Tale as old as time … Beauty and the Beast; Beauty referring to attractive actresses, Beast their ability to actually do more than pose and pout. This list looks at some of the more prominent ladies who get by on their looks and whose mental pools seem to lack any depth. The focus is on those who at least peripherally attempt to be taken seriously, so Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra and Kim Kardashian are out. Also, let it not be said that some very beautiful women are also brimming with talent, like Emmy Rossum, Amy Adams, Rachel Weisz, Kate Winslet, etc., etc. There are, however, flip sides to every coin … and these don’t add up to much.
10. Kate Beckinsale
It's with no small amount of shame that I place Ms. Beckinsale on this list. While she does have a few independent and British features that play to her strengths (Laurel Canyon, Snow Angels, Serendipity, The Golden Bowl), people mostly know her from the Underworld franchise or Michael Bay's opus to WWII, Pearl Harbor. Her image is definitely sexy, all that leather and latex doesn't hurt, but no one leaves the theater expecting she can do much more than fit into the costumes and look alluring. Perhaps it's my hormones or maybe I'm being naive, but she's at an acting crossroads and it likely will be up to her to choose projects with more integrity, or risk rising on this list in the future.
Yes, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted in a nice performance. But riddle me this, what’s the difference between any of her characters in the Tomb Raider franchise, Wanted, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, The Tourist or Salt? Oh, and you can’t say “name”, “costume/eye patch” or “weapons”. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Although her early career was dotted with interesting choices that played to her sexuality but allowed for real development, Angelina Jolie has by and large let her roles become caricatures of the same thing over and over again. You don’t cast her because it’s a challenging role; you cast her because the script calls for an “Angelina Jolie” type.
If one were looking at accolades and certain critical perspectives, this would seem to be a misnomer. However, trying to determine exactly why some people think Nicole Kidman is worth any of the praise thrown her way is a bit like trying to fold a normal sheet of paper more than 7 times: nigh impossible. While some point to movies like The Hours or To Die For (the closest I’d come to giving her praise), there’s a heap of other examples like Days of Thunder, Nine and The Peacemaker that make trying to defend her a losing cause.
She may have started off as a sexy ingénue but right about the time she was wrapping up things on TV's Grey's Anatomy, Katherine Heigl started to become the poster girl for most of the worst romantic comedies in the last few years. She flashes her smile and acts ... well, like every other part you've ever seen her play ... and audiences who forgot to switch off their brain are left woozy and confused. Spoiler Alert: Whatever rom-com she's in now or will be in soon: terrible, just terrible. (Fun Fact: One could replace “Katherine Heigl” with “Jennifer Aniston” and Grey’s Anatomy with Friends and no one would notice.)
She was propelled into the limelight thanks to Interview with the Vampire, a string of young adult/teen fluff followed and she’s now getting cast in films made by overly pretentious auteurs like Sofia Coppola and Lars Von Trier. It’s been an interesting trajectory of a career and while I applaud shifting genres, I abhor having to watch her “act”. Outside of comedies like Bring It On and Drop Dead Gorgeous, the Dunst persona simply feels haughty and abrasive. And do I really need to remind people of the hilarity that ensues when she tries to act scared/happy/sad/angry, or worst of all, when she tried to sing in any of the Spider-Man films? I didn’t think so.
5. Cameron Diaz
There are two reasons to dislike The Mask: It's not funny and it introduced Cameron Diaz to the world. Since that time, her most notable achievement has been getting Ben Stiller's "hair gel" pasted into her locks while the normal result of her "acting" is the same desperate, ditzy mess over and over again. If I had a time machine, I'd go back to 1994, find the people responsible for Diaz' big break and convince them it was a terrible idea. How you ask? By showing them The Mask.
Calling out “Love” is almost too easy. From the outset, her career was tied to the effectiveness of her braziers. Finding a role after Party of Five that wasn’t largely dependent on low cut tops and required little to no dynamic range is sort of like searching for a needle inside of a haystack completely devoid of needles. The success of The Ghost Whisperer kept her out of feature films (thank you television) but whenever she busted out into something awful like The Tuxedo or the Garfield movies, it was a reminder that this is an actress best left on the small screen.
No one in their right mind would try and defend her performances in Wild Things or The World is Not Enough (who thought casting her as a nuclear scientist would go unnoticed?). What fun can be had in any of those films stems from laughing AT her, not WITH her. The only tolerable performances come from playing into her public perception (Undercover Brother, Starship Troopers, Drop Dead Gorgeous). While my own morbid curiosity with awful films feels a sense of gratitude towards her, that instinct is never mistaken for esteem.
Now, there are always exceptions to the rule and it’s sad for talented women like Jessica Lange and Jessica Chastain to even be marginally associated, but when looking for untalented eye candy, three names almost instantly come to mind: Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Simpson (listed alphabetically and by number of offensive performances). Each of these three Jessicas walk on-screen and butcher any semblance of development that might have existed in the script, simultaneously making millions of people’s hormones fight against whatever part of the brain evaluates talent. If the three of them were ever cast in the same film, I’d recommend investing in one of those doomsday bunkers and stocking up on clean water because the end wouldn’t be nigh, it would have happened yesterday.
1. Megan Fox
It’s really hard to say any other actress even comes close to Megan Fox when it comes to the disparity between allure and acting ability. Whether it’s the Transformers movies she hadn’t been fired from (allegedly), Passion Play, Jonah Hex, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, there’s always one thing people can say about her performances: Wow, she’s great … looking. You only cast her to do two things: Stand still, look pretty. Giving her dialogue is reckless and the last thing audiences want to happen. And not having seen any inkling of promise in her acting makes placing her atop the list so easy, I’m almost ashamed there’s even the pretense of needing to place a number next to her name.