The Ugly Truth

  • Review Date: July 24, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Predictable romcom mixes racy content, sexist messages.
  • Review Date: July 24, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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.

Violence

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

Sex

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).

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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."

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:July 24, 2009
DVD release date:November 10, 2009
Cast:Eric Winter, Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl
Director:Robert Luketic
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Comedy
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content and language

This review of The Ugly Truth was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written by4Spice June 15, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

good movie

good romantic comedy movie 15 and over for sex and language
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byNoFilth January 11, 2010
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

filthy language

Filthy language; highly inappropriate regardless of age.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 8 year old Written byNisha1 November 21, 2009
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Adult only - and only if you like sexual vulgarity

Really vulgar. Was actually pretty surprised at the level of crassness. Not appropriate for kids/teens of any age.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass