It’s Friday and it’s a beautiful day outside. I was contemplating a serious blog post this week about overcoming my parental fears as my oldest daughter asks for more freedom and responsibility (like her own gmail account & walking home from the bus stop by herself – cue anxiety attack!).
Instead I’ve made a ‘teen pop’ playlist for the kids – some Glee, a little Usher, Miley and Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Pink, Selena & Cee Lo plus Avril Lavigne rocking the SpongeBob theme – and decided I’m going to write about that rock wife turned rock mom – Gwyneth Paltrow.
I blame Glenn Close, and I’ll tell you why. Back in 1996, Close starred as Cruella De Ville in the live action version of 101 Dalmations. Maybe it was the opportunity to bring an animated icon to life. Maybe it was the clothes, the wig, the chance to lighten up. Maybe, most likely, it was the paycheck. Otherwise why would an Oscar-winning actress subject herself to unfunny cartoon violence and being covered in fake manure?
Fast forward a decade or so, and we’ve got Meryl Streep in not one but two chick flicks (Mamma Mia, Devil Wears Prada) and Helen Mirren (She’s the Queen!) brandishing a mounted machine gun and yukking it up with Bruce Willis in RED.
Producer: I got four words for you: Helen Mirren. Automatic Weapons.
Studio Exec: Loving it! What’s the body count?
Now comes Gwyneth Paltrow guest starring on Glee as an all-singing, all-dancing substitute teacher. I watched her version of Cee Lo’s pop gem, “Forget You” (clean version of course) on YouTube and I thought, this isn’t Shakespeare in Love, this is… this is Moonlight and Valentino with singing! Oh, the humanity!
Marlo Thomas, having been clobbered over the head with hooker heels, will now showcase the complete works of Beyonce.
When one student accuses her of being 40, Gwyneth sasses back, ‘Top 40 sweet cheeks.’ Sweet cheeks? Cringeworthy! Is she channeling Reno 911’s Deputy Trudy Wiegel?
Did I mention that Gwyneth not only gets to sing and dance but that she’s also the Spanish substitute teacher, just so we can marvel at her bilingual abilities! It’s a real Viva Las Vegas kind of gig. You know the plot – Elvis is a race car driver but he sings and dances!
But you see, I have this theory that Paltrow is the Barack Obama of female movie stars. She’s very intelligent, accomplished, works hard, has a cool spouse and two lovely children but is just not the warmest person in the room. I mean, honestly, if you were gonna hit Ladies’ Night with Gwyneth or Katherine Heigl who would you choose? The gal who traded shots with Seth Rogen or the Oscar-winning thespian who mastered a Home Counties accent for Emma?
And I haven’t even mentioned her blog! (It’s goop.com by the way.) When I say ‘almond butter on sprouted grain bread and beet and walnut dip’ as fun alternatives in the school lunchbox’, I AM NOT KIDDING!
Come to think of it, she is Rachel in Glee isn’t she? Even when she tries to lighten up, she’s earnest, diligent… faultless.
But back to “Forget You”. It’s such a fantastic song, it’s hard to mess it up. Gwyneth’s voice is fine, nothing breathtaking but competent. You do cringe when she gets to the mangled cries of ‘Why?’ in the bridge and I wished they’d finessed that a bit. But overall she’s capable, in a Student Council/Debate Captain/yes-we-mock-you-but-we-also-envy-your-Cooking&Travel-show kind of way.
In her next film, Country Strong, she plays this year’s version of Bad Blake (aka Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart) – a country diva fresh out of rehab who hits the road with a younger stud as her opening act. Gwynnie, we will certainly be looking out for you come Oscar time because nothing says ‘Thank you, Academy’ like a strung-out, Southern-accented heroine with cleavage. No doubt your research consisted of watching the entire Jessica Lange collection. I think they should combine the two movies – Country Heart Strong – and send Gwyneth and Jeff on a backwoods road trip in search of a down home creamery butter that’s good for you.
No, make that a creamy almond butter…