Bridget Johnson

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Smart People Review


OK
In acting, chameleon-like versatility can be overrated. In Smart People, the principle actors are assigned roles right in their natural strike zones, and it's a pleasure to watch them swing away with ease. Dennis Quaid capitalizes on his natural late-career crankiness to play Lawrence Wetherhold, a widowed English professor with a perpetual sour look. His daughter Vanessa is a mouthy overachiever, which is the established domain of Ellen Page, whether her gift is configured through superhuman quippiness (Juno), insane manipulation (Hard Candy), or the ability to walk through walls (X-Men: The Last Stand).

Entering into the Wetherhold house, ostensibly to chauffer the belligerent prof after a seizure suspends his driver's license, is Lawrence's laid-back, semi-transient adopted brother Chuck. Chuck is played by Thomas Haden Church in a clear and mostly successful post-Sideways bid to establish future laid-back semi-transients as "the Thomas Haden Church part." Church and Page are especially fun to watch and, especially, listen to: Church's sort of deadpan surfer growl and Page's nasal precociousness in a vocal duel. That they recall their previous roles only hastens our desire to spend time with them.

Continue reading: Smart People Review

Ice Princess Review


Weak
Michelle Trachtenberg obviously hasn't read the teen star career-progression handbook. It goes: TV series, princess fantasy, teen sex comedy. Trachtenberg managed to skip the middle step on her way from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Eurotrip, but I guess at that point someone alerted the tween mafia, known in some quarters as the Walt Disney Company, because here she is, starring as Casey Carlyle, physics geek turned figure skater, in Ice Princess.

It's not a role that plays to her strengths. Trachtenberg is gawky, yes - but almost superhumanly so, when given the chance. She squeaks and quivers to the point of resembling a cartoon mouse; when her eyes widen in anticipation (or shock, or fear), as they often do during Ice Princess, it's easy to imagine that she's spying a tasty morsel of cheese (unfortunately, it's more difficult to imagine the movie as that cheese). Now that she's served her time as princess for a day, she should escape to good screwball comedy.

Continue reading: Ice Princess Review

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Bridget Johnson Movies

Ice Princess Movie Review

Ice Princess Movie Review

Michelle Trachtenberg obviously hasn't read the teen star career-progression handbook. It goes: TV series, princess...

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