Katherine Heigl and other actors you can't help but like

life-as-we-know-it-01Image Credit: Peter IovinoThere are some actors whose off-screen press makes you think you don’t particularly care to see them on-screen, but then you do, and against your will, you enjoy them. I think it’s time I admit it: I like Katherine Heigl. The fact is, even though her self-admitted need for a filter has turned me off at times, I’ve somehow ended up seeing not only Knocked Up, but also 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, and Life as We Know It. It’s because I’ve made testing my tolerance for romantic comedies a favorite hobby. The clichés that infuriate EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum (who gave Heigl’s latest a D-), roll off my back. Sure, it’d be great if every romcom was When Harry Met Sally…, but most of the time, I just want to escape and see in 90 minutes the happy ending that has eluded me for 35 years. If I can imagine sitting through the movie again when it airs on TBS some Saturday morning before or after Something’s Gotta Give, then it qualified as “acceptable.” There are really only two ways a romcom can truly anger me: by having zero laughs (My Life in Ruins) and/or by not giving the leading lady’s happy ending the proper amount of screen time (SPOILER ALERT! I realize You Again was about Kristen Bell ruining her brother’s engagement, but since it wasn’t actually funny, I needed more romance, and that quick kiss Bell got during the credits didn’t cut it).

For me, Life as We Know It was acceptable — not just because I appreciated that the neighborhood was full of characters who find Josh Duhamel as hot as I do, though I’m not gonna lie, it helped. (The reaction of the teen “baby whisperer” when he walked into the room buttoning the top buttons of his shirt was the best.) Some critics have slammed Heigl for playing another high-strung heroine who is supposed to be successful and smart, but is somehow stupid enough not to realize that a bit of the baby poo — that was so smelly it burned her eyes — is on her cheek. But aside from that, Heigl makes this character relatable. You believe that even if she has a bit of a breakdown (and wouldn’t get her happy ending), she will pick herself up and be fine. That’s what Heigl does so well. Combined with her comedic timing (think of the film’s pot brownie scene, second only to Never Been Kissed’s among romcoms?), it’s the reason I have to like her.

Your turn. Is there an actor you don’t want to like (for whatever reason), but have to admit you do?

More for closet Heigl fans:
27 Dresses: Do bar sing-alongs actually happen?
The Ugly Truth: Vile or surprisingly enjoyable? Poll!
Killers: I now see Ashton Kutcher as a man. At least something good came out of it.
The complete Katherine Heigl Q&A from EW’s 2010 cover story


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  • nikkido

    Not. Don’t like her won’t see her movies.

    • LAJackie

      Me either. I hope this movie is a big bomb and she turns into more of a David Caruso than a George Clooney.

      • Anna Core N.A. Ka

        Totally agree.

      • BytchEPoo

        That would be great!!! She works my absolute nerve and I am very disappointed that she was cast as Stephanie Plum in “One For the Money” (Janet Evanovich novel).

      • Penny

        She wasn’t “cast” – She picked the project and is the only reason it got made. She didnt audition for the role. Comparing her to Caruso is a joke – The Ugly Truth, 27 Dresses and Knocked Up took $560m at the box office between them in a pretty even split between the three. Remind me again what movies Caruso had that were so successful. Heigl makes $15m a movie. You just show you have absolutely no clue. The movie is already not a bomb. It was expected to open around 15m by the studio and it has done. It could have done better but also could have been a lot worse.

      • Chris

        She’s unbearable. The more she talks about her career and “talent” the more I vomit. I refuse to see her films.

      • Brianna

        I love Katherine and also Steve Carell! I can’t get enough of Steve’s movies. He is my favorite comedy actor.

      • therealeverton

        Well said Penny. People don’t “like” her that’s fair enough, but the amount of nonsense I’ve read on here about her “bombs” and lack of success is mind boggling. She’s had one misfire in her last 4 movies and the “blame” in terms of not opening the movie over $20m dollars falls as squarely on Kutcher as it does her, if not more so on the director and writer who made a poor film that the 2 stars still managed to get people to see. Factor in the DV & Blu ray sales and Knocked up, Ugly Truth and 27 Dresses have made over $900m. Add Killes and you’re looking at $1b over 4 movies 1 of which was a dissapointment. Movie “stars” are overpaid by any sensible standard but that’s the Business and if $15m to Heigl increases your chances of grossing $200+ – $300m+ you’re going to pay it and be happy to do so.

