There is at least one small glimmer of hope for The Ugly Truth in the beginning: it will avoid becoming of “those” romantic comedies. Gerard Butler’s character Mike Chadway is ridiculously crude, planting the film into one of those fantastical romantic comedy universes where network TV would allow his type of shocking dialogue.

The idea of the film is about being blunt in regards relationships from both the female and male perspectives. Katherine Heigl is Abby Richter, Mike’s producer, and completely repulsed by his behavior. Of course these two completely incompatible, hopeless romantics were never meant for each other, right?

No, The Ugly Truth may have the guts to push buttons and discuss off-color topics, but it certainly will not avoid becoming a giant cliché. The start of the film makes you hope that the obviously predictable finale will take a different route, where the horribly contrived finish that brings the two main characters together won’t happen.

Nope, there’s a balloon festival where two rival networks happen to be shooting the same segment at the same time and two incompatible people working for those networks just happen to be there too. What a shocker.

This follows another terribly contrived scene, a corporate dinner, that shamelessly rips off When Harry Met Sally, although in a slightly more vulgar way. That is what Ugly Truth does well, offering some genuine laughs with its vulgarity (even if they are blatant rip-offs) in-between its stale story points.

Butler is the only one with any enthusiasm, delivering the “ugly truth” with a sly smirk, giving the film its only real energy. He is a jerk, who of course must be broken down by his polar opposite for that atrociously green-screened final kiss. That is his purpose in the role, hardly different from the leading man in “insert clichéd romantic comedy here,” exactly where Ugly Truth will fall once its initial sales burst wears off. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Movie]

Ugly Truth seems to be another film where natural looking cinematography is butchered by a digital intermediate decision. Deleted scenes on the Blu-ray show some wonderfully accurate flesh tones, yet the film is bathed in deep reds. Hardly anyone in this movie looks like they have been out of the bright sun for less than 10 minutes a day. That’s a shame, since the rest of this AVC encode is impressive.

Facial detail is solid, if a notch below top-tier. Black levels are excellent, and shadow delineation superb. A fine