So we can dispense with that notion right now.
Today, the LA Times posted an obnoxious, poorly-thought out piece on Box Office Sorority Sisters, claiming that with the moderate opening weekend success of 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigl had officially joined the elusive ranks of women who can open a movie on their own. This, as I stated before, is complete shenanigans.
There are sooo many reasons why 27 Dresses opened to nearly $30 Million over the 4-day MLK weekend. Just off the top of my head…
- The ad campaign that focused on the movie being from the writer of The Devil Wears Prada.
- The involvement of the far more awesome James Marsden.
- A relatable premise (no girl likes to be a bridesmaid).
- The fact that there hasn’t been a straight-up romcom in theaters in nearly a year.
- The face that there is NOTHING else for women to see in theaters right now.
- Men owed their girlfriends and wives a chick flick after subjecting them to four months of football watching.
- Like me, people were going to the movie solely for the purpose of making fun of Katherine Heigl.
And I’d like to point out that 27 Dresses has a 37% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not exactly the stuff of romcom glory (Juno, in comparison, is at 93% freshness).
So why do we all of a sudden think she’s a movie star? She wasn’t more than a piece of lawn furniture in Knocked Up. I’ve gone on record as saying she was the problem of the movie. Her “prettiness”, or what have you, completely derailed the plot; there was just no way that a girl like her would actively choose to stay with a guy like Seth Rogen. Maybe she wouldn’t have gotten a shmashmortion, but she wouldn’t have dated the guy. Also, the movie was overrated, and I could have done without the three close-ups of the crowning stunt vag.
Adding to this the fact that Heigl is currently KILLING Grey’s Anatomy. Her George-Izzie storyline single-handedly destroyed the watchability of last season and, barring the writer’s strike, would have probably side-tracked the current one. She’s the most grating, self-involved, smug, witless character on the show, and I LOATHE the Pompeo. Patrick Dempsey’s hair is even all “Cool it with the smugness, lady. You’re not that cute! Now where did my Personal Coif Attendant go?”
So where are her star credentials?
Are we going all the way back to her classic work in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, where she disappointed every male viewer by not following in the hallowed footsteps of Erika Eleniak’s gorgeous “popping out of a cake” tittyballs? Or the time when her brief thong flash in My Father, The Hero caused a 13 year-old The Jay to grudgingly sit through a Gerard Depardieu movie because there was no such thing as You Tube back in the day?
The fact is she’s only been likeable or even interesting twice in her entire career. First when she posed topless for a Maxim spread, back when that magazine meant something; and second, her strip foosball scene in 100 Girls, which led her character to mack down with pre-approved hottie Larisa Oleynick. That’s it. Those are the two moments. Everything else she has ever done is forgettable and worthless.
Moreover, opening a romantic comedy in January hardly warrants comparisons to Julia, Reese and Sandra. There have been plenty of It Girls who opened a romcom and were never a contender again. For example:
- Julia Stiles opened Save the Last Dance in January of 2001 to the same amount of money as 27 Dresses (more if you amend for inflation), and she can barely open regional theatre these days. She was the second lead of one of the biggest movies of 2007, does anyone even care if she’s breathing right now?
- Kate Hudson opened How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days to a cool $100 mil, but her combined B.O. grosses for The Skeleton Key, Raising Helen and Alex & Emma (in total: $26 dollars) seem to point to McConaughey being the key to the success. That’s why Fool’s Gold is gonna make a mint. People want to see his abs, not hers. God bless evolution.
- Lindsay Lohan opened Mean Girls and look what happened to her movie career. The drugs and the whoring and the Hilton did her in, but the godawful movies were the coffin she laid to rest in (unless someone out there thinks I Know Who Killed Me was a positive step in her career).
