The new movie The Ugly Truth starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler (of the horrifically racist, fascist movie 300) is a rehashing of an old romantic comedy stand-by, the uptight career woman looking for love who falls for her smooth-talking, womanizing male co-star. Written by three women (proving sexism knows no boundaries under capitalism) the tired, rehashed plot reaches new levels of crass sexism. The movie is hyperbole at its worst, insulting the audience by force-feeding them wholly unbelievable and insulting caricatures of what “real” men and women are supposed to be.
Heigl plays a morning news producer who drives men away because of her demanding nature, while Butler’s character is a cable-access TV personality whose show is based on telling women “the ugly truth” about men, that they’re all shallow, sex fiends incapable of love and uninterested in any sort of relationship with a woman other than physical.
The movie is rated R for the unnecessary and copious amount of vulgarity that replaces any attempt at witty dialogue or character development. The Ugly Truth boils down to the lesson that women should be subservient to men in all ways: by making less money, wearing skimpy clothing, laughing at unfunny jokes and, most importantly, leaving their brains and hearts at home (and that men should look for and only find satisfaction in such women).
Like Sex and the City, The Women or Bride Wars, this movie wants us to believe that happiness really lies in vacuous consumerism and oversexualization. In the end the main characters end up together, but this union doesn’t come about because of some profound lesson learned about the importance of respect for each other, but rather Heigl’s willingness to be the objectified woman Butler’s character wants.
I went to see this movie only a few days after it opened and so watched it in a packed theater. The mix of people was fairly evenly distributed between men and women and their reactions were quite interesting.
There were few laughs from anyone (this may have been due in part to the movie’s hackneyed script) but there was a general air of disgust. More than one couple walked out of the film and of those who stayed many seemed uncomfortable or insulted. The man sitting next to me kept groaning and shaking his head. It seemed that no one was satisfied with this movie’s portrayal of men and women or the nature of their relationships, and why should they be?
The ruling class is constantly shoving sexist crap down our throats, utilizing all media at their disposal, but in recent years the level of filth the working class has been asked to ingest has worsened. Recent action movies like 300 and Watchmen fetishize sex and violence, but romantic comedies like The Ugly Truth are doing their part as we “laugh” along to women being treated like mindless sex objects and men being portrayed as soulless perverts.
Sexism is critical for keeping the bosses’ profits up and the working class divided. As the bosses’ economic crisis deepens they will have to rely even more heavily on sexism to keep their system running. Movies like The Ugly Truth show the degenerate nature of the U.S. capitalist class and its culture here in the waning days of the empire. The battle lines are clear: for the bosses there is sexism, racism and fascism; for the workers there can only be communist revolution!