|Grant and Rogers in Monkey Business|
This is speculative, I admit, but look at the comedies made by the superstar actors of today. Meryl Streep makes Florence Foster Jenkins, a film about a high-society dame who aspires to be an opera singer, but totally can't sing. Tom Hanks makes A Hologram for the King, based on a capital-L Literary work by a major best-selling author, Dave Eggers. George Clooney makes Hail Caesar!, a movie notable as much for its evocation of studio-era Hollywood as anything else. Sandra Bullock makes Our Brand is Crisis, a picture with strong political themes. Matt Damon makes The Informant!, a brainy satire from an acknowledged auteur director, Steven Soderbergh.
|Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins|
Is it possible that once certain actors achieve a certain level of prestige, they turn their backs on low comedy? Hanks appeared on a weekly TV series in drag and made goofy comedies like Bachelor Party and Dragnet before he started winning Oscars. Will Smith starred in an equally silly, fish-out-of-water TV show before he became Mr. Action Hero. Remember when talk show hostess Whoopi Goldberg made movies like Jumpin' Jack Flash and Burglar?
|Matt Damon in The Informant!|
I can't say this trend bothers me much; this is more of an observation than anything else. Modern movie stars will gravitate towards the kinds of films that appeal to them (and that will make money, too; let's not forget that). Voice-over work in animated films is a safe way to get in touch with their goofy side, but that's not the same thing. Ultimately, making a fool of yourself in front of a camera is an act of bravery. Not everyone can do it... but hat's off to those few who can.