Do We Need to Stage a Career Intervention For Rachel McAdams?
Way back in June, Spyglass Entertainment debuted the first trailer for The Vow, the latest Rachel McAdams romance film involving memory loss. It was depressing to see our former Notebook sweetheart diving headfirst into another melodramatic title. Like McAdams's Vow character though -- who is struck with amnesia after a parked car accident involving an overplayed Meatloaf single -- I forgot about the former starlet's downwardly spiraling filmography...until today's new preview for The Vow reminded me, it's about time someone stages a career intervention for Rachel McAdams.
Exhibit A in the case for Rachel McAdams to stop and seriously re-evaluate the direction of her career: The trailer that incited this intervention.
To paraphrase McAdams's The Vow character, who pleads with her husband (Channing Tatum) to turn off Meatloaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love" shortly before "the accident:" You do not like these kinds of melodramatic films, Rachel. Please stop. This is the second amnesiac romantic drama character you've played, who, over the course of a movie, must fall back in love with your husband. (Sure, most of the memory loss in The Notebook was left to Gena Rowlands, who played your older counterpart, but still!) One amnesia-torn love story is enough. It is not just that, though.
It is McAdams's humdrum choices ever since 2004's The Notebook and 2005's Wedding Crashers, both of which pitted the actress in the kind of role she has never strayed far from: Charming upper middle class white girl love interest.
To her credit, McAdams has tested different genre waters (albeit unsuccessfully). There was the plane thriller Red Eye, the cancer holiday picture The Family Stone, the period drama Married Life, the army road movie The Lucky Ones, the political thriller State of Play, the adapted romance The Time Traveler's Wife, the blockbuster Sherlock Holmes and the Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris. Unfortunately, in spite of these wide-ranging genres and the potential stage they each offered McAdams to break out of her shell and play anyone other than a distant Allie Hamilton relative, McAdams seems to reiterate the same character repeatedly.
Granted, some actresses have been able to mine successful careers out of that no-range formula if they (or their managers) have an eye for blockbusters. Case in point: Katherine Heigl, who always plays Katherine Heigl, and until The Killers, enjoyed box office popularity because of her keen guilty pleasure picks in Knocked Up, 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth.
But post-Notebook McAdams has neither given us films that audiences care to see (unless she is in a supporting role) or powerful dramatic performances that have established her as anything but a rom-com star who can score big at the box office with the right co-star.
I root for McAdams, and I hope that she can eventually prove her range as an actress that viewers once expected great things from. Please Rachel, stop whiffing at the plate with rom-coms and start giving viewers the kinds of performances they expected from you after seeing Mean Girls.
There is a glimmer of hope...the upcoming Untitled Terrence Malick project to which McAdams is attached with Jessica Chastain, Ben Affleck, Rachel Weisz and Javier Bardem. The drama may sound like a formulaic rom-com -- it "centers on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart" -- but at this point, I'll trade in any of her 2005 to 2011 credits for a well-directed Rachel McAdams romance...or if I can't have that, short-term amnesia.