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Katherine Heigl – Hot or Not?

October 9, 2011

Flavor of the Week?

I watched Knocked Up on E!  yesterday.  For its genre, the movie starts out strong.  I don’t get the impression that Apatow ever has a problem beginning a story.  Whether or not he can nail the landing, so to speak, is something else entirely, and I’ll get to that later.  The movie got me thinking about Katherine Heigl, who I’m on the fence about right now.  I like her, and if she can finally put the nail in Aniston’s coffin as the rom-com Queen, more power to her.  I think she’s likeable, she has a broad emotional range, she can act, but I’m not convinced she has the depth to break out of the type of films she gets cast in, especially now that she’s got about ten of them under her belt.  How many more can her career handle before she goes the way of the Cameron Diaz’s of the world?

Who advised her to accentuate the crows feet?

I want to think she’s better than that, but it’s tough to tell with an actress who’s been written into a corner the way she has, in films that, like Knocked Up, start off strong, but degenerate into something so hackneyed that you feel like an asshole for rooting for the film for the entire 3 FUCKING HOURS it takes to air on television.  I hated E!, I hated Apatow, I pretty much hated life by the time this movie finally wrapped it up with a grande finale we saw coming since the opening credits.  But you know what?  Still hated Aniston, didn’t hate Heigl.

Like most romantic comedies, Knocked Up relies on the affability of the cast, and themore we like them the less it matters what actually happens in terms of plot.  Like I said, Apatow covers his bases here, and he knows how to set up characters and conflict quickly and effectively.  Heigl’s character is an up and coming entertaiment news reporter, Rogan plays the clueless loser with a heart of gold.  Simple.  They have drunken sex and get pregnant, and now they need to navigate their shifting relationship as they prepare to birth and raise this child.  The middle of the film is dedicated to dialogue, mostly, and the interactions between friends and family, getting to know you, mild hijinks, and it’s very well done.  Heigl is convincing in her reluctance to come out to her friends as being in this relationship, she’s convincing in her distress, and in her vulnerability, and manages to carry the movie when scenes start to lag or rely on cheap, situational humor, which is increasingly often as the show wears on.  But nothing is going to carry this movie through its shallow, pasted together, pseudo-sensitive conclusion.  Filmmakers think that the audience won’t notice when they bail on the last thirty pages of their screenplay, and maybe a lot of viewers don’t know that they notice, but to me it’s the make-or-break difference between a There’s Something About Mary (Hey, Diaz had her day, not saying she didn’t) and a Leap Year (yeah, that movie happened).  What’s frustrating is that Apatow could follow through, he just doesn’t.  So one the one hand, he gave Heigl that break, but on the other hand, she’s been playing “almost memorable” ever since, and the deeper she digs that hole, the harder it is to get out of, if it ever even reaches that point.

So, Katherine Heigl, Yea or Nay?  Does she have what it takes to carry a quality film, or do you think she already caught her wave?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2011 4:04 pm

    Can I straddle the line? Can I say Nay, but I’m aware that she has a movie coming up that may change my opinion of her?

    In January of next year, she’s got a movie coming out called “One for the money” that I’ve seen the trailer for a couple of times and I have to say… it looks alright. I mean, if it maxes out its potential. it could be a game changer for her.

    Of course it could flop and or suck, in which case we’d all be damned to more of her inispid rom com drivel.

    • October 9, 2011 6:06 pm

      Just checked out the trailer, and I’m with you. Could be a game changer if they can keep it clever, but if they focus on that romantic angle, well…I’m pretty sure Jennifer Aniston (for fuck’s sake!) already made that movie with Gerard Butler.

      If they give her something to work with it might make her career, but the jury’s still out till then, and till then only. I mean, how many second chances does she expect us to give her?

  2. trixfred30 permalink
    October 10, 2011 12:57 am


  3. Anna permalink
    October 10, 2011 8:09 am

    Omg, Leap Year. Thinking of that movie makes me want to cry. If I didn’t constantly block its existence from my mind, I would’ve suggested that movie go on the “never should have been made” list. That is probably the most ridiculous and pitiful movie in recent memory. Though that movie Katherine Heigl made with Gerard Butler where he was supposed to coach her on getting a boyfriend or some shit was extremely terrible too. Life As We Know it was pretty stupid too. But I for one loved Knocked Up, but I also enjoy me some situational comedy, and I think they did pretty well in that movie.

    But anyway, I like Katherine Heigl, which is probably why I watched those sucky movies to begin with. I’m also a sucker for a good romcom (keyword: good), and she unfortunately hasn’t been in many. I really liked her on Grey’s Anatomy though, so I hope she can land herself some better movies. I think she’s got the acting talent, she just needs to be cast in a more kickass role. Her characters seem to be tragically vanilla. I don’t know if she’ll ever get a stronger role, though, because she’s got such a girl-next-door kind of look. Then again, so does Jennifer Garner and she landed Alias, so who knows! It’s hard to say whether she can pull it off if she never gets the chance.

    • October 10, 2011 8:29 am

      I forgot about “Leap Year” too, or it would have been on there. As it stands, all I remember is she was on a boat, then she was in a car. Then…true love or something? I didn’t make it past the thrilling “driving in a car” sequence.

      That Heigl/Butler movie I think is what actually inspired this post, though “Knocked Up” prompted it. I had been seeing a lot of Heigl on TV, so it got me thinking. Yeah, that movie was godawful, and if I hadn’t seen her in anything else previously she would have passed completely under my radar. For the record, I did enjoy “Knocked Up,” and probably would have enjoyed it even more without the intervening hour and a half of commercials. Where it started to fall apart for me is when they friggin’ break into some guy’s house and discover Rudd’s character playing fantasy baseball. Fantasy baseball, fine. Breaking into someone’s house to try to catch someone cheating? They took a serious departure from reality with that, in a film that I felt had stuck fairly true to human behavior. To me it was cheap writing for a laugh that wasn’t worth it, and Apatow is capable of better, as he had proven the entire film until then. And who the hell was looking after the two daughters with all this club-going, Vegas-rocking, and breaking and entering going on? It’s like the kids were taken out and dusted off for special occasions, then stuffed back in storage when they were no longer convenient.

