04 October 2007

An open letter to Ben Stiller

Dear Ben,

I want to like you. I've always kind of liked you. I enjoyed the Ben Stiller Show back in the day (even if you are partially responsible for launching Andy Dick upon an unsuspecting world). I loved Tony Wonder (I miss you still, Arrested Development). I very much liked Zoolander, Dodgeball, and of course the sublime The Royal Tenenbaums (although, truth be told, I fear my enjoyment of the latter two may have been in spite of rather than because of you.) So I say this from a place not of hatred or malice, but from one of wanting the best for you...It's time to make another movie.

And I know you have a new movie coming out. Tomorrow in fact.
The Heartbreak Kid. A Farrelly Brothers vehicle, with all that implies (don't even get me started on on those two.) I speak not of an actual new movie, but a metaphoric new movie. A different movie. Not the same movie you have now made more than ten times (a generous estimation, it's actually probably many more).

I speak of the movie in which you play a long suffering, neurotic, ineffectual man with a severe anger problem. Hey Ben...why so angry?

You were angry at Vince Vaughn in
Dodgeball and Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums. You were angry at Jack Black in Envy and at an old lady in Duplex. You've been angry in big hits (There's Something About Mary) and Frat Pack films (Anchorman). You always seem to be mad at Owen Wilson (Starsky & Hutch, Night at the Museum, Meet the Parents). You were really mad at that monkey (Night at the Museum). You were even mad as a guest star (Friends, the whole plot of the episode was "man, that guy Rachel is dating is really angry") You actually played a superhero who's superpower was getting angry (Mystery Men, he was called Mr. Furious for goodness sake).

Ever here of a thing called "typecasting," Ben? Here's what
Wikipedia tells us:
"Central casting often exhibits a pattern of placing an actor in subsequent similar character roles after his or her first success, especially if an actor is particularly well-received in that role by the audience or by critics. Typecasting happens to actors of both great and modest ability: an actor may become typecast either because of a strong identification with a particular role or because he or she lacks the versatility or talent to move on to other roles. Some actors welcome the steady work that typecasting brings, but in general it is seen as undesirable."
I'm pretty sure you're doing o.k. financially, Ben. In addition to this acting gig, you also direct and produce. You don't need to fret over the need for "steady work"

Perhaps your repeated performance of the same, actually quite-annoying-and-unpleasant-to-watch character is largely responsible for this dubious distinction (a trivia fact from your IMDB profile):
Holds a distinct Razzie Award record - nominated for most titles in one year. He was nominated in 2004 for Worst Actor in five of the six films in which he appeared: Along Came Polly (2004), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), Envy (2004), and Starsky & Hutch (2004). The only film he was not nominated in for that year was Meet the Fockers (2004).
I know you are yelling and fuming all the way to the bank, but you could do more. Branch out, dude. I'm not say you have to go all Your Friends & Neighbors or Permanent Midnight, but branch out a little. Stick with the Frat Boys or Apatow or McKay or whoever, just ask to play the nice guy, or the funny guy, or the happy-go-lucky neighbor guy. Eschew the angry guy, just once. See how it goes.

1 comment:

KMS said...

Also angry on Curb Your Enthusiasm, season 4, episode 2.