Jan 16, 2010
What has Bradley Cooper done for you lately?
Do you ever look for a movie to go see, realise you've seen the same actor's name poppng up again and again but can't remember when or why they became a star? You just woke up one morning and they were everywhere, like mushrooms, or moss. I have that with Bradley Cooper. Where did he spring from? Who voted him King of the Prom? Last year he had Sandra Bullock chasing after him in All About Steve, this year he has Julia Roberts hitting on him in Valentine's Day. I know he was in The Hangover, but that was just last year too: what did he do to win his current position as Hollywood's luckiest tyke? When did we get to cast our vote? I'm beginning to suspect a big case of the Ben Afflecks, wherein some goodlooking bozo sneaks into the paddock and stays, not by virture of the bond that springs up between him and the audience, but because studio heads are too scared to say he doesn't belong. I've long suspected that the star system, so hard to permate in so many ways, has a singular design flaw that is the result of Hollywood's innate inertia. Think of certain stars as like the toes on your feet. Nobody needs toes. We don't use them to pick anything up like our monkey forefathers. Evolution has long since moved on. But they stick around — why? Because they are not doing any harm. If someone were to be born without toes they wouldn't have any particular advantage over the rest of his toed friends and family. He would live his life, fending off school-yard taunts, seeking out open-minded girlfriends, before settling down with one of them. Maybe they would have 2.3 kids and one of them would have toes and the other one wouldn't. The one without would not have any special advantages and the whole evolutionary experiment thing would die out in a generation. That's Bradley Cooper. No audience ever hand-selected him the way they hand-selected Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts. And here he is acting opposite them, neither delighting nor offending. He's not doing any harm. Nobody can think of any good reason to get rid of him. And so for a few years he flourishes until eventually someone thinks to put him in a movie to see if people will come and they don't and that's that. I feel much the same way about the British royal family.