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Also opening: 'The Ugly Truth,' 'G-Force' and 'Orphan'

'The Ugly Truth' is nothing new

The ugly truth about romantic comedies is that too many are the same rehashed outline: Boy meets girl, each swears off the other then surrenders to inescapable love in the last reel when it's nearly too late.

The latest example is appropriately titled The Ugly Truth (R), with Gerard Butler (300) and Kathleen Heigl (27 Dresses) waving their gender banners in another battle of the sexes. Heigl plays Abby Richter, a TV morning show producer who can't land a man. Butler plays her newly hired correspondent, Mike Chadway, who claims to know what women like Abby do wrong romantically and brusquely offers advice skirting sexism.

Abby thinks Mike is a jerk, and he won't disagree. But he offers to help her flirt with Colin (Eric Winter) with a side bet: If his tricks to make her irresistible don't work, he'll quit the show. Game on, and all bets for a surprise ending are off.

The Ugly Truth was screened too late for Weekend. Look for a review Friday on Etc, Page 2B, and at entertainment.tampabay.com.

Great big voices; little bitty stars

After last year's Beverly Hills Chihuahua became a minor hit, Disney figures any pets are ready to be movie stars. Even guinea pigs and hamsters.

G-Force (PG) casts the furry critters as international rodents of mystery, foiling a plot hatched by an evil billionaire (Bill Nighy) to conquer the world through household appliances. I'm guessing at least one G-Force member has a close call in a microwave oven. The surprises in G-Force are the actors willing to speak off-camera for the digitally animated animals: Oscar winners Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz, indie icons Steve Buscemi, Jon Favreau and Sam Rockwell and TV star Tracy Morgan. Apparently the recession is hitting Hollywood harder than we think.

G-Force wasn't screened by a Times critic.

Not much hope for this 'Orphan'

Let's see . . . we have a predictable romantic comedy and a silly kiddie flick opening Friday. What are we missing to make this movie weekend less special?

Oh, yes, the horror flick with a creepy child causing a supernatural ruckus.

Introducing Orphan (R), starring Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, a child adopted by John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Kate (Vera Farmiga), whose biological child recently died. The loss left Kate emotionally fragile, so when she gets suspicious of Esther's odd behavior, John thinks it's just another delusion. You know Kate's right or else there wouldn't be a movie.

Orphan wasn't screened by a Times critic.

The Ugly Truth | R

G-Force | PG

Orphan | R

Also opening: 'The Ugly Truth,' 'G-Force' and 'Orphan' 07/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 5:30am]

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