Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chicago Tribune: An ode to Jeff Goldblum.

Every major paper should run loving tributes of the One True Goldblum.
Let us now praise Jeff Goldblum. Even in "The Switch."

To be clear, the new comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman has some interesting wrinkles lifting it out of the romantic-comedy norm. One of them is the tall, eagle-eyed Goldblum who, as the male protagonist's work colleague and sounding board, does the best he can to make "Are you trying to tell me…" exposition worth hearing.

Goldblum's amused (and amusing; it's hard to be both at once) way with his lines, his rhythmic change-ups and — my favorite pointless bit — his comically challenging Thelonious Monk-like intro at the keyboard, just before he leads a group of kids and adults in "Happy Birthday": All these flourishes, mostly vocal, add up in small ways. Midway through the picture you realize you're really looking forward to the next time he comes back on screen.

We all have our favorite character actors. Many of them, such as Goldblum, have also taken leading roles in blockbusters, seemingly by chance or accident. His biggest were "Jurassic Park" and "Independence Day," and having an idiosyncratic performer lighten those big-budget loads amounted to very astute casting. If it were up to me, every bombastic summer picture would co-star Goldblum, J.K. Simmons, Kristen Wiig, Craig Robinson, Armin Mueller-Stahl and, in a surprise cameo, Bill Murray. "Transformers 4," right here!
More love here.

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