and Mike find their presumptions turned on their heads.

Is it any good?

Heigl and Butler have enough chemistry to make a semi-scorching couple, but the movie's pluses pretty much end there. Truth is, THE UGLY TRUTH is as predictable as a romantic comedy can get. Yes, the two stars can't stand each other when they first meet. And, yes, they're polar opposites. And of course you have to suspect that they'll still wind up in each other's arms by the film's end. For good measure, there's a dance number thrown in so that they can finally touch each other long enough to realize that they like each other.

And there are other problems beyond the story. Tone, for instance. Granted, one of the protagonists is meant to be piggish, but does the rest of the film have to lard it on, too? In order to reach Judd Apatow-ian brilliance, you have to do more than just pile on the crass (Knocked Up this ain't). Had The Ugly Truth committed to being a simple-but-entertaining escape, it would have fared at least as well, if not better, than Heigl's more teen-friendly 27 Dresses.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays dating and romance. Ask your teens whether this is what they think adult relationships are reallylike. Parents, take this opportunity to talk to teens about the danger of changing or hiding your real personality in order to attract someone.

  • Do the characters in the movie seem realistic, or are they exaggerated "types"? Why do so many romantic comedies have polar opposites falling in love? What's the attraction of that type of storyline? Is it believable?

  • Do movies make it seem like there's more difficulty communicatingbetween the genders than there really is? Are men and women really allthat different?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romantic comedies

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