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Kick Them When They Fall Down: The Worst Actress of All Time?

By Cindy Davis | Miscellaneous | June 8, 2011 |

By Cindy Davis | Miscellaneous | June 8, 2011 |

Perusing the online entertainment news over at the Los Angeles Times, there was a headline that caught my eye right away: “Rotten Tomatoes critics agree: Jennifer Love Hewitt is the worst actress of all time.” You see now, as Joanna pointed out yesterday, Rotten Tomatoes allowed access to its database—which aggregates movie reviews from critics and publications across the country—and Slate spit out a few interesting “statistics.” I didn’t set out to necessarily defend Jennifer Love Hewitt’s ability, mind you. If I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her act, other than in a “Ghost Whisperer” commercial. And no, I didn’t get the feeling she was anywhere near an Emmy nomination, but these particular statistics are based on movie scores, not individual actor scores.

So if I understand correctly, the way the Hollywood Career-o-Matic rates an actor is by plotting the film scores on a graph and coming up with an average percent rating. And though clearly films are affected by performances (and vice versa), there are still bad films with good acting and good films with bad acting. Meanwhile, Slate named French actor Daniel Auteuil as “Best Actor” and Arsinée Khanjian as “Best Actress,” though there seem to be no headlines about that rather unsensational news.

I guess my point is, what the hell has Jennifer Love Hewitt done to piss off everyone so much, that not only is she criticized for daring to wear a bikini in a less than “perfect” body, but she is also worthy of a worst actress headline supported by imperfect data? There are plenty enough bad and mediocre actresses out there to gather up and criticize (Eliza Dushku, Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling, Katie Holmes, Kate Hudson); we even like to despise certain ladies who act well enough but annoy the hell out of us (Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston [debatable]). But, what happened between Hollywood and Jennifer Love Hewitt? I don’t know anyone, personally, who feels much of anything about her at all. Yet, here she is scoring misbegotten headlines all over the news, while Chuck Norris slips by unnoticed (he earned the Worst Actor rating by faulty data). It can’t be that she uses her boobs to full advantage; see Christina Hendricks, Halle Berry, etc. And even from what little I’ve seen of Hewitt, Eliza Dushku would kick her ass in a Face of the Wooden Actress Contest any day of the week. Seriously, watch Dushku in anything and tell me you aren’t waiting for drool to drip from her luscious lips.

Here is a graph showing the highs and lows of Hewitt’s films scores, alongside a few actresses who could be in the running for worst:

Screen shot 2011-06-08 at 9.08.07 AM.png

The plotted dots represent film scores. Clearly, acting ability cannot be determined from such a chart. If people want to rag on particular actors or actresses for bad performances, put out an opinion piece and call it a day.

Hewitt received a Golden Globe nomination for her 2010 role in “The Client List,” she’s won a few People’s Choice and been nominated several times for Kid’s/Teen Choice Awards, she sings, works in television and film and is said to be a front runner to replace Mariska Hargitay on “Law & Order: SVU.” Though one doesn’t have to be even a “good” actress to get work, I’m going to have to call bullshit on naming her “worst actress of all time;” that Career-o-Matic tool might be useful for directors, but the data culled is not indicative of an actor’s skill. You want to rag on someone for her acting ability? List her work, give examples of specific roles and make your case. You want to gauge her popularity? Take a poll and name the results. But for crying out loud, if you’re going to name the “worst actress of all time,” at least use a sensible methodology. And while I’m at it, let the girl wear a fucking bathing suit in peace.

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