      • Michael

        That’s true, Penny. I must say I despised The Ugly Truth and I couldn’t bear to even finish watching Killers, it was so boring. But other than that I must say I too like her movies, and I think Life As We Know It was definitely enjoyable. But all opinions of her aside, it’s silly to say that she’s “unsuccessful” because the box office success is no lie.

      • reason

        agree with Penny, if you don’t like her, fine. But don’t try to justify by saying her films bomb. Even though Killers was not a box office success, it was the number one selling dvd its first week of release. All her other movies have been moderate to huge successes, obviously a massive audience agrees with me and Penny and the writer here.

      • Mac

        @therealeverton:
        No, it doesn’t fall equally on Kutcher’s shoulders (I dislike him as much as her, though). Killers was made for $75 million and Katherine alone cost $15 million. No way Kutcher was paid that much, meaning she was supposed to draw the crowd. The movie bombed and now so has her current flick… what a terrible year for Heigl! Great!

      • reason

        @mac
        Kutcher was a producer on the film, and tweeted about it endlessly for over a year, leading to lackluster buzz… so yeah, it does.

      • kazza100

        ashton kutcher proved in that film that he does not deserve top billing ever! he was so stale and flat, i can’t believe he is considered an ‘actor’. he needs to stick to jack@$$ type comedy shows on tv, that’s all he can handle.

        heigl carried the film, although that’s not saying much since it was a snooze fest.

      • Mojo Jojo

        Ditto. She’s box office poison.

    • Mea

      My best friend told me that I remind her of Heigl. I was highly insulted.

      • shellibelli

        Demi Moore made 20 mill a movie a few times, remind me what movie she has made since A few Good men to earn that paycheck?

        Heigl is another Suzanne Sommers, big ego, big dumb blond who bit the hand that fed her and made her famous.

      • Genevieve

        I’d be insulted, too. I guess your ‘friend’ doesn’t really like you very much.

      • Richard

        You should have been very flattered in my opinion.

      • Carolina

        The world really is full of a lot of very bitter women. No wonder there are so few opportunities for female stars in Hollywood. All other women want to do is tear them down. Jealousy is very ugly.

      • therealeverton

        If the comparison was in terms of looks then you should be extremely flattered. Heigl is one of the few Hollywood stars that are actually pretty as opposed to just stick thin and on one meal a week!

      • Genevieve

        Carolina – You’re part of the problem. Every time a woman says something other than something positive about another woman, she’s automatically jealous. It doesn’t make sense.

      • therealeverton

        Genevieve; but that’s a circular argument. Even if it was EVERY time, which it isn’t then the counter, to your counter is simply the EVERY time a pretty woman says something negative she gets jumped on…

        There’s more weight behind Carolina’s argument because the Heigl talk backs are full of people, who we must remember do not know Heigl at all, calling her a female dog and a skank and wishing her career would die! Wishing for people to lose millions of dollars because someone they don’t even know said some things that MAY have been a bit rude??? She isn’t a criminal, or a paedophile, a neo Nazi or a racist or a rapist is she? Has she been to the wakes or funerals of the victims of Gun Violence spouting “From my cold dead hands” or reminding us that “guns don’t kill people, people do”? No? So I wonder why such personal insults, such vitriolic animosity if it isn’t jealousy related. That’s not saying everyone who dislikes her does so from a root of jealousy at all, but that many do and the proof is in their diction, in the words they use to describe an ordinary person who may say things that SOME people think should be kept private. They aren’t all jealous but there are certainly those that are and if you read this, and last week’s Heigl blog you’ll spot them pretty easily.

      • Mojo Jojo

        Them’s fightin’ words. It should be added to Websters, as in: You are such a Heigl, or stop Heigling about your bad day. The Heigl Maneuver would involve acting douchy in an effort to turn off a guy you’re not interested in. Or Give Him Heigl! when you want to encite violence.

    • deedee

      just don’t get her either

    • Cyndi

      Agree! Can’t stand her. Won’t watch her movies.

  • Aaron

    I love Heigl and am happy to admit it :) She rocks.

    • Tom

      Me too. I love skanks.

      • Katie

        Tom, get off the net and go feed Suri her Battlefield Earth Snacks. They’re behind the pantry behind the L. Ron Hubba Bubbas.

