It’s the feel-good entertainment story of the summer: Three thirtysomething non-stars co-headline a low-budget R-rated comedy and improbably send it past $400 million in worldwide grosses, redefining their careers in the process. But it hasn’t been all puff pieces and Champagne floats for The Hangover’s Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms. There’s a dark side to their sudden Hollywood status jumps, and that dark side is all the questionable movie roles they either shot or signed on for, back before The Hangover was released and they had way fewer options.
Galifianakis had to wince his way through the promotion for G-Force, in which he plays the (human) leader of an elite FBI guinea-pig team. But at least that movie, capitalizing on moviegoers’ unexplainable unquenchable thirst for movies starring wisecracking animals, made a ton of money. Meanwhile, poor Ed Helms had to watch The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard — in which he plays a member of a boy band, complete with gelled hair and an unfunny fake single called “Doin’ It” — fail hard at the box office and even worse with critics.
And this weekend, it’s Bradley Cooper’s turn! His Sandra Bullock–co-starring romantic comedy All About Steve, out tomorrow, looks like something we’ll groan our way through on a flight to Tampa in about two years (although, we admit, we haven’t seen it, so it may in fact be Miss Congeniality 2 great).
The good news? It looks like Steve will mark the end of embarrassing pre-Hangover-agreed-upon projects for the fledgling superstars. Galifianakis’s slate includes downright promising Michael Cera comedy Youth in Revolt and the Jason Schwartzman HBO show Bored to Death. Helms was presumably too tied up with The Office to sign up for anything else (although, post-Hangover, he did land an awesome-sounding Civil War time-travel comedy). Cooper does still have New York, I Love You and Valentine’s Day to get through, but those are ensemble romantic comedies, so maybe he can just pay off producers to edit him out?