A-List: Julia Roberts
By Josh Spiegel
March 19, 2009
There was a time - not too long ago - that Julia Roberts was one of the biggest movie stars in the entire world. After so many years on the top, with hit after hit, Roberts got married, had children, and finally backed off doing tons of big movies. However, it's just about time that she stepped back into the spotlight, and so she will with Duplicity, a slick-looking thriller with Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and Tom Wilkinson alongside her. Roberts has played many roles in her career, from a real-life fighter for the little people to a cold and calculating temptress to the ex-wife of a con to the ex-wife of a con pretending to be...Julia Roberts.
Yes, that last one is confusing, but Roberts can't be faulted for a lack of diversity in her filmography. Even though she's best known for her romantic comedies such as Pretty Woman and My Best Friend's Wedding, the Oscar-winning actress has done much more than look pretty and tell a boy that she's just a girl, telling him that she...well, you know the rest. Like most movie stars, she can't claim perfection throughout all the films she's done (and let's just forget that America's Sweethearts and Runaway Bride ever happened, shall we?). Still, there's a reason she's still one of the most well-known and popular actress in the world. Let's take a look at the best of Julia Roberts.
Roberts was just fine in both Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve, but the strange ride that director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter George Nolfi take the audience through the final third of "Twelve" elevates it in my book. I realize that there are plenty of people who hate the admittedly outlandish twist that requires Roberts' character, Tess Ocean, to pretend to be the actress playing her. Still, with that and the equally out-of-left-field Bruce Willis cameo that features a running gag about the twist ending of The Sixth Sense, I can't help but collapse into giggles every time the frantic hotel room scene with a con that is doomed to fail begins. The rest of the movie - okay, the entire movie - is all about lots of famous people relaxing in Europe, but in her most insane moments, Roberts gives Tess a human face. I can even say I missed her presence from the 2007 sequel Ocean's Thirteen, as good a movie as that was.
Choosing this 1991 family film based on the famous J.M. Barrie story Peter Pan is mostly nostalgic, as this was a movie I watched plenty as I was growing up, ironically. Unlike most family films, Steven Spielberg's had a dark tone to it, especially when watching the adult Peter Pan's son destroying a room full of clocks as he recounted the many times his father had abandoned him for business instead of pleasure. As the irrepressible fairy Tinker Bell, Roberts is actually an inspired choice, even during the odd sequence where Tinker Bell, blown up to human-size height, tells Peter (Robin Williams, looking a bit too old to be lusted after by such a young woman) exactly how she feels about him. No matter; her performance is spritely and enjoyable even when some of the other actors become too shrill.