As a lead actor, Jason Bateman should be used to negative reviews. From his first starring role in Teen Wolf Too through his new film Identity Thief, his Rotten Tomotoes page has a lot of green splotches. The Switch, Couples Retreat, The Change-Up are all certified rotten. But does that mean he needs a better agent? Of course not. He's getting work, he's getting paid, and some of his movies are relatively successful. Even The Switch seems to have earned above its budget, surprisingly. And, to be fair, he produced his latest, as well as his previous negatively received effort, the documentary Mansome. Say what you want about him squandering his talent, but it's his choice and Identity Thief will probably make a good amount of cash this weekend.
So, let's talk about some actors who really deserve better roles. Paul Bettany, for example. Outside of his easy and likely lucrative gig voicing "Jarvis" in the Iron Man/Avengers movies, he's had a lot of clunkers. Back at the turn of this century, he was one of my favorites and I'd been expecting great things from him after A Beautiful Mind, Dogville and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. That's a guy in need of a new agent. And to be honest, his wife could probably use a switch, too. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Jennifer Connelly hasn't had a fresh-rated film since Little Children in 2006... and this is an Oscar-winning actress.
Of course, a lot of Oscar winners deserve better. Adrien Brody's name comes up a lot in discussions like this. So does Robert De Niro, though he's finally redeemed himself -- in the Academy's eyes, at least -- with Silver Linings Playbook. And now former top-tier stars are getting crap gigs, too, as we've seen recently with the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone (are they done as action leads?). Maybe it's really that hard to tell a good thing from bad in Hollywood. Sean Connery quit acting because, he admits, he couldn't see that Gandalf was a better role than Allan Quatermain. Meanwhile, we've got guys like Taylor Kitsch thought to be the next big thing, who have flop after flop.
Some other names I think are worthy of better things include Anna Faris (she's the ony good thing in The Dictator), her What's Your Number? costar Chris Evans (outside of Captain America he should be showing off his true acting talent), De Niro's barely there Silver Linings Playbook costar Julia Stiles (remember when she was the queen of teen Shakespeare gigs?), Emily Watson (she needs another Oscar-worthy gig) and another What's Your Number? guy, Andy Samberg (or he should just stick to SNL -- something realized with his surprise return with Lonely Island recently).
Which actor or actress is most deserving of a better career?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter:
Join the next discussion on Twitter by following Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) and Movies.com (@Moviesdotcom).