Friday, August 06, 2010

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Christina?

Christina Ricci plays a dead girl in the horror flick After.Life (new on DVD). I'm not trying to be cheeky when I say that I wish her performance were more lively.


It's justifiable, as a characterization decision, to play this role like a corpse even before the death (for reasons you'll have to watch the movie to understand) but it doesn't exactly make for an exciting star turn.. Perhaps she was counting on her body -- she's quite naked -- to do the heavy lifting. Maybe Justin Long just wasn't the right scene partner? But even so. When will this girl get her mojo back? I feel like we almost got there with Black Snake Moan... but then. No. As child and teen stars go, there were few that felt more regularly inspired. She's adult-sized funny and showstopping in Addams Family Values, my choice for 'best in show' in the pretty formidable ensemble found in The Ice Storm and amazing (duh!) in The Opposite of Sex. But that's a long time ago now. Where'd that (cold) fire go?

Any suggestions for her career? Maybe she needs a fresh young auteur to find her a-MUSE-ing

24 comments:

stjeans said...

HELLO! The Opposite of sex? Monster? Buffalo 66? Pecker? Pumkin? I think your being a little unfair with Ricci...

Paolo said...

She was an unsung hero of the late '90s. But then half of her generation is anyway. Someone tell her agent to call Tarantino or to give her better adult roles.

NATHANIEL R said...

stjeans --- that's what i mean. just as she became an adult, the brilliance came screeching to a halt. Those movies were over 10 years ago.

p.s. i thought she was terrible in Monster.

W.R. said...

I actually think she needs someone with more experience/vision than the ones she's been working with. Someone like Sofia Coppola would probably be able to write a compelling complex character for her to play. With her big beautiful eyes and petite stature it's a wonder that Tarantino or Rogriguez hasn't cast her in one of their stylish action movies.

*SIGH* If only, if only. She still is my favourite actress, one who is terribly underrated. I just can't quit her.

Bia said...

I remember all the buzz she had when Buffalo 66 and Opposite of Sex came out, then nothing really happened. Still, she works constantly, so that's more than most. She'd be good on a cable drama, something highbrow like HBO or AMC.

steolicious said...

I think her problem is that she can´t find better roles. She would if she could. Maybe she just takes the best she can get...?

She was great (for me) in "Black Snake Moan". Unfortunately her last big gig in "Monster" wasen´t that good. It´s time for another big chance!

Cluster Funk said...

It appears she buckled, buying into Hollywood's sadistic standards of beauty, which could fuck up just about anyone, even spitfire-seeming non-conformists (Angelina Jolie included). If only Ricci had a steelier, Bette Davis-esque confidence, perhaps she would not soft-peddle her unique talents and persona. She's not Jennifer Love Hewitt!

A.R. said...

Yeah...I started realizing how boring she'd gotten around Monster. The main thing I think she needs is a really strong character to play, someone like Wednesday Addams or her role in The Opposite of Sex. Both are really strong characters with a dark/cruel bent that's actually interesting.
Her characters in Sleepy Hollow and Buffalo 66, also from her turn-of-the-century peak, are comparably bland and mostly romantic projections for the lead males, but Gallo and Burton treat her so lovingly, it works.
So...either she needs a really awesome director to bring out the qualities that make her interesting to watch (Coppola and Tarantino are great suggestions), or someone needs to give her a truly interesting role again. I want Ricci to succeed. She's so weirdly beautiful and the camera loves her, but... :(

Erich Kuersten said...

she only really shines when she's in that cruel nymph vein, she's the American version of Christina Lindberg - using sex more as a weapon of self-destruction than as a soul connection, which was why all her best roles have that enigmatic buxom wanton weirdo bent. It was like she saw Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice and Single White Femaled that shit. But sooner or later, you just can't get away with that anymore.

/3rtfu11 said...

Ellen Page stole her career. Short, quirky, intelligent, brunette, baby faced starlet – Hollywood like Highlander says there can be only one!

