The Ugly Truth
Composed By: Aaron Zigman
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In The Ugly Truth, Katherine Heigl is Abby Richter, a morning show producer whose search for Mister Right has been more like a hunt for the perfect man. When her bosses team her up with hardcore television personality Mike Chadway (Gerald Butler), Abby begins receiving instruction from her new partner, learning the ugly truth about what men want in a woman.
Classically trained pianist Aaron Zigman composed the soundtrack of The Ugly Truth. Beginning his musical career as a producer and arranger of such popular music stars as Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, Patti Labelle, Chicago, Carly Simon, the Pointer Sisters, Huey Lewis, Christina Aguilera and Seal, Zigman’s passion for orchestration led him to try his hand at composing concert works. Zigman’s first composition for film was the musical score of John Q. Since then, he has created musical scores for The Notebook, Alpha Dog, My Sister’s Keeper, Akeelah and the Bee, Step Up , Sex and the City and more.
Before I review the soundtrack of The Ugly Truth, I feel I should explain how I review soundtracks. When I receive a soundtrack for review, I generally look for two things: does the soundtrack fit the movie and is the soundtrack viable as a stand-alone album. In other words, does this soundtrack enhance the film at all and is it worth listening to separate from the film. Some soundtracks provide beautiful compositions that never really do anything to enhance the visuals of the films for which they were created. Some soundtracks sound great when playing along with the film, but simply don’t have stand-alone retail value.
That being said, when I sat down to listen to The Ugly Truth Soundtrack, I expected the lighthearted fare often found in the musical scores of comedies. I got what I expected…to the letter. Most of the tracks feature a sort of theme melody that I have been hearing in many a comedy soundtrack of late. The notes are short, sometimes played on woodwinds and sometimes on keyboard, in the following register: short high note, short high note, long lower note, short high note or ba, ba, baaah, ba. This is repeated numerous times throughout the numerous tracks - 35 to be exact.
There is another dominant theme in this soundtrack - a definite Spanish flare which perfectly represents the “tango” the two main characters are engaged in as they exert their wills upon each other while denying the “ugly truth” about themselves.
When you look at these two factors, you could say that the musical score does reflect the storyline and genre, but does it do it well? I’d say sort of - the tango-inspired tracks are great representations of the storyline, but the tired comedic track is just…well…tired. Too many composers are using it and it has to go!
As for the rest of the soundtrack, I found it very unfortunate that some of the rocking compositions featuring solid piano solos and engaging guitar riffs were way too short. You would find yourself truly getting into and enjoying a track when it would suddenly be brought to a halt. On a funny note, I actually thought that the CD had broken during Track 28. Cat Escapes is a truly sexy sounding track that gives you the impression that some loving is eminent until the music winds down to a halt, so literally that I thought the CD had warped until I realized that this was intentionally done to reflect the scene for which this track was composed.
Looking at this soundtrack from a stand-alone point of view, I would have to say that The Ugly Truth Soundtrack is an abysmal failure. When a soundtrack contains 35 tracks, it had better contain music of substance. Instead, this soundtrack contains numerous tracks that are barely 30 seconds in length. Why even bother placing these compositions on the soundtrack? There doesn’t seem to be a point. Just when you start to get into a track, it’s over.
As a whole, this soundtrack is not impressive enough to warrant the $15.00 price tag. To be honest, there aren’t enough tracks lengthy enough and enjoyable enough to warrant purchasing the entire CD.
To summarize, The Ugly Truth Soundtrack represents the movie, but in a way that is hardly original or exciting. This is a soundtrack that was more suited for use during the film, not as a CD for sale on music store shelves. I predict a long dusty life for The Ugly Truth Soundtrack CDs that even make it to these shelves. My advice - skip this one, it’s not worth the money or the time.