  • chattypatra

    I like Katherine Heigl too. She is a fine dramatic actress and does have excellent comedic timing. I also think that Lisa Schwarzbaum hates her and should not review her movies because she cannot be objective in her opinion. And Mandi, you are so right about Josh Duhamel; he lights up the screen.

    • Bonnie

      I agree. I can’t read Schwarzbaum’s reviews because the few I’ve read feel like she’s carrying aroudn a big chip on her shoulder. I couldn’t agree more with Mandi and I loved Life as We Know It for the exact same reasons.

      • Leslie

        I wish Lisa wouldn’t review rom-coms in general anymore. I remember reading her review for It’s Complicated & not being able to get past the bitter tone she had.

  • Jay

    Tom Cruise.
    Off-screen he’s been loopy for years (scientology, couch-jumping, psychology, etc…)
    but he’s never given a bad performance in a movie. In fact, I am hard pressed to think of ONE that I didn’t like.
    I’ll go see anything he is in, nomatter how far off the deep end he goes

    • Tracey

      Oh Jay, I heartily agree. Love him onscreen – in everything.

    • mscisluv

      Great example. I really disagree with just about all of his personal beliefs, but he is a wonderful actor, and I always enjoy him on screen.

    • tracy bluth

      YES. After “Magnolia” I can’t help but root for him as an actor. I don’t “get” his religion, but I’m still a huge fan. And I wish people would get over the couch jumping thing…hasn’t it been, like, 5 years?

      • Bonnie

        Yes, but people haven’t gotten over the Angelina-Brad-Jennifer triangle that hasn’t been a triangle for 5 years either. Celebrity drama-philes have long memories :)

    • Sue Ellen Mischke

      Agreed!

    • Jen

      Same here. Dude might be crazy, but his movies have been quite enjoyable over the years. And by all accounts, he’s been nothing but nice to his fans over the years. I can’t bring myself to dislike him.

    • Mr. Holloway

      Yeah, I never EVER got on the “I Hate Tom Cruise” bandwagon, even at the height of his loopiness.

      The guy broke no laws and didn’t hurt anybody (except for the feelings of women with post-partum depression, psychiatrists and Matt Lauer), yet people were swearing up and down that they’d never go see any of his movies, despite the fact that he’s starred in some of the most entertaining flicks in the last three decades.

      • Ames

        I also didn’t get why jumping on a couch equated to career suicide.

    • therealeverton

      Far & Away?
      Days of Thunder?
      Cocktail?

      Irony is I thought the guy could barely act, unless whipped on by a powerhouse director (Colour of Money, Legend, Rain Man) and his acting / role choices have been far superior in the 21st C. Couldn’t stand him for years and was put off waatching a few interesting looking films by his presence. His ego led to 2 dreadfull Mission Impossible films which, were both poor films and pathetic Mission Impossible tales. Musicc and face masks asside they bore no resemblence to the source and I wondered why they bothered paying for the rights. IF Cruise wanted to make solo spy films, where he gets a tiny bit of help on the way he should have done so.

      Films like collateral and his ego goig down have led to much betterfilms of late, he’s finally got decent acting range and / or has discovered how to put in a full performance on a regular basis. Post couch Cruise is far better than 20th C Cruise. For me anyway…………
      ………
      ..
      “…You’ve managed to kill just about everybody else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target”.
      :)

      • Jay

        awww C’mon… I liked Days of Thunder, and Far & Away. Cocktail is probably one of his worst, but I liked it back in the day so I cant really say anything.

      • bootsycolumbia

        It’s funny, I’d never seen Cocktail until just a few weeks ago, but when I saw it, I was shocked by what a bad performance Tom gave. Extremely wooden. That movie aside, though, I’ve always enjoyed his movies and have always thought he’s better than he’s given credit for: Born on the 4th of July, and Magnolia were two Oscar nominated movies, so he’s got to have some acting chops.

    • Sarah

      Yes to this! I love Tom Cruise on screen and can easily ignore the off screen stuff. Heigel I’m lukewarm on, but review’s like Lisa’s and all the really nasty and comments on EW etc. make me like her more because she never deserved this crazy level of vitriol.

