Every once in a while, America's community of film critics puts their heads together and decides to anoint a new star. It's usually a young actress, and she's usually working in a movie that in some way seems below her gifts — whether it's Amy Adams shining in the terrific but low-budget indie Junebug, or Rachel McAdams in the sappy The Notebook, or Emily Blunt being tart and awesome in the middlebrow The Devil Wears Prada. And it's happening to Anna Faris today, as nearly every review of The House Bunny, her fluffy new comedy, takes great pains to praise her performance to the skies, even as they often dismiss the movie. Can America's movie critics make Anna Faris a star? They're certainly trying!
Slate's Dana Stevens calls Faris "enormously gifted" and hopes that someone will "write her the role she deserves." The Times' Nathan Lee proclaims Faris "our reigning queen of intelligent stupidity" even as he offers the movie itself a shrug. The A.V. Club's Scott Tobias calls her "one of this generation's most gifted comediennes" but asks, "Can someone please fire Anna Faris' agent?" And LA Weekly's Scott Foundas goes a little Faris-crazy. "The movie is basically on one level," he writes, "and Faris on another — in that exclusive aerie occupied by Judy Holliday, Carole Lombard, Lucille Ball and a few other blissfully original comedy goddesses."
Wow! Is she really that good? Or are America's critics just desperate for someone to offer a fairly funny actress an actually funny movie? We quite like Anna Faris, but there's an element of frustration on the part of these critics in Faris's not-yet-great career that seems to manifest itself in slightly over-the-top praise. Hey, maybe she really is as good a comedienne as Lucille Freaking Ball. Or maybe, just maybe, Vulture buddy Anna Faris's dad sent everyone else fan letters defending his daughter, too.