"Robert DeNiro and Rocky and Bullwinkle"
—Jeff and Megan
"In 1956, a film called The Iron Petticoat was released, starring the astonishing team of Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn. An updated riff on Ninotchka, it was written by Ben Hecht, who had his name removed from the film after Hope's TV writers had re-worked it. The film is caught up in rights conflicts and seems to have dropped off the earth, but in 1976, Leonard Maltin managed to get it freed for his American Comedy festival at the Museum of Modern Art. It is all one would imagine it to be. Hope and Hepburn play right past each other, and the only surprise is that Hope appears more comfortable than Hepburn, whose Russian accent leaves everything to be desired. I only hope that a Criterion Collection DVD is forthcoming."
"I'm sure there must be single case anomalies that are worse, but a special prize for inducing a whole genre of mismatch must go to Audrey Hepburn—with Bogart in Sabrina, Cooper in Love in the Afternoon, and O'Toole in How To Steal a Million. All these films are attempts to make canonical Audrey "ingenue/rom.coms." That universe needs a pretty bland male lead to be in orbit around Audrey, and that's simply not in the cards for, especially, Bogart and Cooper, who of course end up seeming like they've strayed in from another soundstage. The O'Toole case is a little different—O'Toole doesn't fit, but at that point in her career AH can't carry off the AH role so she doesn't fit either. The movie's a catastrophic failure because, as it were, it's an AH ingenue/rom.com which conflicts with the underlying Audrey subgenre at both satellite and central gravitational positions. Note: Charade doesn't seem to me to be an attempt to make a straight Audrey-ingenue/rom.com and so avoids these problems."
[I'm still processing the satellite/central gravitational thing, but you're right about Charade. It somehow manages to squeak by—maybe because we root so hard for Grant to get away with it at his advanced age. Which brings us to:]
"The first thing that came to my mind was a couple of the later Fred Astaire vehicles, Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron. Astaire looked like the kind of lecherous older man such attractive younger women would surely have steered clear of. But May-December pairings have always been the stuff of Western literature and drama, because that was considered normal in this society—as it is in many others."
"Every time I think of Barbra Steisand and Nick Nolte 'making love' in The Prince of Tides it makes me want to throw up."—Leslie Olsson
[Streisand was cited by others, among them Jeffrey Davis, who went so far as to say, "Barbra Streisand and any other human in any live-action movie except All Night Long." I love All Night Long, but I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near a set with Babs and the notoriously prickly Gene Hackman. Indeed, the director, Jean-Claude Tremont, never recovered from the experience. But Streisand can mix unexpectedly well. She did great with Omar Sharif and Robert Redford—who, as Pam Watson pointed out, rarely connects with anyone, except Paul Newman.]
"Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt in The Tuxedo—I didn't see it, but do I have to?"
[Not without anesthesia]
"Richard Gere and Winona Ryder in Autumn in New York—I didn't see it, but DIHT?"
"Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey in The Wedding Planner—Saw it. She was working hard to project P. Diddy or Ben or whomever into this wooden opposite."
—Justine Emma Barron
[Well, she didn't have chemistry with Ben in Gigli, either. With the magnificent exception of George Clooney in Out of Sight, J. Lo has never connected with anyone on screen. Especially:]
"Ralph Fiennes and Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan. Fiennes was visibly in pain, trying to act with a co-star who did not understand that misty brown eyes and wet lip gloss does not automatically give you depth. ... A worse pairing? Jennifer Lopez and Jim Caveziel in Angel Eyes. Misty, earnest brown eyes matched with misty earnest blue ones. Lots of furrowed brows, whispered dialogue, a climax of sound and fury, signifying an absolute chemistry vacuum."
"Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor in Superman III. What were the producers thinking, casting a comedian known for controversy both on stage and off (and who, by the way, released an album called Supernigger) opposite the clean-cut comic book hero in a children's movie?"
[That was yet another of Pryor's skeeredy-cat "coloreds." What a bummer that one of the greatest comics this country has ever produced played so few parts in which he was allowed to be wild and super-aggressive.]
"Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut. Every scene they were in felt forced and weird—like watching an exercise from acting class. Colin Farrell and Rosario Dawson in Alexander. He forces himself on her, yet she looks like she could break him in half."
"Surely the horrifying pairings of Joan Plowright/Queen Latifah in Bringing Down the House and Judi Dench/Vin Diesel in Chronicles of Riddick are deserving of a mention. Watching Joan Plowright in the former is enough to move a grown man to tears."
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