Saturday, December 18, 2010


One of the least bearable "types" in US film acting is what I'd call the Jack Black stock.  I think I've only found pleasure once in the performances of Mr. Black himself - in Shallow Hal, where all of his bad qualities as a type are brought out explicitly in the narrative and directed against him (and then, in truly Farrelly fashion, embraced in a sincere, sentimental humanism that is still light years ahead of most of the Hollywood game).  When you see the style deployed by the guy in this beer commercial, don't you want to wretch?  (Maybe you also want a cold one; that's understandable.)  This is all unfortunate for yours truly because I do enjoy dumb, puerile comedies.

But bad things can often be fertile ground for good things.  Out of the whole Jack Black phenomenon - if it can be called that - there has emerged Chris Pratt's turn as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation (NBC).  He plays a rock-n-roll man-child - immature and affectedly casual.  The acting requires time to work, to notice the levels at which Pratt is performing Dwyer's own performance.  Pratt's Andy is a remarkable comic portrayal of the Jack Black "type," but given fuller dimension - one needs a script to spell out confusion, guilt, or pathos for Black.  With Pratt, it's already built up in his eyes and in his body.  He stiffens & puffs up - like a child imitating an adult - when he's rewarded with authority or responsibility.  He can only pretend maturity in most cases.  This arrested development is played for laughs in any individual moment, but taken cumulatively it becomes touching.

(Plus, Pratt is Anna Faris' beau.  That is one fine comedic couple.)

1 comment:

Andy Pratt said...

Hi Zach
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