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The Ugly Truth (I Watched It So You Don’t Have To)

September 9, 2009

Stereotypical controlling female meets stereotypical misogynistic male.  Madcap adventure ensues.  She changes herself to try to catch her ideal male, only to discover that underneath the polished exterior, he’s just as big a jerk as the other dude.  Other dude turns out to really be a nice guy beneath the rough exterior, loves her for who she really is, and thus is the Right Man For Her.

First off, this movie is very crude.  If it weren’t for the happy sappy ending, this wouldn’t dare call itself a chick flick.  The three ladies I saw it with are all far from wilting flowers of femininity, and we all agreed that it was rather crude.  There’s lots of cussing, plenty of “chicks are manipulative bitches, guys just want the poon,” and the vibrating panties clip on YouTube which got passed around is just one of the many painful sex antics the female lead is put through.

I have several problems with this movie, but lets start with the one that brings out the eye twitch.  The premise of the movie is that Uptight Female is a producer of a morning news show.  Asshole Male is brought on to spice things up, since the married couple who are the main news anchors just aren’t pulling in the ratings any more.  Now, at separate times prior to the arrival of the Asshole Male, both halves of the married couple express their dissatisfaction with the lack of sex in their marriage.  The wife even makes her remark directly to the husband.  Enter AM, who explains that their problem has to do with the fact that the wife is now making better money than the husband.  Her success threatens his masculinity.  She won’t “let him be a man.”  Once the husband is “allowed” to be a man, their relationship improves.

The whole problem with this is that it puts the blame for the relationship problems all on the woman.  The woman as the gatekeeper is in the wrong.  Even in the solution, there is still an implied subservience by the husband in that he needs her permission to “be a man.”  The wife a one point throws out the classic “What was I supposed to do, turn down the money?”  Of course not!  We’d never suggest that! No, no, no, no, no.  Yes.

What the husband really needs to feel like a man?  To dominate his wife sexually.  To be the aggressor.  There are a couple of background moments where the couple is seen carrying on, happy as can be with this new sexual dynamic.  But in reality, if the husband had pulled his head out of his ass, listened to his wife complaining about the lack of sex in their relationship, and realized that hey, she’s not denying him a damn thing, then maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t have had their little dry spell in the first place.  Yeah, he needed to be a man.  But not because *she* wouldn’t let him.  Nope.  He couldn’t be a man because *he* wouldn’t let *himself*.

Next up, we have the Ideal Man.  He’s cute, he’s smart, he’s successful, and apparently, he’s put off by a woman calling him up to ask him out on a date.  He loves that Uptight Female “doesn’t criticize” him, he puts up with some seriously manipulative bullshit (all orchestrated by AM, I’ll get to that later), and at one point comments that he likes her because he can’t figure her out, whereas he’s been able to figure out most of his girlfriends pretty easily.  The movie glosses over the fact that he can’t figure her out because it’s not really her.  She’s a puppet whose strings are being pulled by AM.

Asshole Male has Heart of Gold Syndrome.  Somewhere underneath that rugged exterior, there’s a hopeless romantic who just wants to be loved.  But he’s been hurt.  A string of Evil Women have broken his heart by lying, cheating, and manipulating him.  So what does he do?  He teaches an honest and upfront woman how to lie, cheat, and manipulate.  Also, Asshole Male insists that women shouldn’t “criticize” men because men can’t learn anything new.  They will never change, so women should change how *they* behave instead.  I think that the only way the writers could have crowbarred any more sexist stereotypes into this movie is if they gave Uptight Female a gay friend for AM to be homophobic of.

Finally, there’s Uptight Female.  Why, she’s so uptight, that she doesn’t even masturbate!  The horror!  Won’t it be funny when she uses a vibrator for the first time?  Wouldn’t it be even funnier if she was in public?  And someone else was controlling it?  And that someone else was a clueless, innocent little boy?  And Asshole Male noticed the boy playing with the controller and didn’t fucking bother to take it away because it’s more fun to watch a woman get humiliated in public due to having no control over her body?  Oh, the laughs!  Also, in order to snag the man who meets her very high expectations, she must lower herself to someone else’s.  UF spends the first few minutes of the movie being a strong (if somewhat neurotic) woman, and then spends the rest of the movie running around like a twit trying to be someone she’s not, even to the point of allowing herself to be fed caviar even though she a) hates being “fed like a toddler,” and b) can’t stand caviar.  Right up to the end, where we get our Moral of the Movie.

The Moral of the Movie:  Be yourself.  Except when you’re trying to catch a guy.  Unless the guy is a guy you’re not actually trying to catch.  Guys are all assholes and jerks.  Especially the ones who don’t *act* like assholes and jerks.  Except that sometimes, a guy who acts like an asshole is really trying to protect his squishy nougat center.  So while you shouldn’t try to change a guy, you should definitely give a guy a chance, even if he’s a jerk because maybe, just maybe, he might really be a nice guy after all.

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