Somewhere in Hollywood I believe there's a conference room that is used for one purpose: to completely deconstruct When Harry Met Sally (1989). The walls are covered with script pages, movie stills, charts, diagrams, lists of actors, character traits, keywords, jokes and many other things. Several times a year, some men in suits enter this room. These men can see and understand all the elements that made the movie successful. They understand that Meg Ryan's Sally was neurotic and tightly wound, and they understand that Billy Crystal's Harry was slightly crude (lovably so) and free-willed. They understand that Sally's fake orgasm in the restaurant was a huge crowd-pleaser.
However, they don't understand the imprecise factors, things like human interaction, and romance and chemistry, things that happen all by themselves during a lucky production and can't be planned or replicated. But they nevertheless cobble together a few rough ideas and greenlight the next romantic comedy. The absolutely awful The Ugly Truth is the latest result. Katherine Heigl plays the new neurotic, tightly wound heroine, Abby Richter, who is the producer of a "Today Show"-type morning television news show. Because of her overly-planned, risk-free programming, the show's ratings are faltering. One night she stumbles upon a cable access, love advice show called "The Ugly Truth" and immediately clashes with its slightly crude (lovably so) and free-willed host, Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler).