3 Genres Better Suited to Taylor Lautner's Talents
I notice something suspicious about the two genres in which Taylor Lautner has made a name for himself: He's wrong for both of them. As an actor, he's too stilted for leading romantic roles (a la Eclipse, or even Valentine's Day), and he's too unassuming for leading action roles (as in the new Abduction, where he narrowly avoids poking himself in the eye). Quite the conundrum. Even if his shirt-losing prowess is second to none, is it possible that Mr. Lautner hasn't yet discovered the subgenres best suited to his skills? I say yes! Here, Movieline looks into three new arenas for the budding thespian, who undoubtedly does not want to be known as the junior edition of the oversold Sam Worthington.
When the rumor broke of Lautner's involvement with a Vision Quest remake, I needed to organize my thoughts in a three-ring binder. First of all: Vision Quest? The Matthew Modine wrestling movie remembered mostly for Madonna's cameo? The idea seemed contrived at first, but upon second thought I realized Vision Quest is the perfect cross-section of melodrama and surprisingly compelling athleticism. If Lautner can't exercise his karate comprehension at the cineplex, I hope he dons the singlet, sharpens his Varsity grimace, and engages in neatly choreographed warfare on the mat. He may even capture the angst (and technical skill) of a young brawler better than this year's other wrestling wunderkind, Win Win's Alex Shaffer.
Comic book ensembles
Sure, a comic book ensemble featuring Lautner may have to be a youth-plumbing Origins tale, but I'd sooner trust him as a member of a cartoonish fighting squad than as an action film's sole powerhouse. He's no Shia LaBeouf, dammit -- even though he's accrued twice his muscle mass. I see Lautner as one in a series of Adonises in a G.I. Joe-style film. Or a Power Rangers movie. Whoa, wait -- everything about Taylor Lautner says "Power Ranger." He's exotic enough to play an updated, sun-kissed version of Tommy, the green rogue! His can-do conviction is perfect for saving Angel Grove! He can strike up a romance with his pink-suited companion! Why am I suddenly so sure this movie can happen? I knew we'd find the right forum for his black-belt superpowers. Go, go, Jacob Black!
Let's take another look at Valentine's Day. It's pretty clear that the barely-there teen duo of Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift are adrift in this movie, no? They're desperate and unreal, even if they're only half-trying. But in Lautner's case, there's a confused, dopey likability that I associate with the bombastic world of Not Another Teen Movie-style parody. In fact, Lautner's looks are so chiseled and perfect that he's rife for parody anyway. Why not stick him in an over-the-top spoof and let him field wisecracks from the wolf-hating burnouts? As Robert Pattinson proved at the MTV Movie Awards, Lautner is up for Twihard-mocking hysteria. He's self-deprecating, and he gets it. Now it's time he starred in something where he proves both.