The Opposite of Sex (Oscar) subbed is an all time worst.

/3rtfu11 said...

The Opposite of Sex (Oscar) sub is an all time worst.

Kyle said...

The Ellen Page comparison is dead on. Christina Ricci could have easily slipped into that role in Inception and we'd all have been none the wiser.

I think it's time PT Anderson works some magic!

Terab04 said...

She's making her Broadway debut this fall. I know it's not film, but I think acting on stage will polish some of her skills and lead her to new opportunities.

Penelope went under the radar and was a very underrated film. She was endearing in it. I still think she's great.

OtherRobert said...

Ricci keeps choosing projects that fail her; she does not fail the project. I mean, she's as good as you could expect someone to be in Cursed, and a Wes Craven werewolf film sounded like a good idea, but everything went wrong after casting. Same with Black Snake Moan. Who expected the ending to be such a groaner after the film turned out to not be just sensationalism like the trailer? Ricci will have her time again.

Bailey said...

Something tells me not count this girl out permanently yet. She's been in a slump lately but I too think that is due to the limited roles available to her. She is not beautiful in a traditional Hollywood sense probably isn't offered a lot of starlet-y roles because of her quirkiness. She's kind of a specific talent, like Catherine Keener. When she works in a movie, she's amazing, but when she doesn't...she's pretty bad. However, I love her, her looks, and her edge, and she CAN play softer. Penelope was actually surprisingly great for a "pig nose" movie lol.

NATHANIEL R said...

Erich -- you're so right about the "cruel nymph" and technically she's not too old for that, so why isn't anyone giving her those parts anymore?

/3rtfull -- oh, maybe you're right. But they're so different tonally that even though i can see that, you'd think some people would still desperately want Ricci.

Bailey -- i guess i should watch that.

OtherRobert -- i hope you're right. i've been rooting for her since MERMAIDS of all things so I keep hoping. But I haven't been totally totally wowed since The Opposite of Sex and that was so so long ago.

MRRIPLEY said...

I aways thought that the monster supp role was an easy get and she blew it,theron was gonna tower over her but at least put up a fight,where was her inner wednesday!!!!

The Kid In The Front Row said...

I never know what to think about Ricci. On the one hand, I find her extremely annoying-- but occasionally, she's beyond wonderful.

So, really, I have NO idea!

Anonymous said...

I was just watching Now and Then the other day too! Talk about a guilty pleasure childhood movie...

Last year, I thought she was really cute in her bit part in New York I Love You but that whole movie was a mess so whatever.

I know it's probably just me but I loved her guest role on Ally McBeal back in '02. There was a bitchy part she sunk her teeth into.

Jordan Ruimy said...

Buffalo '66. The Opposite Of Sex. Enough Said.

Trevor said...

Television is where Christina Ricci needs to land now. She was great in "Grey's Anatomy" and broke out of her usual patterns well. I could easily see her headline a television series one of these days.

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -- i thought she was fun in ally mcbeal too. Though that's when one first noticed that she was trying to comform to current Hollywood beauty trends (i.e. emaciation) rather than her glorious round beauty. which was too bad.

she definitely lost some of her natural beauty when she tried to alter her shape. I thought she was good (Performance wise) in BLACK SNAKE MOAN but she would have looked even hotter (shallow but such things are important in certain roles) if she had weighed maybe 10 lbs more.

simon said...

:( I love her! After.Life was a turkey, and I don't have much hope for her next films listed on imdb-an Adam Sandler comedy (wtf?) and Bel Ami, with Robert Pattinson, but I will never give up hope. I thought she would have been great in Inception, and there are so many role that end up going to Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway and Sienna Miller etc that I wish Ricci could have grabbed instead. She's so great. I'll always be rooting for her. Hopefully one day she can work with Sofia Coppola, that would be amazing!

simon said...

Also, it's refreshing to me to see that there are still so many people who want to see her career take off in the right direction again! I'm not alone...