Formulaic romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl and and Gerard Butler
2/5 Dir Robert Luketic US (15+) Katherine Heigl has been the best thing in many an American romcom; the frequently miscast Gerard Butler is often the worst. So the pair cancel each other out in this battle-of-the-sexes romp. Heigl is Abby, a single, uptight TV producer keen to boost her daytime show’s ratings. What she didn’t have in mind was a sexist relationship guru – but that’s who her boss hires. In swaggers Mike (Butler), a TV host well-versed in macho banter – think Tom Cruise in Magnolia, only less funny.
Initially, Abby’s nose is put out of joint, but she turns the situation to her advantage when Mike offers to help her seduce Colin (Eric Winter), the surgeon next door who happens to look like an underwear model. Echoing Cyrano de Bergerac, Mike watches Abby and Colin on dates, advising her through an earpiece. His gender-stereotyping advice and the fact that he is often proved right is pretty insulting to both sexes.
There are laughs: Heigl can pratfall with the best of them and the hosts of her show – a secretly unhappy couple played by Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins – bring dark humour to the table. Despite Butler’s dodgy accent and unappealing character, there is brief chemistry between him and Heigl. But blank-faced Colin doesn’t represent enough competition to make this a credible love triangle, so we’re left with a few giggles and the option to be offended by the gender stereotypes – if we can be bothered. Anna Smith