Saturday, March 19, 2016

I demand a recount

Jennifer Love Hewitt can do no wrong.

This is a simple fact, easily proved with graph paper and a lead ball on a string.
After all, who else could turn a project like The Tuxedo - inept chauffeur gets mistaken for a superspy and saves the world with the aid of a futuristic jacket that enables him to defy gravity and fight off all attackers - into a surefire Saturday night favourite, simply by having her character wear a pair of sexy specs? ("Hewitt is incredibly obnoxious..." - Leonard Maltin)
Who else would not only cheerfully accept the offer to play Audrey Hepburn but would come out swinging with so fabulous an imitation of her voice that it's now difficult to watch any Hepburn movie and not imagine what it would be like with Jennifer doing it instead?
Who else wields the cinematic chutzpah to make you seriously contemplate giving over 0.0000032594 of your expected lifetime to a live-action version of Garfield?

And yet, despite all this, despite Heartbreakers ("wonderful performance by Hewitt's breasts" - Leonard Maltin), despite the romantic and clever If Only (filmed in London, like Sliding Doors only better), despite Shortcut to Happiness (a remake of The Devil and Daniel Webster, in which she plays the part Walter Huston essayed in the original), despite even the fact that she was once photographed on holiday playing tennis in a bikini and platform shoes, there are people in this world who enjoy nothing better than taking a pop at her.
I even discovered - gamely enough via her own website - that she is, statistically-speaking, the world's worst-reviewed actress since 1985 (this according to someone's idea of a website called 'Rotten Tomatoes'):

Hewitt has the rare distinction of never having made a single "fresh" (above 60 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) film. Her average score of 18.9 owes to such duds as Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (7 percent), I Know What You Did Last Summer (35 percent), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (7 percent), and both Garfield movies (15 percent and 11 percent, respectively).

Because it measures reviews, this is all pretty misleading of course.
After all, by the same statistical method, the best actor and actress for the same period are those screen giants Daniel Auteuil and ArsinĂ©e Khanjian. The best American actor is John Ratzenberger, who is a terrific actor actually, but obviously makes it to the top of his tree because he had the sound financial sense to get his voice in every Pixar movie, not because he was magnificent as Cliff in Cheers.
Mike Leigh, meanwhile, probably isn't even his own mother's idea of the world's best director, but critics love to pretend they enjoy his silly films, so there he is too.

And since when did critics know anything anyway?
I thought that nobody could ever rival Fay Wray as a horror film heroine - until I saw I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the sequel in which she gives, if anything, an even more impressive performance. Remember the bit where she almost dies in a self-tanning machine? Suddenly it was 1932 again, and Fay was still in the wax museum, and the rest of the twentieth century was just a madman's dream.
And what about her English accent in The Truth About Love? Didn't it just make you want to buy her a puppy with a ribbon tied round it? And the film was shot in Bristol for goodness sakes! Was Bullitt shot in Bristol? Was Midnight Cowboy shot in Bristol? Was Return of the Jedi shot in Bristol?
I think you'll find the answer is in every case no,

Like almost all of you, I expect, I own a copy of her book The Day I Shot Cupid, a kind of self-help dating guide cum autobiographical scrapbook, written in aphorisms that remind the reader irresistibly of Nietszche. "I really do think that both sexes are completely nuts and beautiful," she tells us fairly early on.
I read it straight through, twice. I even read the bit that's for female readers only ("the section where we truly bond") in which she speaks frankly about her varicose veins. It's a self-excoriating nightmare trip through every failed relationship Jen has ever had, and no detail is too revealing. She even confesses to the time she "spent three hours making his and her toiletry kits" and "never heard from him again." I now know that Jennifer collects miniature books, loves monkeys, gets turned on by office supplies and wears a tiara in the bath. And I'm assuming you all know about vagazzaling and don't need me to bring you up to speed there.

Now, for some reason, the book is not available in Britain and has to be ordered via Amazon, but this is not exactly difficult, and certainly not an excuse for not doing so. If you live in America it's even easier: simply stroll into your nearest Wal-Mart, or K-Mart, or K-Wal, or whatever it is you call corner shops over there, and pick up a copy fresh from the shelf. You won't regret it.