Hate-Watching the Ugly Truth

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 27 2009 3:43 PM

Hate-Watching the Ugly Truth

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Manohla Dargis had a beautifully salty takedown of the new Katherine Heigl romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth , on Friday. She lambastes the writers, all women, for thinking up "this junk" in the first place, but adds that it's not surprising, because "One of the lessons of 'The Ugly Truth' beyond the obvious one that a desirable, desiring woman can never, ever, be happily single and sexual in modern Hollywood-is that holding to your hard-won ideals is of no consequence, at least when there’s a guy to be hooked."

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What's also not surprising is that the movie made a projected $27 million this weekend. It's the third largest-opening romantic comedy of the year, and its success makes me wonder: Why do women keep shelling out to see this junk? The movie was universally panned. Katherine Heigl is one of the most disliked actresses in the blogosphere. From the trailers , it was obvious that the movie plays on the most outmoded stereotypes (she's a priss, he's a pig, he teaches her how to have fun!).

I know why I shell out $10+ to see this crap in the theaters occassionally: because I enjoy a good hate-watch. But are there other reasonable explanations as to why women are seeing these shoddy, insulting rom-coms in droves?

Photograph of Gerard Butler and Katerine Heigl in The Ugly Truth courtesy of Lakeshore Entertainment.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.