Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Is Russell Brand an actor or just a box-office draw?

I like Russell Brand in small doses. The unlikely star of the #1 and #2 films in the U.S. (Arthur and Hop) is cinematic jalapeno, a personality to be used sparingly to give a kick to an individual scene. But if used liberally, he can overwhelm a movie and dull the taste buds.

Is Russell Brand an actor or just a box-office draw?

The electrified (rather than electrifying) Russell Brand.
The electrified (rather than electrifying) Russell Brand.

I like Russell Brand in small doses. The unlikely star of the #1 and #2 films in the U.S. (Arthur and Hop) is cinematic jalapeno, a personality to be used sparingly to give a kick to an individual scene. But if used liberally, he can overwhelm a movie and dull the taste buds.

Thought he was perfectly cast as Aldous Snow, the self-regarding rock star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but found Get Him to the Greek, in which Aldous was elevated from comic garnish to the main course, pretty unsatisfying.  

Brand, a self-described "S & M Willy Wonka," resembles a cross between Howard Stern and Mick Jagger and has the potty (and potty-mouthed) humor and affect of Nigel Tufnel, the rusting metalhead of This is Spinal Tap! Brand strikes me as an aging hippie's idea of a hipster, electrified rather than electrifying. Although Brand has the manic energy suggesting one who is always improvising, the only thing hipster about him is the low-slung trousers.

There are some personality stars -- Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin and Eddie Murphy come to mind,  who organically evolve into actors. The chances of this happening with Brand are slim. He seems to have only one arrow in his quiver. Your thoughts?

Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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