      I think a kickass role is exactly what Heigl needs, or at the very least one that doesn’t revolve around a man. We’ll see what happens with her next film. I mean, she’s still got time.

      • Anna permalink
        October 10, 2011 5:44 pm

        Leap Year was basically about this pair of people who argued the entire movie and then decided they were perfect for each other and should get married. I think it takes the cake for the most ridiculous movie I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some ridiculous movies. I wish I’d turned it off at the thrilling car-driving sequence. Wtf.

        And yeah, that part was pretty ridiculous. But I don’t know. As improbable as it is, women do some crazy shit out of jealousy or suspicion. I mean, she stalked his emails. XD Realistically, she probably would have sat in the car outside waiting for him to come out. I definitely understand what you’re saying though. Sometimes writers manufacture something to make something else happen – in this case, it was out of a need to make this guy look like a bad husband while forcing some laughs. Whenever I notice it, I get so pissed off, especially when I know they’re capable of more. I notice it a lot more in TV shows, I think because you have more to reference when making judgements about the writing. For example, one of the series I was watching had these characters, extremely smart people who worked for the CIA, making horrible, stupid, bad decisions to create drama. It’s like the writers have this effect they want to create, and the cause comes later in the developing process, and it doesn’t fit at all, but it creates the desired effect, so they go with it. I always what to punch them in the face when this happens. (Just happened on another show I was watching earlier, hence this rant. :P)

        I agree with you on the loose ends too – like with who was taking care of the kids. It’s annoying when you’re left to wonder about these things. But then again, most people don’t pay attention or think about it enough to care, so they just leave it out.

        Anyway, I am glad that you enjoyed the film despite its shortcomings. 🙂

      • October 11, 2011 8:09 am

        Turning off bad movies is surprisingly a learned skill. You’d think it would come naturally, but I think we’re trained or something to be polite and listen to the whole thing. What we have to learn is it’s not necessary to cower in the face of our abusers, and also keep in mind that the abuse will not stop until one of us walks away, and it’s not going to be the movie.

        The scene was just really contrived. If they had gone over and sat in the car outside the house I would have been with that – that’s something someone like that would do. If she had gone alone and broken into the house (without degenerating into cheap hijinks), I could have been with that too. But for all three of them to forget the two (three?) children exist, pile into the car, and then not only trespass on this person’s property, but actually go inside and start poking around? Like I said, this is where Apatow really fell down because you’re absolutely right – it was a manufactured situation to make this guy look like a bad husband while forcing some laughs. What would have happened if he had let the scene stand on the strength of the husband/wife exchange afterwards, where she wants him to take her to the movies but now she doesn’t want to go? I thought that was an important moment: illogical but true and sad and still kind of funny? That could have completely happened if they’d just waited in the car and he happened to come out first, alone, then all these random dudes follow. You shouldn’t have to lobotomize characters to advance the plot.

        Haha, actually, I’m the opposite: when this sort of thing happens on TV it doesn’t really bother me. I think I just expect a lot less. Then again, I don’t watch a lot of shows, and if the pilot fails to draw me in, I won’t watch anymore. Even if I did enjoy the pilot I won’t always come back, because writing for television is by nature episodic, so a lot of the time I feel like I’m coming back week after week, but nothing goes anywhere. If a pilot doesn’t at least make the appearance of having an underlying conflict, I usually wind up forgetting about it. In the shows I do watch, I kind of like watching how the different writers characterize the characters, or how one will write in a plot element, the next will drop it completely, and then two or three episodes later another writer will pick it back up.

  4. October 10, 2011 8:55 am

    Pretty sure shouting “Boobs! Boobs and bush!” will prove to be her most lasting cinematic legacy.

    • October 10, 2011 3:15 pm

      A vote for yea, a vote for nay, and two wafflers still on the fence…

      (What, you don’t think The Ugly Truth’s timeless hot-air-balloon-fight/live-broadcast-love-confession will endure in our hearts forever?)

  5. October 11, 2011 2:14 pm

    As with all movie stars, it’s all about perception and Katherine Heigl sort of unintentionally steered herself into being that actress who seem to play the same type of character (the unlikable know-it-all career woman) in the same type of movies (mediocre rom-coms). Also add her off-screen persona which is perceived to confirm her as an obnoxious and ungrateful celebrity and she just doesn’t fit that description of “America’s Sweetheart” that people love so much.

    As of now, I would have hence to say nay. But by taking somewhat different roles that put her in a more positive light (as Fog mentioned, her upcoming movie), she could easily become make strides toward being a much more popular actress.

    • October 11, 2011 4:59 pm

      That’s an interesting insight – I didn’t know anything about her off-screen persona. With the right agent and professional choices, I guess you can overcome that to an extent, but it’s harder and harder to hide the fact if you’re an asshole in real life. I mean, look at Tom Cruise. Does anyone still think he’s a stand up guy? Not if the extras have twitter accounts! Which they do.

      That’s also true that actors are accountable for the roles they decide to accept. Maybe the offers aren’t exactly rolling in, but still, if Heigl doesn’t realize what rom-com after rom-com is going to do to her career then…well, maybe she should just keep at it, and let the intelligent, desirable roles go to intelligent, desirable actors. I think the current consensus is “One for the Money” is going to determine her future course. Now that I have a mental investment in the film, I’m looking forward to it though.

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