February 16, 2007

The Wee One: Can He Be Frank?

The new couple?

The original Joe and Frank in action
It's been obvious for months now that the Wee One is on a major campaign to win back his minions, the thousands of fans he alienated, starting with the Oprah couch jumping spectacle, and culminating in the verbal browbeating he gave Matt Lauer, with Brooke Shields as his psychiatric scapegoat. First up was the virtual duct taping of his piehole, with his new mouthpiece, Paul Bloch, quite sensibly telling him to deep six any discussion of Scientology. Second was to marry his dull as dishwater baby momma in that ridiculously overhyped and dismal wedding ceremony in Italy. (Could you have thought it was ever possible to make Italy look bland and boring? Well, congrats, Maverick, you did it) Next up is rehabbing his career. As much as I hate to admit it, because criticising the Wee One's phenomenally bad choices should really be considered sport at this point, Lions for Lambs is a good move. No new territory for Maverick, of course. He plays a politician. Blah, blah, blah. But it's a good move because 1) Robert Redford is set to direct and not only can the man direct a good film, most women love him; and 2) Meryl Streep is set to co-star and she is so talented that talent-by-association will definitely rub off on Tommy Boy. But for all his attempts at keeping in line, good old Maverick has just got to eff it up. Three words. The Hardy Boys.
70s teen idols, big hair and bad t.v.
I assumed this was a bad joke. Seriously, Tom Cruise playing a grown-up Hardy Boy? Please! The same Tom Cruise who will beat your ass in a court of law if you dare to suggest that he didn't keep his eyes above the neckline in the high school locker room? The same Tom Cruise who has never publicly displayed much of a sense of humor about himself, but rather a stony intenseness, that all is business. Ben Stiller, the other name attached to this project, I can see. Ben has made a career out of poking fun at himself, and suffering through pratfalls at his expense. But Jesus Christ Cruise? Would His Craziness have ever allowed getting his frank and beans caught in a zipper to be the butt of a joke? Would he have ever played a character named Gaylord Focker? Could he have poked fun at the industry which funds his Scientology classes, purification rundowns and OT levels? That is why The Hardy Men won't work. Not because reviving bad 70s television shows is stale and overdone. Because The Wee One is far too serious, far too intense to be comical. He can do Jerry Maguire because at its core, it was a romance story. It was a chick flick disguised behind such manly things as football, hockey and golf. And he didn't play Jerry to be funny. He played Jerry straight and that was what made it funny. (That and the brilliant casting selections of Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Jonathan Lipnicki). But Cruise trying to play it for laughs? Or, more painfully yet, for camp? A career-suicide mission for sure. The Wee One needs to stick with a drama or two, paired with proven talent who are talented enough to make his intenseness look like thespian abilities, and once he has chilled the icy waters of stay at home moms in suburbia, he can go back to making action flicks, with a romantic comedy or two thrown in for diversity.

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