Friday Face/Off: Owen Wilson

Have you ever had such a strong hatred for an actor that you feel incensed by the thought that anyone could actually like them? Or perhaps you have been scorned by someone slagging off your beloved favourite performer? We’ve all been there – it seems that one man’s trash is almost always another man’s treasure. We take a look at some of these troubesome characters who have the ability to divide the nation.

This week, we look at funny man Owen Wilson. Is he laugh out loud brilliant, or an irritating, over-rated lad in need of a nose job? Read on if you want to know which camp we fall in to.

For the Defence:

What is not to love? He is cute, lovable, funny and has the world’s most adorable broken nose. Owen Wilson is a rare thing- a funny actor who can also pull off leading man. He is also not overwhelming on screen, meaning it doesn’t hurt your head when he is going full throttle funny man on you. Instead what you get in a charismatic lead with a good old fashioned sense of humour.

Wedding Crashers remains his best film- whether it was his portrayal of a lovelorn man that makes you fall for him, or the mischievous ways he manages to have ridiculous amounts of fun, Wilson was screen gold. Charming his way into Rachel McAdams’ knickers is no mean feat, especially when you have to contend with her entire family. But Wilson is brilliant from start to finish, and you can even forgive him sleeping around in a ‘Ohhhh he’s such a naughty boy’ way.

Plus, he has the confidence to be able to take supporting roles and not worry about some other guy stealing all the limelight. His turn as a teeny tiny cowboy in Night At The Museum was inspired, all tough guy talk but oh so little and cute. It was a classic size doesn’t matter pun and boy did it come off.

Even off screen, Wilson manages to be lovable. His fantastically misshapen nose for example, proves that you don’t need a face chiselled out of granite to work in Hollywood. How many times has he broken it? Do we care? It is bumpy and odd but gives Wilson an individuality to separate him from the legions of other tousled attractive actors. Plus his refusal to have cosmetic surgery means that he doesn’t conform- hurrah, a man who has the ability to be an individual as opposed to a Hollywood half-starved botoxed sheep!

Wilson has talent, that much is assured. He improvises many of his lines, he isn’t afraid to be laughed at as opposed to with and he can pull off a bigger range than people give him credit for. Whether his next ventures are acting, producing, directing or writing, we are damn sure he will be fantastic. He has an imagination to rival Tim Burton, and with future collaborations with Wes Anderson a certainty – more depravity will be coming our way. For this, and for being adorable, we can forgive him the odd awful rom-com. Or at least, I can.

By Becky Hart

For the Prosecution

Owen Wilson lost more than his sense of smell when he broke his nose (rumour has it he kept his ego in his bathroom cabinet, and every morning in a drowsy state as he went to fetch his tooth brush, poor Owen would forget about his snuggly-stored ego, right up until it smacked him straight between the eyes), he also lost his sense of taste. Owen Wilson has displayed an unwavering capacity to take a role in repeatedly dreadful, money burning, utterly shocking films of no value whatsoever. “But Wedding Crashers was great!” I hear you cry. Well, it was ok – funny-ha-ha, but not funny in a career-justifying way. Lets do a quick run through of his truly regrettable performances:

1996 – Cable Guy: Widely seen as Jim Carey’s worst film, Wilson gets a measly cameo – “But look, I’m in a film with a genuinely talented funny man!” Yeah, but comedy isn’t a case of osmosis Wilson.

1997 – Anaconda: Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube were the stars. Good work Wilson, that’ll get your career off to a zinger. Do you know anything about hip-hop? It doesn’t breed actors. It just doesn’t.

2000 – Shanghai Noon: The money maker. Wilson finally lands a real role rather than a bit part, and we all regret that he was given the opportunity. As tasteless as the rest of Jackie Chan’s English-speaking films, as writers struggle to work out how a Chinese martial-artist can wind up in some context Westerns might find funny.

2001 – Meet the Parents: Back to bit-parts. Take the hint Wilson – you’re NOT funny and you CAN’T act. You’d have thought that would be a problem for an actor who takes on comic roles, but not Owen. He can’t smell how bad he really is.

Flick through a few more titles and surely you’ll agree that things don’t improve; Behind Enemy Lines, Shanghai Knights, You, Me and Dupree, Drillbit Taylor, Marley & Me – in which he was out acted by a dog (insert Jennifer Aniston joke here). With the exception of the deeply dull Behind Enemy Lines, Wilson has never risked his neck beyond his comfy pigeon hole of awful comedy, and whilst figures such as Hugh Grant have made this a well trod path, no one has ever attempted it half as smugly as Mr Wilson – and he’s never starred in anything as good as Notting Hill or Four Weddings.

“So? Maybe he’s just waiting for his big break?” Well, maybe that big break would come along a lot sooner if Owen ‘The Nose’ Wilson were to free up his diary and not answer his agent’s phone calls with the word “YES!”. Wanna know what we’ll be seeing him in over the next few years? There’s the rom-com (that’ll stretch him) Midnight in Paris about a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better. Deep as a puddle. How about The Big Year, in which three avid bird watchers compete to spot the rarest birds in North America at a prestigious annual event. No? But Jack Black’s in it and everything! Fine, I see you’re a crowd with higher tastes. You’re going to love Turkeys then. A couple of turkeys travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving dinner in order to save future generations of their feathered friends from getting gobbled up at holiday meals. Can you smell that Wilson? Didn’t think so. It’s called shit.

Give it up Wilson. You’re good at something, we’re sure of it. Become a hand model. Ask Ben Stiller if he needs someone to hold his coat whilst he takes all the roles you want. Just stop acting. Stop it. Please. Go away.

By David Cornish

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