Flix Character Spotlight: Lucy in ’13 Going On 30′

If one were to Google “scene-stealing performance,” Judy Greer should appear as the first page of hits. Born and raised in the Detroit area, she’s been working steadily since the late 1990s. She gets the odd dramatic role here and there (The Village, What Women Want) and has worked a fair amount in television (Arrested Development, Archer, and Mad Love, which looks to be headed for cancellation).

But mostly she utilizes her talents to grab your attention in light comedy movies. It’s a definite talent, one that few have to this degree. Perennially cast in the best friend or supporting character role, she takes that type and makes it riveting. She brings a needed acerbity to rom-com fare like 27 Dresses (in which she co-starred with the perennially under-appreciated James Marsden). She has the distinction of being the only watchable thing in The Wedding Planner. She apparently also portrays the best friend in Love and Other Drugs, which I have not yet seen.


However, I’d like to give her props for her work in one of my all-time favorites, 13 Going On 30. Yes, this is a deeply cheesy movie, and the formula of the younger person trapped in an older body has been many times before. But somehow this one is fresh, and I think Greer is part of why. Jennifer Garner captures Jenna’s 13-year-old mannerisms and speech patterns perfectly, but Greer, as her grown-up best frenemy Lucy, is excellent. With line delivery ranging from deadpan (“You’re pregnant”) to sarcastic (“Oh no, not his thingy”) to snappy (“Jenna, if you’re gonna start lying about your age, I’d go with 27”), sometimes within the same scene, she commits cinematic larceny just about every time she appears. She also manages to make shallow, two-faced Lucy funny and very nearly likable until the very end. What could have been more of cardboard cutout becomes a very real person, similar to someone you probably know…especially if you’ve attended high school.

I don’t know if she’ll ever become a household name or carry a big action picture, or if she even wants to. I do know that I am interested to see the three projects Greer has in the can for 2011 and 2012: The Descendants, directed by Alexander Payne, starring George Clooney, due out December 2011; and two in post-production: Jeff Who Lives At Home, with Ed Helms and Jason Segel, and Playing The Field, with Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel.


What do you think of Judy Greer? Do you think she’s leading lady material?

Flix Character Spotlight: Neville Sinclair – The Rocketeer

A couple of days ago, I saw Jennifer Connelly in the red carpet of The Tourist premiere with her husband Paul Bettany. As you can see in the poster, Connelly and Timothy Dalton co-starred in The Rocketeer back in 1991, and now her husband is co-starring with Dalton in The Tourist.

It turns out this post has been in my draft folder since August, around the time when I read this Hero Complex blog post back in August titled The Rocketeer’ — a retro adventure that was ahead of its time. Apparently a theater in L.A. was hosting a special month-long Disney screening series at the time. Oh, how I wish I could’ve seen this one on the big screen.

I remember seeing The Rocketeer with my older brother when I was in high school. It had everything you could possibly want in a movie: comic-book style action adventure, espionage, romance and cool visuals. Based on a graphic novel, the story takes place in a few years prior to WWII in 1938 and focuses on a young stunt pilot Cliff, who stumbles onto a prototype jet-pack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero dubbed The Rocketeer. Of course things starts to go awry when the Nazis want the device for their evil plans.

Dalton_Rocketeer

Well, one of the best things about the movie is undoubtedly the deliciously charming baddie, Neville Sinclair. He is Howard Hughes meets Errol Flyn meets James Bond… played to perfection by Dalton. It’s hard not to swoon for his suave and sexy portrayal, in fact, he’s the one I couldn’t take my eyes off. This is a text-book example of a supporting character completely overshadowing the protagonist, played by boyish Billy Campbell. The Hero Complex article aptly described him as ‘sly and rakish’… and Shakespearean actor used that debonair sensibilities to the max in trying to seduce Cliff’s girlfriend, the aspiring actress Jenny (Connelly).

Director Joe Johnston (who’s currently working on Captain America) made a perfect casting choice in Dalton. I can’t imagine anyone else playing the role of a Nazi spy disguised as a swashbuckling movie star, inspired by the real actor Errol Flynn (apparently, an authorized biography of the classic actor painted him as a Nazi sympathizer – per Wikipedia). Sinclair is right up there with Alan Rickman‘s Hans Gruber as my favorite villains of all time.

Take a look below of a couple of clips from the movie. If you haven’t seen this one, it’s definitely worth a rental! Need more proof? Read Marc’s full review at GoSeeTalk.com.