Steve Martin will always hold a special place in my decrepit little black heart. Not only do I appreciate his classic “SNL” contributions like “King Tut,” but he was one of the undisputed kings of comedy in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Unfortunately, comedians aren’t built to last. While Martin enjoyed a damn good run, something went terribly wrong with Martin’s cinematic barometer after the first Father of the Bride movie. The year was 1991, and Martin turned into a parody of himself with a string of really substandard movies (Grand Canyon; HouseSitter; Leap of Faith; And the Band Played On; A Simple Twist of Fate; and Mixed Nuts) that led to the ill-advised Father of the Bride Part IIl. Not only Martin had caught sequel-itis but remake-itis as well, and it was clear that the spark of the previously gifted comic was on the wane. After several more clunkers, Steve tried to go indie by starring with Claire Danes in Shopgirl, in which he tried to pull a Bill Murray-styled career resurrection in manner of an older, established guy romancing a younger, aimless girl. Think Lost in Translation except quirkier and much less profound, and don’t call it a comeback.
In recent years, Martin has still been unable to get his mojo back. This weekend, he further complicates matters by co-starring in The Big Year, a.k.a., “Owen Wilson and Jack Black’s Birdwatching Movie.” Maybe Martin will make another cameo in “SNL” to help remind us of his former prowess, but let’s not hold our breaths, shall we? Instead, let’s quickly review some of his worst movies ever:
Mixed Nuts: A crisis hotline on Christmas? It was supposed to be a bizarre movie, but it bordered upon the ridiculous.
Bringing Down the House: This is a tough pill to swallow, for I think I’m one of seven people who actually liked this movie. Still, the only discernible appeal here was Queen Latifah (“Living Single” 4EVA!).
The Pink Panther 2: As a writer and an actor, Martin lost a lot of goodwill for remaking a role played by the legendary Peter Sellers and dumbing it down in the process.
Housesitter: Martin and Goldie Hawn were most decidedly not a match made in comic heaven. This story of a wacky con artist was merely annoying.
The Out-Of-Towners: For whatever reason, Martin and Hawn chose to reunite for an even worse movie. The second time was not a charm.
Sgt. Bilko: Martin murders another hit series (the original starred Phil Silvers) in this remake.
Leap of Faith: The poster pretty much says it all about this cheesy movie. Further elaboration would be pointless.
The Lonely Guy: The perfect woman jogs into Martin’s life and completely ruins it! Also, what’s up with the dog on the bicycle handles?
Novocaine: A comedy about dentistry — what could possibly go wrong? Not even Helena Bonham Carter could save this one.
Cheaper By the Dozen: More wretchedly concocted holiday cheer coming right at ya.
A Simple Twist of Fate: What was it that I said about Steve Martin and his awful Christmas movies? Well, add a really obnoxious kid, and here’s another one.
And a little unexpected bonus number for you…
Bowfinger: Seriously, it wasn’t that funny.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.