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Laremy Legel

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Member of the BFCA and OFCS, writer of criticism, noted interviewer, box office oracle, walker of dog named Bugsy, Qui audet adipiscitur.

Is Jason Bateman Picking the Right Roles?

Incredibly, according to the fans , the 42 top-ranked efforts on Jason Bateman’s resume are all “Arrested Development” episodes. That means nothing else he has done has matched, say his 40th best “Arrested Development” appearance. That’s amazing, isn’t it? And for any other actor, it would be a ringing indictment of a “one-hit wonder”. But for Jason Bateman? We’re so appreciative of the transformational “Arrested Development” series, he’s basically received a lifetime pass from all of us.

Still, let’s take a look at what’s going on with Mr. Bateman, because it just might be time to revoke that lifetime pass. This weekend sees the release of “Identity Thief” with co-star Melissa McCarthy. Now no one wants to judge a book by its cover, but the concept alone is massively shoddy. A guy tracks down the hilarious lady that’s stolen his identity? Then they fight in a comical manner! Why, we haven’t seen anything like that in the past 72 hours, have we?

That trailer is a legitimate nightmare. Did they even need writers for that, or did the Hollywood mad-libs computer auto-generate that script? Thankfully, some cursory research reveals the screenwriter also cranked out “Scary Movie 4,” “Superhero Movie,” and “The Hangover Part II” – so I take it all back, we’re in great shape! Looking further down Jason Bateman’s resume, you could very easily crush “Couples Retreat,” “The Ex,” “Extract,” “The Switch,” and “Hancock”. Generic comedies seem to be Bateman’s bailiwick, even if I was personally a fan of his work in “Horrible Bosses” and “Up in the Air”.

On the plus side for Jason Bateman, perhaps an actor like Matthew McConaughey could be inspirational. There was a period where McConaughey was caught in rom-com hell, though he also managed to do a few action films on the side. There are clear parallels to Jason Bateman, “Smoking Aces,” “State of Play,” and “The Kingdom” come to mind and show Bateman has the acting chops, though he’s clearly been typecast over the past few years. But who are we kidding, could you ever see Jason Bateman singing “Ladies of Tampa”? Is he off-kilter enough to show up in a movie like “Killer Joe”? It doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen, leaving poor Jason Bateman back in the vanilla comedy realm, a genre he should be better than.

In the end, Jason Bateman is probably doing what any of us would do. He’s taking the jobs that are being offered to him. But with the resume he’s building, he might want to sit the next couple plays out. The “Arrested Development” series hits the Internet airwaves this May, with the movie to follow afterward, and given some time, we’ll probably all forgive him anew.


Categories: Features

Tags: Identity Thief, Jason bateman