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C'mon Hollywood #72

11.04.2005

...Downey Jr. isn't 'all that'!
by JoBlo

I've been letting this shit slide for the past few years, but with the recent limited release of KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, I've been hearing more and more about how much of a "genius" Downey Jr. is as an actor, and after all these years of just "going with it", I decided to actually think that statement through and...well, I gotta say...I don't agree!

Don't get me wrong, I'm actually a pretty decent fan of Downey Jr. and a lot of his work, but to put him in the same category as other actors of his generation who have consistently proven their range over and over and over again, is just ridiculous.

I speak of Sean Penn. I speak of Ed Norton. I speak of Johnny Depp. These are actors who have proven themselves in their variety (and quality) of roles over their respective careers, that they can be called "geniuses" or experts in the field of acting. Downey Jr., on the other hand, well...okay, so the guy can play the fast-talking, smart-mouthed cute guy (either gay or hetero) with the best of them, but is he really that great of an actor? How many different types of roles has he played in his life-time? You look down his filmography at the IMDB and you'll note that the man really hasn't pushed himself to the limits all that much.

His most recent role in KISS, KISS is a perfect example of how people tend to exaggerate his talent. The man is decent in the film, but honestly, he doesn't have all that much to do, other than "be himself" and talk fast, act funny & cute and be "that guy". Heck, I got the chance to interview Downey Jr. last summer and guess how he came across to me: fast-talking, funny and cute. That's pretty much it, folks.

Yes, he was great as the lead in CHAPLIN, but even that role has been discounted by some as being more of a caricature than anything. So what's the deal with all the roof-raising and Downey Jr.? Well, my theory is that people are cutting him more slack than he deserves simply because he's been through hell and back over the past decade or so, with his "drug problems" and all.

Don't get me wrong, it's great that he's finally been able to break his nasty habits (although I'll be honest and say...it's about time!!), but I'm not going to balloon his talents as an actor simply because his parents were moronic enough to smoke joints with their kid when he wasn't even a teenager yet! There are people out in the "real world" with much greater problems and obstacles in their lives (boo-hoo, he was a rich boy who couldn't get enough of partying, coke-ing and partying some more), so I'm certainly not going to over-rate his talents as an actor simply because he's been able to beat the demons from his personal life.

And if it's not because of that, then I honestly don't know why anyone would compare this guy with the likes of Penn, Norton, Depp, McGregor, Cheadle...he simply hasn't paid his dues and doesn't deserve those accolades.

In his defense, he doesn't seem to be the one touting his own horn, but rather his co-stars/directors, who in every interview that they give, seem to raise him on a pedestal of acting greats. I think that it's because Downey Jr. is a great improviser on the set (a fast-talker, fast-thinker, if you will), so that makes everyone want to give him those props, but in terms of his actual film roles across his career...I don't think he deserves the praise at this point.

In the end, I hope that anyone reading this doesn't take it as a "cheap shot" at Downey Jr., since as I said earlier, I actually really do enjoy most of his work (even his coolio role in WEIRD SCIENCE), but I just think people should relax on the term "genius" in his regard, and stop talking about his seemingly endless bout with narcotics.

We got it. He had a big problem. He's resolved it now. Let him act.

Tags: Hollywood

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