After a 14-year break, the actress plays a State Department aide in the political satire, ''In the Loop''

By Adam Markovitz
Updated July 24, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

Now 28, the actress who first charmed audiences as a 10-year-old smooching Macaulay Culkin in 1991’s My Girl is back on the big screen after a 14-year break. Not that she’s been slacking: Chlumsky got a degree in international studies from the University of Chicago and briefly worked in publishing. ”It was a great breath of fresh air,” she says. ”But I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t doing what I’m meant to do — acting.”

Chlumsky plays a State Department aide in the political satire, which started as a sprawling 264-page script. ”It’s just the way [director Armando Iannucci] does it. The original cut of the movie was, like, four hours. There was no pressure, because half of the stuff we were doing wasn’t even going to end up on screen.”

The actress is shooting the Lifetime movie Twelve Men of Christmas and waiting to hear if CBS will officially pick up her pilot House Rules, in which she plays a congressional aide — ”no relation” to her In the Loop character, she says.