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With Sandra Bullock's new role, hope sinks

June 7, 2010 |  5:15 pm

So this is what all the fuss was about?

When Sandra Bullock landed her first Oscar nomination, then her first win, for her performance in "The Blind Side" this winter, the speculation in Hollywood was that she could (and likely would) take on a meatier role. Could it be a character drama? A sly satire? Long seen as the ingenue who could handle mainly the commercial stuff like romantic and action comedies, Bullock finally had her choice of anything on the menu.

So when the news broke earlier today that her first role since the Oscar would be the co-lead in "Most Wanted," an action-comedy from Universal that will see her re-teaming with Ryan Reynolds in a story about a criminal (Bullock) and cop (Reynolds) on the run, shoulders sagged and eyebrows shot up. You get a magic ticket and this is how you use it? On a movie that puts you back squarely in territory of "The Proposal" (with which Bullock also starred in a high jinks-heavy situation with Reynolds) or "Miss Congeniality," another broad comedy with fugitive elements?

The whole point of doing a movie like "The Proposal" or "Miss Congeniality" is that you don't have to do another "The Proposal' or "Miss Congeniality." Certainly after a best actress win, you don't immediately go back to the  multiplex ghetto from which an Oscar had just helped you escape, right?

When we interviewed Bullock during Oscar season, she told us that she was intent on branching out. "I want everything. I want action. I want comedy. I want thrillers," she told 24 Frames. Reading this in retrospect, it's clear that she does want everything -- if by "everything" one means "everything she's done before."

Yes yes, we can hear you writing in already. Bullock can make whatever films she wants, actor self-empowerment and all that. And yes, of course she can. But why would she? If you've made a dozen movies in a similar vein, and the you have a chance to do something different, you don't go back to what you've been doing before, do you? Even Jim Carrey scratched that itch when he had the chance.

Bullock has been on a kind of PR re-positioning since the infidelity scandal of estranged husband Jesse James surfaced. Her strategy, as Moveline notes in this acerbically on-point piece, has been to acknowledge the scandal and then turn away from it with talk of some global disaster. It's kind of a brilliant play, since it changes the subject without seeming to avoid it.

Maybe this "Most Wanted" move is part of the same gambit, a chance to restore our perception of Bullock to a pre-scandal time. That's fine. The only problem is that it seems to restore her career to a pre-Oscar time as well.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in "The Proposal." Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

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Comments () | Archives (12)

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Let's not kid ourselves that "The Blindside" was high art. She was great in it, yes, but it was a drama on the level of well-done popcorn comedies like "The Proposal" and "Miss Congeniality." Good for Ms. Bullock to do a film she wants, rather than trying to please critics with a grab at more awards. What America loves about her is that she doesn't take herself too seriously. Maybe the writer of this piece should learn to do the same.

you know what? She's just adopted a child and learned that her jerk husband has been cheating on her. If she wants to do a movie that's comfortable and fun, lighten up. It's what she does best and what we love to see her in. Any Sandra Bullock movie is a good movie. Give the girl a break.

She's good at playing cute, nothing more. Allow her to be cute, and let other actresses tackle roles requiring real acting ability, and everyone will be happy.

No one except the LA Times is claiming that "Most Wanted" will be Sandra Bullock's next role. The writer of "The Proposal" sold a pitch. That's all. Who knows when the script will be done. Meanwhile, Bullock is free to commit to a project where the script is done, something that will put her back in to movie theatres well before "Most Wanted" is ready to roll.

Mr. Zeitcheck, please clarify. You are the only journalist claming that in "Most Wanted" Bullock is "immediately" going back into multiplexes with this role. Do you have information that other journalists don't have?

What America loves about her is that she doesn't take herself too seriously. Maybe the writer of this piece should learn to do the same. Ditto.
Ms. Bullock has already done a variety of other types of films..ie..Crash, The Net, Hope Floats. She is smart, works hard and has carved out a nice career in a tough business. I hope she will continue to expand the types of roles she plays, but I don't necessarily expect to see her go from A to Z in types of roles she plays just because she won an Oscar. And actually, I don't think that strategy would necessarily fly with the people who pay to see movies. Poor George Clooney keeps trying to take on the serious roles, but it doesn't seem to work for him. I wish Ms. Bullock continued success and look forward to seeing her in next role.

It would be great to see Bullock do a meaty role in something more substantial, but consider that other award winning/acclaimed actresses aren't exactly churing out classics either. Meryl Streep in It's Complicated & Mama Mia - Helen Mirren in a Nicholas Cage movie, Hilary Swank in Amelia. If America's Sweetheart does make Most Wanted - one could hope it would have wit, be well played and entertaining. It probably won't be......

Sandra Bullock has already established herself in her craft. She has entertained wide masses of people with her versatile talent. She has pulled herself up from a very tough and recent emotional experience. I have known those, who could not do this. In my opinion, she doesn't have to explain why or what she is doing! Give it a rest media!!!

I agree with most of the others wrote. I don't understand why an actor has to take a meaty role just because she/he won an Oscar. Did you expect she would take only meaty, critics-friendly roles for the rest of her career? And how have other past Oscar winners been doing? No light roles? I don't think so. I'm sure Sandra will do something different in the future as well as something we already know.

I couldn't disagree more. I love Miss Congeniality and I love The Proposal and I loved Two Weeks Notice. I actually was concerned that she WOULDN'T go back to romantic comedies after the Oscar win even though I enjoyed The Blindside. I'm glad she's doing what she wants and going for variety.

Also, I think she has excellent comedic timing and delivers in comedy which is something that a lot of people scoff at as being "easy". If that's the case than it doesn't explain why she always entertains me when other actors/actresses fall short. But I guess it comes down to differences of opinion in the end.

Can't wait to see the movie... I'm so excited to find out she's signed up for one! I wasn't sure if she'd wait a year or more with her baby.

Also, I thought she was absolutely classy with the way she handled the rumors and her first public appearances. She really doesn't have to answer to us and she isn't the guilty party.

Of course it's obvious I'm a Sandra Bullock fan and have been for years. She would probably have to slaughter little puppies or something for me to get mad.

She doesn't need your permission.

Just because Hollywood has an anti-comedy bias when it comes to Oscars doesn't mean Sandy shouldn't make them. As I like to remind people, Shakespeare spent half his life writing comedies.

nuh-uh, oscar don't surf.


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