Wednesday, November 21, 2007
James Marsden: Unlucky in Love?
Having just seen Enchanted (my quick review: delightful—and Amy Adams pretty much rules), I feel compelled to discuss the curious case of James Marsden.
Now, take a good look at the picture above. There he is: Delicate bone structure, piercing blue eyes (artfully color coordinated with his tie and shirt, I may add), tulip-shaped lips, a head of hair that would make Bruce Willis weep—pretty much spectacular, huh? So why, I ask you, is this man constantly being cast as the cuckold, the heroine’s second choice?
It started, innocuously enough, with The Notebook. In that, he was the overly polished fiancée of Rachel McAdams. We knew she belonged with scruffy, ardent Ryan Gosling. The fact that Marsden is empirically better looking than Gosling (who can look like a dashing leading man one minute and a claymation Fred Astaire in the next) only added to the romance. No, no, no, she doesn’t want the perfect suitor. She wants our perfectly flawed hero instead.
But it continued. Next up, Marsden was in a little-seen film called The Heights (not great, but worth checking out). In that film, he played a gay man struggling to be the perfect heterosexual mate to his fiancée. The problem is, once his betrothed (Elizabeth Banks) finds out that future hubby is gay, she seems relieved to be rid of him. Again, I encourage you to look at the above picture. If this dude were my fiancée and I discovered he was gay, I would be pulling my hair out, rocking back and forth in a corner. Oh, and also. . . I’d probably marry him anyway. But not the Banks’ character. She’s like, “Later.”
Marsden is probably best known for his role as Cyclops in the X-Men movies. And I don’t need to tell you that Cyclops is involved with Jean Grey and she pretty much craves bad boy Wolverine. Once again, as with The Notebook, Marsden plays the sweet, dutiful boyfriend who just isn’t the hunka hunka sex machine that is our male lead.
Moving right along, we’ve got Marsden in Superman Returns. You guessed it. He’s Lois Lane’s freakin’ fiancée! I think we all know that she only has eyes for The Boyfriend of Steel. As for the child who Marsden thinks is his—suffice it to say, the little dude is very, very strong.
And last night I see Enchanted. This is what sent me over the edge. Same deal: James Marsden is a dashing animated prince (come to life) pursuing his “one and only” while she’s making googly eyes at McDreamy. Guess how this fairy tale ends.
Okay, people, what gives?
It seems fairly obvious that Marsden is, in fact, too handsome for his own good. We want our male lead to have some sort of humanizing flaw. Marsden is cursed by his own physical perfection. Still, you’d think at least occasionally he’d get to play the guy who, you know, gets the girl. In real life, I’m pretty sure Marsden has no trouble getting the girl (or the boy, or whatever he’s into). And I’m pretty sure his partner isn’t looking over his or her shoulder thinking, “Yes, he's an Adonis. But is he really right for me?”*
*I just read on imdb.com that Marsden is married with 2 kids. Let's just hope that Clark Kent doesn't move in next door.