    • Mrs. Frisby

      I love Mr. Cruise on screen as well and despite my unfavorable opinion of Scientology, I say to each his own. I honestly don’t think he was nutty for the couch thing or the psychiatry comments with Lauer. I think he’s just a guy who is passionate about what he believes, whether the world agrees with him or not. At any rate, I can state that he has disappointed me a few times in films: Far and Away (blech!) and the train wreck that was Eyes Wide Shut. I actually left the theater during that one. Those disasters aside, I will continue to tune into his movies.

  • Tracey

    I like her, too! Can’t explain it. I just root for her when I watch anything she’s in.

  • Shane

    But we don’t…

  • SLT

    completely agree Mandi. Even though she annoys me at times off screen (and that’s less so now)I’ve seen all of her movies (including My Father; the Hero!) and really liked them.

  • Mr. Holloway

    There’s a pot brownie scene in this movie? Good lord, of course there is!

    Anyway, if this can extend to directors, I’d say M. Night Shyamalan. Yes, “The Last Airbender” is pretty indefensible, but other than that I find myself making excuses for his horrible recent movies and I keep believing he’s going to turn it around.

  • Eve

    Renée Zellwegger. She annoys me in interviews but I can’t help liking her in most of her movies (Bridget Jones, Cold Mountain, Chicago)

    • dcet

      Agreed

      • Mea

        Ditto

    • caryn

      Oh, yeah, that’s a good choice. Not a big fan offscreen but she’s an excellent actress.

    • GS

      I’d definitely agree with this. I like everything she’s done and Bridget Jones is my favorite movie character. She’s awesome as her.

  • Karate Pants

    I never get tired of Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston, though others seem to think their time is up.
    On the flip side, everyone seems to adore Kristen Bell, but I cannot stand her.

    • Liz

      With you on both counts! I never got the appeal of Kristen Bell (except as the voice of my beloved Gossip Girl)

    • tracy bluth

      I don’t get the appeal of Kristin Bell either…but her scenes with Zacharay Quinto were some of the only good things about Heroes season 3.

      • Mr. Holloway

        Sad to say, but my favorite thing about Kristen Bell is that she’s a HUGE fan of “The Room.”

      • tracy bluth

        SHE IS? Well never mind then. We The Room fans have to stick together.

    • tracy bluth

      Oh, and I totally agree about Jennifer Aniston. Maybe it’s because she was on Friends, maybe it’s because I’m still rooting for her to show off her talent like she did in The Good Girl, but I don’t get how everyone seems to hate her.

      • Day Dreamer

        It’s the movies Jennifer has been in for the most part that have hurt her. She doesn’t need to do rom-com movies about finding a man when the tabloids are constantly on her personal life and make her appear to be desperate to find a man and have a baby (which I’m sure is not true). And I truly enjoyed her in Marley & Me.

      • krista

        I love Jennifer aniston and always will. FRIENDS FOREVER!!!!!!

      • reason

        Friends With Money is another lesser known Aniston film that she is great in. The hate for her is similar to that of Heigl and Roberts, it comes off as jealousy. And like an above poster pointed out, it comes off as jealous because these people(mostly women) who don’t like them seem to spit such vile venom and wish such harm to their careers that it is impossible to see anything but jealousy. I find it ironic that we all cheered when Ryan Seacrest, playing himself in Heigl’s Knocked Up, said he was sick of celebrities giving political answers and he wishes they would just cut the bulls**t, yet when Heigl does just that, she is blasted for it.
        Back to topic: I always can’t help but like Joaquin Pheonix, crazy behaviour aside, when he is on, he is crazy good.

    • ahaha

      Have you ever seen Veronica Mars?

      • Karate Pants

        Nope…due to my dislike of her, or course. ;)

      • ahaha

        I just mentioned Veronica Mars because that show’s the reason a lot of people like her (because she’s so good on that show). What exactly do you dislike about her, if I may ask?

      • Karate Pants

        I really can’t give you a good reason. I’ve seen her in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Couples Retreat, and in interviews, and something about her just rubs me the wrong way.

      • Joel

        Haven’t seen it, but she voices a character in the Assassin’s Creed series, that plus her work in Heroes makes me a fan of her.

      • Amber

        I understand not liking her, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the reason I LOVE her. She took what could have been a throwaway bitchy cheater role and infused it with depth and sympathy. I actually started to understand why her character would cheat. I know that’s got a lot to do with writing, but I thought she knocked it out of the park.

