If you look closely, oh so closely, you can see Steve Carell in “Melinda and Melinda”. He appears for only two scenes and has barely any dialogue. And does anyone remember him in “Sleepover”? No, I thought not.
But then he did “40 Year Old Virgin” and, well, I loved that movie. Mostly for the combined talents of its entire cast and crew, but Carell brought it home. I’ve seen it a lot since last month’s first viewing, and I’m a fan of Carell’s.
So, I’m asking, I’m pleading: Please, Don’t let me Down, Steve.
I’ve been watching Steve since his days on “The Daily Show”; he’s been a real breakout from the man deadpanning in hilarious news reports, and it’s no big surprise he’s been a pretty big success.
His stint on “The Office” has also been followed even if I’m not a fan of the show. I just don’t like it. I know it’s garnered a cult following much like the original, but it’s just not as good as the original. It’s rarely funny, boring, trite, and just so damn predictable. The short run time of the original series worked for it, because had it run beyond two seasons, well, take a look at the remake.
But there’s Steve Carell, who I just enjoy in basically everything he does. He’s a lot like a newsman who just one day snapped and now just pops at every instance, and it shows in much of his work. He can steal scenes, he can chew the scenery, and his comedy niche is perfect. I’m a fan, and I’ve taken a mission in seeing most of what he’s been in.
He was utterly hilarious in the otherwise lackluster “Bruce Almighty”, and in spite of “Bewitched” being a purely awful film, his impression of Paul Lynde was priceless.
These day’s comedians take themselves too seriously. While Jim Carrey is a very good actor, I miss the old rubber faced goofball. Many comedians these days are dipping their feet in the drama pool, and steering away from the comedy. That’s not a bad thing at all, but I miss when comedy actors were comedy actors. Hell, even Ricky Gervais has decided to try drama and basically abandon any future comedy projects.
Why, god? Why?
There are so very few good comedic actors out there. Sasha Baren Cohen is one, Simon Pegg is another I hope breaks out in the US and shows us what comedy is. I am utterly ecstatic about “Hot Fuzz”; if “Shaun of the Dead” and “Spaced” were any indicators, “Hot Fuzz” is going to be the cop comedy “Starsky and Hutch” wishes it could have been.
Comedy actors are now doing drama, and then there are the comedies with just actors doing the same old thing. “The Wedding Crashers” was hilarious, but it was just more of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn being Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn for the millionth time.
And now Steve is in “Little Miss Sunshine” in a semi-dramatic performance. Watch it there, Steve. You’re on the right track, I’d hate for you to go into dramedy limbo. And then there was “Anchorman” which was a film of ups and downs, but Carell really did come out on top as Brick Tamland (“Loud noises! Loud noises! Loud noises!”). And he was a pure standout in “Over the Hedge” as Hammy. I loved the film, but Carell was just out there.
People like Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, and Steve Martin have really hit their mark and are just completely past their prime these days. Will Ferrell in particular. Here’s a guy who was one of the funnier cast members on the wretched “Saturday Night Live”, broke free from the show, and went on to do a lot of junk with interludes of pure comedy every so often. “Kicking and Screaming” just completely verified that he’s just not there, anymore.
In a world where the public has a very short attention span, Carell can fade from the spotlight easily. But if he keeps it up and works on it, he’ll be a comedy legend. He has the hit sitcom to fall back on, and stole the “Almighty” franchise soon to star in “Evan Almighty”. Not surprise he’d headline the sequel since he was basically the only funny aspect in that snore fest.
“40 Year Old Virgin” was just laugh out loud hysterical. He managed to play a 40 year old man, working at an electronics store, who is a virgin, and a comic book geek, and he played him with a dignity and charm that never turned the audience against him. He was pitiful, but never pathetic.
Carell played the character of Andy as a man comfortable in his body and his setting. He’s the nerd who doesn’t mind the fact that he’s a nerd, yet when he’s introduced to the adult world he fits in just fine. He picks up girls most times without a problem, and he gets in with the hot Elizabeth Banks and Catherine Keener.
Not to mention Carell was utterly hilarious. Is it any wonder Apatow seemed to let him improvise many of the scenes? By far, the waxing scene is my favorite of Carell’s showcasing, but I loved his delivery lines like “Is it true that if you don’t use it, you lose it?” His reaction towards the counselor’s abhorrence is gold.
Not too many comedy actors out there can garner my attention. But maybe it’s because people like Rob Schneider and David Spade are still lurking about. For now, Carell doesn’t really seem to want to be in our faces too much in terms of the tabloids and scandals, and I hope it stays that way. I’m a big fan, and I’ll watch whatever he’s in hoping he makes me laugh, even if the movie’s horrible. I hope he continues with a historic career. I look forward to his upcoming films.
I can’t wait to see him as Maxwell Smart. He’s going to be fantastic.
Keep it up, Steve. And please, don’t let me down.