There are some actors whose mere presence on the bill puts you in a good mood. Patricia Clarkson does this for me. Joan Cusack, Judy Greer, Ben Shenkman, Harry Dean Stanton. Steve Zahn owns this territory. From Reality Bites to Joy Ride, I’ll watch just about any movie this guy shows up in. Many I’m willing to wait for the DVD. Management (what kind of movie title is that?), I’m looking at you.
So it was with gusto that I hauled my ass out of the heat and caught the 10 a.m. showing of A Perfect Getaway, which incidentally is a great fun piece of air-conditioned throwaway about a couple on their Hawaii hiking trip who run into fingerprint-shaving murderers. There were three people in the theater, which might account for its modest $5+ million opening. But I got my Zahn fix. And I’ve got a new girl crush on Samantha Who? alum Kiele Sanchez, who plays a Georgia girl who can disembowel a goat.
Now, A Perfect Getaway was made for $14 million. It’ll play well on DVD. I say it’s a nifty B movie. (Our Lisa Schwarzbaum says B-.) But what’s remarkable is that it is essentially a Steve Zahn vehicle. He’s the biggest star. His wife is played by former supermodel Milla Jovovich who tells Zahn’s character that “I’ll give you a B.J. in the car.” How does Zahn do it? He’s a character actor who gets to play the romantic lead in a Jennifer Aniston movie. Granted, I heard it sucked. But Hollywood gives him genuine opportunities. So what is it going to take to convince someone to give Cusack or Greer a similarly front and center role. I don’t want to see Greer playing second banana to a blown-out bigger star for the rest of her career. I want her to get some Zahn action.
Here he is kicking genial ass back in 1998 promoting the underrated John Hamburg movie Safe Men on Conan. Nice biceps, man.
Any fellow Steve Zahn fans out there? What actors will you stick around to watch even if they’re in a so-so movie? What character actor do you wish could snag onto some starring roles?