One of the more unexpectedly awesome benefits of Judd Apatow’s ascendancy has been the reigniting of Leslie Mann’s acting career – which should’ve been aflame since she stole George of the Jungle from Brendan Fraser. Generally, a standout performance in a $100 million grossing summer flick is a good thing; it was just Mann’s misfortune to swipe a completely forgettable blockbuster from a less-than-formidable comedic lead (Fraser faithful, unite!). Besides, memories are short in Hollywood, and male filmmakers generally don’t know what to do with funny ladies if they can’t plug them into insipid romantic comedies. I suppose Mann could’ve been eked out a respectable career as the brassy best friend who makes cutting remarks at the expense of the entire male race, but she’s almost too acerbic for crap like that.
After her devastating, doorman-induced meltdown (opposite the great Craig Robinson) in Knocked Up, I doubt Mann will ever want for work. And while it’s certainly not a debit that her husband runs all of Hollywood with an iron fist, I’ve a feeling she’d be dining out on that scene for the better part of a decade regardless of her marital status. Let’s just hope that the role of Jim Carrey’s wife in Glenn Ficarra’s and John Requa’s adaptation of the bizarre true story I Love You, Phillip Morris ain’t the long-suffering type (though it would be kinda interesting to see her play weak-willed for once). Carrey stars as a con man who repeatedly breaks out of jail in the hopes of reuniting with his true love, the titular Mr. Morris (Ewan McGregor); after four failed attempts, he’s now serving forty-five years (plus an additional ninety-nine) is a maximum security prison.
Though Ficarra and Requa stumbled with their screenplay for Richard Linklater’s godawful remake of Bad News Bears, they were hamstrung by the PG-13 rating. As evidenced by Bad Santa, these guys are much more comfortable writing mean and very R-rated. And if Mann’s part isn’t particularly scabrous, I say the boys owe her a vitriolic starring vehicle of some sort.
Production begins near the end of April.