Can you remember a time before Ryan Reynolds? No, neither can I. I was going to write an essay outlining why I think he might either be a) a time-traveller or b) an alien, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. The problem with Ryan Reynolds is not where he came from (Canada, according to Wikipedia, but that is surely a guess). It’s not his ridiculously alliterative name, nor is it his perfect hair. It’s not even his alarmingly strong jaw. No, the real problem with Ryan is that as an actor, I just don’t know what to do with him.
I am a man, and like all men, I like lists. I have lists for everything. Albums, alcoholic beverages, clouds, dinosaurs, amusing pictures of cats on the internet, crisps, stages of tiredness, the various items of clothing I don’t keep in my wardrobe for reasons I won’t go into, Germans. I have lists for everything. One of my favourite lists is my list of male leading actors. It is broken down into four categories (I love categories as well):
A: Unique, innovative, creative actors – e.g. Heath Ledger, Christian Bale
B: Boring, pointless box-office favourites – e.g. Shia LaBeouf, Danny Dyer
C: Solid, dependable, if uninspiring actors – e.g. Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr
D: Handsome men who can’t really act – e.g. Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman
And here is the problem. Where the hell does Ryan go?
I think we can safely say that Ryan is never going to make it into the hallowed ranks of Category A. For starters, he seems far too normal, and true Category A members are all a bit mental. Can you see Ryan converting to Bale’s single-apple-a-day diet for a role like The Machinist? Can you see him actually becoming The Joker and living like a psychotic recluse as Ledger did for The Dark Knight? Ryan seems like the kinda guy who enjoys a good steak, and probably goes to the pub with the rest of the crew after he’s finished shooting for the day.
We can also rule out Category B. There are many minor reasons as to why he cannot be slotted in here, but they are all dwarfed by the fact that Ryan is simply too handsome for this category.
This leaves us with Category C and Category D. At first glance, Ryan seems like a shoe-in for Category D. He is unquestionably handsome, and was unspeakably bad in films like Definitely, Maybe, The Proposal and Adventureland. Surely this category was made for him? Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as it seems, because after that horrific run of dribbling nonsense, Ryan went and starred in a genuinely good film called Buried, and worse still, he actually played the part very well. He was so good in fact, that he is now knocking firmly on the door of Category C.
So, the million-dollar question. Can the strength of one good performance undo the awful memories of a run of bad performances, and allow Ryan to finally take his place among the George Clooneys and Daniel Craigs of the acting world?
No, it can’t. Into Category D with you, you handsome devil.