You ever see those things that look great on paper, almost too good to be true, and then over time begin to resent it? When artists you love bond together and it’s cool until you realize that it’s taking away from their separate works. Or when it seems that a cast was assembled strictly to capture a particular zeitgeist or to assimilate coolness rather than create it.

The Thin Red Line comes to mind. Too good to be true. Strange Wilderness comes to mind. Too clever to be true. There’s a magic to building an ensemble that involves a lot more than finding out who the cool kids are and putting them onscreen together. Christopher Guest knows this. Scorsese knows this. Judd Apatow knows this. Adam McKay REALLY knows this. Talladega Nights is useless without Gary Cole. Stepbrothers is a wasted exercise without Richard Jenkins. It’s no secret that casting is an art form in and of itself, but I have to admit when I cringe a little when I see too many obvious names from a particular fraternity tossed together.

Side tangent: though I don’t read comics much anymore I am seeing a lot of “names” on mainstream books which superficially would imply a melding of two great things but in reality is all about commerce. Folks gotta get paid. This is not an example of magical pairings of creators and material but rather ATM withdrawals to allow for “personal work”.

Despicable Me is an upcoming [2010 is the year we make contact… with it] animated film from the folks who brought you Horton Hears a Who! with a cast that seems like it was assembled by the message board talkbackers with unlimited resources and a finger to the pulse of very talented and funny people who even EW champions. The obviousest of the obvious. It’s an All-Star team of who makes movies and television funny. It’s the New York Yankees, which is exactly why I fear overload of talent and not enough emphasis on subtlety and pairing makes for a product that looks a lot better on a ledger than in execution.

All of these people are obvious choices of people to put in a comedy:

Jason Segal
Danny McBride
Steve Carell
Russell Brand
Will Arnett
Kristen Wiig
Jermaine Clement
Jack McBrayer

Hey what the fuck? Was Amy Poehler unavailable?

Grab any three of them and you have a great formula. Even for an animated film. To include all of them seems like overkill, even if it’s a few throwaway characters. They’re obviously using the names to raise interest in the picture, which is the case for most non-Dinsey projects, so either it’ll be a case of overload or false advertising. Either way, I’d rather see a few of these mixed with great character actors than just a K-Tel’s Greatest Hits collection.

Then again, I can’t imagine this is a bad deal for the talent. Get paid well for a few day’s work, hang with your fraternity of “it” comedy pals, and have something to show the kids once you grow tired of being insanely crazy in the world and settle down.

I’m just gritting my teeth as the film becomes closer to screens and the “BEST CAST EVER” comments start and Entertainment Weekly starts their sidebars about how they were there when these people were unknown. That’s a year from now. There may not even BE magazines then.

Anyhow, this casting bores me. Show some creativity, filmmakers. Make a damn choice. There are plenty of unknown great people who would be perfect to break with a film like this. Despicable ain’t the half of it.