    • W

      If you watched Veronica Mars (which was her breakout) you would know why everyone loves Kristen Bell!

      • Karate Pants

        Maybe so.

    • Anneka

      Totally agree. I’ve actually made an effort to watch and appreciate several Kristen Bell movies and still can’t stand her, but Jennifer Aniston movies are like comfort food that I watch over and over on rainy days.

  • Karate Pants

    Oh, and though I’m pretty sure he’s not someone I’d want to hang out with, I haven’t met a Hugh Grant rom-com that I didn’t love.

    • orville

      I’ll agree with this one. He seems like kind of a d-bag in interviews, but he never fails to charm in his movies.

    • Bonnie

      Agree! I can’t get enough of him in Love Actually (and pretty much every other one he’s done)

    • Mr. Holloway

      …in a related story, do NOT watch “Did You Hear About the Morgans”

      I enjoy most of Grant’s movies, but I truly wish I could unsee that mess.

      • Karate Pants

        I bet you do! I managed to avoid seeing that and Mickey Blue Eyes, both looked scary-bad. Though he’s had some stinkers, I simply cannot imagine Love Actually, About a Boy, or Bridget Jones Diary with ANYONE but him.

      • Mr. Holloway

        I love me some “Love Actually”, but to me “About a Boy” is CLEARLY the best thing he’s done. (Certainly his best performance.) I also thought he was a spectacular douche in BJD. And I mean that as the highest of compliments.

      • Bonnie

        Oh I forgot about that. I did not see “Morgans” because I REALLY can’t stand SJP, so even though I enjoy Hugh, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Thanks for the warning!

      • Mea

        Grant was also fine in Sense & Sensibility, Music & Lyrics and An Awfully Big Adventure [ in this last he was superb, playing against type].

      • Just Me

        I agree. That was the worst movie. Glad I only saw it on Netflix Instant watching. It took me two days to get through that crap. Not to mention I dont care for SJP…

    • krista

      I would totally hang out with him. foxxy brown schmoxxy brown ;)

  • kmd

    I can’t stand Katherine Heigl and cannot bring myself to watch them even though my bf swears I will like them.

    However, earlier this fall I had to come to grips with the fact that I actually like Keira Knightley. I don’t like the way that she pouts through her press tours, but she does know how to pick a good script. Darn her for being in some of my favorite movies… maybe I’ll get over it, someday.

  • Lauren

    I don’t even like Heigl as an actress, but I like the movies she’s in and tolerate her in them.

  • Anna Core N.A. Ka

    I’m sorry, but I can’t stand Katherine Heigel, on or off screen. Professionally, I feel that she’s slowly becoming the next Jennifer Aniston, meaning that 90 percent of her movies will be nothing more than mediocre rom-com movies with predictable endings. Having said that, I still adore Aniston. Ha!

    • Brit

      But if she’s okay with that, what’s wrong with knowing your niche?

    • Seriously

      Katherine Heigl is not Jennifer Aniston, nor will she ever be. Jennifer Aniston never left the show that gave her her best work (Friends), she has good working relationships with her co-stars, and she has a reputation for being a humble sweetheart. She may be in romcom hell, but even she hasn’t done anything to warrant being compared to Katie Heigl. Jennifer knows she isn’t making Oscar-worthy pics and she’s at least taken the risk of doing more dramatic roles (The Good Girl, Derailed, Object of My Affection). Please folks, give Jennifer a friggin’ break already.

      • tara

        This comment has to be a joke.

      • Mea

        My take on Anniston is that she’s simply boring. On screen and in real life. She hooks up with a guy, [Vince Vaughn, John Mayer etc.] and before long she bores them cross-eyed. I thunk Brad would have stayed if they’d had a child, but she wasn’t interested in motherhood at that time and there was nothing to keep him there. IMHO

  • dcet

    I simply cannot stand Heigle. She is vile and I will not see her movies. Not even on a bootleg copy. And,why is this site always defending her

    • Richard

      Probably because it has more sense than someone who can not even spell Heigl correctly.

      • dcet30

        You must be her mom or is it momager!

    • Jen

      Getting EW to write articles defending Katherine Heigl is what her publicist is paid to do.

      good money to get these kinds of articles written about their client.

    • Jen

      Getting EW to write articles defending Katherine Heigl is what her publicist is paid to do.

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