The fact of the matter is that there are very few women who can truly open a movie. This is the list:
- Julia Roberts
- Jodie Foster
That’s it. Everyone else has qualifiers to their successful openers (most of the time it’s due to their male co-stars). Let’s go down the list of the women the LA Times believes are in the “Omega Mega Bucks” sorority (cause THAT’s not setting women back a decade).
Julia Roberts: Pretty much retired. And she has nothing to prove anymore. When she puts out a movie, it’s an event, period.
Reese Witherspoon: Can’t open a movie. Legally Blonde was years ago, the sequel was diminished returns, Just Like Heaven tanked, Walk the Line was Oscar bait, Rendition bombed even with her on-set romance pub, and her current movie, Penelope, has been on the shelf for two years cause nobody thinks it’ll do any business. She’s a big star, but call me when her name and face open a sub-par dramedy above $13 mil.
Cameron Diaz: Aside from being successful at always looking like she just woke up from a three day coke bender, her movies haven’t done jack since before Tom Cruise went batshit crazy (can you even remember that far back?). Also, you’re not an opener when you’re doing romcoms with Ashton Kutcher called “What Happens In Vegas”. That’s just me being real with you.
Sarah Jessica Parker: Can’t open an equestrian show. Failure To Launch was the same as How To Lose A Guy…, the presence of Matthew McConaughey and a V-Day Release Date. Sex and the City will open big, but that’s a brand. Would you really see her in a movie if her co-star wasn’t Wooderson or the Sex girls? Me neither.
Drew Barrymore: If you’re goal is $50 million domestic, then Josie Grosie is your girl. But you gotta pair her with a cute boy to get it. Ever After was a loooong time ago.
Rachel McAdams: Can definitely open a movie… if she ever decides to make another one. Also, if she had starred in 27 Dresses, it would have beaten Cloverfield, and I would have already seen it twice. Warrants mentioning…
Jennifer Aniston: Please! Along Came Polly was Ben Stiller’s flick. The Break Up was sold on Vince Vaughn. Bruce Almighty was Jim Carrey’s show. HER movies, Derailed & Friends With Money, tanked. I watched her for free for ten years, why would I ever pay to see her doing anything onscreen (showing her boobies boobies boobies, notwithstanding)?
Angelina Jolie: Not without Brad Pitt.
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Not without George Clooney.
Halle Berry: Not without showing her tits.
Renee Zellweger: Not without Bitchface removal surgery. Or a British accent.
Kirsten Dunst: Not without Spider-Man. (Or her being executed on-screen.)
Orlando Bloom: Not technically a chick, but does have a lovely vag, I’m told. No matter, can’t open anything without Johnny Depp, anyway.
It takes years and multiple hits for a woman to attain true movie-opening power. Jodie opened Flightplan, a movie so bad that Jodie Foster would rather admit she scissors her life partner than talk about that flick. Could Heigl open a Flightplan? I think not.
Consider Katherine Heigl’s personality and persona for a minute. Would you really go see her next movie if it wasn’t released in January, where your options are her or a vomit-inducing monster flick that’s sold out? No, you wouldn’t. She’s not opening a dark drama without a bigger male star, or an in-jeopardy thriller (not if Ashley Judd has anything to say about it), the two other genres women tend to do well in. I wouldn’t buy her in a Sci-Fi blockbuster. And there’s eight-trillion other hotties I’d rather see in a Bruckheimer style action flick (Megan Fox, for starters). So what does that leave her? Romcoms? How many more of these are you gonna buy her in? One, two tops? She should ask Mandy Moore or J.Lo what that career path looks like.
The bottom line is that she got lucky with this one. It won’t happen again. So we, and especially the LA Times, needs to cool it with the STAR IS BORN talk. I can’t be convinced to think of Scarlet Johansson as a true movie star and her T&A is faaaar better than Heigl’s. Also, ScarJo never emasculated George O’Malley, ruined his marriage to Callie, and forced me to pray for more Pompeo screentime. Sigh…
Fucking Izzie Stevens!
(Follow me on Twitter @jasonamatthews)