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A wake-up call for the stars of ''Awake''

Some career advice for Jessica Alba, Hayden Christensen, and Terrence Howard

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Two years ago, the stars of Awake — Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith), Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four), and Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow) — probably seemed like a dream cast. But last weekend, their thriller opened to yawns, earning just $5.9 million. Though Awake — which was made nearly two years ago — is likely to recoup its $8.6 million budget, it’s hardly the kind of dud these three need on their résumés right now. Here’s some advice that could help shake up their slumbering careers.

CHRISTENSEN won’t return to in-demand status by repeating himself: He already played comatose in the Star Wars trilogy. We have no doubt he can act; we saw Shattered Glass. Substantial scripts like that one are vital to remind audiences of an actor’s cerebral side. Too bad his upcoming sci-fi flick Jumper looks like dumber material than he deserves — if that baffling trailer is any indication.

ALBA should follow Cameron Diaz and become the next beauty with comedy chops. Bouncing from high-concept B movie (Sin City) to highly crappy B movie (Good Luck Chuck) wasn’t a successful strategy; costarring in next summer’s The Love Guru opposite Mike Myers just might be.

HOWARD seems to have squandered all the goodwill he earned after Crash and Hustle & Flow. We blame Idlewild, August Rush, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and now, Awake. Which brings us to our point: As Jude Law can attest, quality matters more than quantity! Here’s hoping 2008’s Iron Man restores Howard’s deserved cred.