I haven’t seen the new Mark Wahlberg film Contraband yet. But I came across a review this morning that starts like this:
Mark Wahlberg isn’t blessed with a wide range of acting talent, but he’s very good at beating people and looking sincere about it.
“Wow,” I thought to myself. “What makes people so cruel?” This guy must think he’s so funny. He’s like the bully who hits the new kid and everybody laughs and he hits him again and everybody laughs again. I’m not implying that Wahlberg is by any means a new kid. And although I’m of small stature, I’ve never been bullied myself. This is not personal. I’m just making a point. I have always hated bullies. And this guy is sitting behind a pen thinking he’s so clever at having wiped out Wahlberg’s talent in one sentence. It feels like bullying, at some level.
Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s not. I happen to like Wahlberg as a personality. I didn’t know him as a musician and actually first came across him in the movie Three Kings. I thought he was good in it. He was awesome in Boogie Nights, I Heart Huckabees and The Fighter. It’s not like he’s a terrible actor.
This critic goes on to trash Contraband, and maybe he’s right (I haven’t seen the movie yet). But the tone is so bloody smug, I began to wonder if he was writing for my benefit, or to satisfy his own narcissism. His critique itself was so ordinary so banal, searching for that cliched quip at every stop; I learned absolutely nothing from it.
He ends his brilliant piece with:
Contraband isn’t fat, exactly – no special-effects explosions, no expensive car chase – but it’s unremarkable. It’s very good at it, however.
This guy definitely doesn’t get paid for originality. God only knows what he gets paid for.
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