Friday, July 24, 2009

"The Ugly Truth" about Katherine Heigl

What in the world does Terry Gilliam have to do to get "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" even screened in America?

Though I don't have to pleasure of being at the world's greatest geek fest, Mr. Gilliam was at Comic-Con yesterday for the first time, with hat in hand begging for even the smallest movie company to give him some kind of U.S. distribution. In what was about-an-hour-or-so show, he apparently showed a highlight reel/trailer that was, of course, heavy on the late Heath Ledger and the three men who stepped in to replace him, Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp and Jude Law.

And yet, at the end of the report I read, it said that the movie will get a few international screenings but, in spite of all this promotion, still doesn't have any U.S. distributor.

Now, I know Gilliam isn't perfect. He seems to more than a bit of an obstinate fool, and his last movie, "Tideland," was simply unwatchable (though I did soldier through to the rather painful end.) But does he really deserve this? I've only seen about 10 minutes or so of assorted "Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" footage, but it all looks pretty fascinating to me.

But before I got sidetracked by all that, this was supposed to be about Katherine Heigl, who though she is a rather seriously beautiful woman, has turned out to be at least as disagreeable than Mr. Gilliam on many occasions.

Her constant complaining about her character on "Grey's Anatomy" (which I don't watch) is well known, but here today it's about what she once said about Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up," which in movies anyway, pretty much made her career.

Waiting to get all she could from it before biting the hand that fed her, she went on to tell Vanity Fair that, "It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It was hard for me to love the movie."

Well, fair enough. It's certainly true that different people, men and women, black and white folks look at movies differently. Though I try my best to no longer live like that, I could certainly identify with the guys of "Knocked Up," and found Seth Rogen's trajectory, while perhaps a bit of a fantasy, a believable enough attempt (at least in movie terms) to finally become a little bit of an adult.

And besides, before I read what she had to say, I really liked her character and Leslie Mann's too (and just to take this to its further possible point, Charlyne Yi certainly seemed to be having as much fun as she could as one of the guys.)

But there's a bigger point here, and I'm finally about to get to it. Now, perhaps it's not the best-informed point since I won't have to so won't be going to see her new film "The Ugly Truth," co-starring Gerard Butler (I have no idea why, but every time I type that it first comes out as "Trugh" before I go back and fix it.)

Now, for someone who complains about being sexist, let's take a look at what her new movie is apparently about. As best I understand it, she's again a TV producer, this time for a station that hires Butler's character, an advice show host whose tips to women are as enlightened as this gem about pitching woo: "It's called a stairmaster. Get on it!"

And of course, rather than just being repulsed by him, she apparently enlists his help "Cyrano"-style to help her win the heart of a doctor and later, I'm going to have to assume, just ends up knocking boots with the creep instead.

OK, fair enough. In its defense, that really doesn't sound much more noxious than the plots of many "romantic comedies," but how in the world is all this garbage not sexist too?

Men are pigs. Women, if they work hard enough, can make them just less piggy enough to make them tolerable. With what I'm going to have to assume is about one-tenth of the laughs or the heart of "Knocked Up," it even kinda sounds like broadly the same storyline, sans the pregnancy.

The difference? Though I don't have the exact figure in front of me, I'd imagine Heigl must have made $6 million-$10 million for "The Ugly Truth," which I suppose would cloud my world view at least a bit if I had that much scratch too.

Well, enough of that. It probably isn't terribly professional to rant about a movie I won't see, but I don't get paid for this, and just wanted to let it spew. And I certainly have no beef at all with genuinely romantic movies - in fact, I love them. In less something comes up, I'm gonna sidle up the road and see "500 Days of Summer" with Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt this weekend in Atlanta, and I'm really looking forward to it. And if you somehow made it to the end all of this, please feel free to tell me if I'm just all wet about it, and have a great weekend. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

I won't go see The Ugly Truth myself, primarily because I have a big problem in that it plays on gender stereotypes (all men are pigs, all women want romance, so on and ad nauseum). It seems to me it is probably much more sexist than knocked up. Besides, I would think that Katherine Heigl wouldn't need help from anyone getting a date (of course, I realise that in and of itself is probably a sexist statement...).

Eric said...

hey Keith,
Could you ping me at weekendlites at Gee mail dot com.

Big Mike Mendez said...

Amen. I've been raised on TV and movies telling me that all men are lazy, ignorant slobs and all we need is to find a woman to make us decent members of society. Those female stereotypes she complains about run hand in hand with their male counterparts.

Chalupa said...

Dude, Tideland was more than hard to watch. I forced myself to make it through all the way too. Even though some of his recent projects have tanked, it still seems weird that he can't get US distribution.

Perry said...

Actually Heigl was asked in the interview about the portrayal of women, prompting her now famous comments. However, she also added that she hoped women would understand that the characters were exaggerated and it was those extremes that made the comedy. Of course people never report that or the fact she said many times how much she loved making it. But Heigl is outspoken so she is the latest actress to be the press punchbag.

Reel Fanatic said...

I suppose you're right, Perry, that I should have gone back and looked at the entire article again to put it in context .. I did read it in full when it first came out, but it has been quite a while

Chalupa said...

I thought she was pretty funny in The Ringer.

I just read Pajiba's review of The Ugly Truth and they ripped it apart.

cinefille said...

Newsweek has an article that gets right to the point. It's called "Why is Katherine Heigl So Annoying?".

Reel Fanatic said...

I'll certainly have to read that, Cinefille, though I obviously already have a pretty negative opinion of her myself

Watch Movies said...

I think Shw was bit funny in the ringer. I watched this movie last night. The movie was with some different story.