As a fledgling journalist, I have spent a lot of time researching and working to improve my writing. I’ve paid particular attention to the few film reviews that I’ve done. That being said, it disgusts me when I see someone who has spent a lifetime in journalism become so irrelevant that he has to resort to name calling and personal attacks. This is exactly what film critic Rex Reed did in his recent review of Identity Thief starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.
It was obvious that Reed didn’t care for the film. He obviously found it ridiculous. Unfortunately, instead of writing a scathing review discussing the issues he had with the film, he chose to write a piece that a freshman journalism student wouldn’t even have written. Amidst the overly detailed explanation of the scenes he found ridiculous Reed took the time to throw in a couple of jabs at Melissa McCarthy. Of course, he didn’t make any reference to her ability to play the role. He simply made childish comments about her weight.
His comments, listed below, have caused a stir in Hollywood and social media:
In the trashy, stupefying screenplay by Craig Mazin, Jason Bateman is a Denver accountant named Sandy Patterson—another in a long line of victims of the increasingly dangerous world of cyber-crime—whose credit card has been hacked and copied by a felonious thief in Miami (cacophonous, tractor-sized Melissa McCarthy).
The snafus in the worst road movie since The Guilt Trip plunge Mr. Bateman and his female hippo into a motel with only a double bed
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) is a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.
As I typically do with any article, I did some research before writing…something Reed probably should learn to do. I found that, not only are Reed’s comments completely out of line, but he doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about at all. Ms. McCarthy began her career in stand-up comedy in the 90’s. She studied dramatic acting at the Actor’s Studio and performed with The Groundlings, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe and school based in Los Angeles. Since the late 90’s, she has had various television and film roles including stints on The Gilmore Girls and Mike & Molly (which is still in production). Her film credits include Bridesmaids, for which she won 8 awards and was nominated for another 21 awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also won an Emmy in 2011 for her work in Mike & Molly. See how hard that was Mr. Reed? It didn’t even take me that long to discover that she has had an award-winning 15 year career in film and television.
Getting to the more disgusting parts of the review, we have the multiple insults about Ms. McCarthy’s weight. I’ve always thought that these kinds of insults were the last resort of someone who had nothing intelligent to say. This seems to be the case with this review. Perhaps Reed knows that he has lost relevance and is attempting to gain popularity by creating controversy. This isn’t the first time he has stirred the pot. In 1992, he claimed that there was a cover-up about Jack Palance being confused, drunk, or stoned and reading the winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress incorrectly, giving it to Marissa Tomei. In 2005, he wrote a bigoted review of the South Korean film Oldboy, saying, “What else can you expect from a nation weaned on kimchi, a mixture of raw garlic and cabbage buried underground until it rots, dug up from the grave and then served in earthenware pots sold at the Seoul airport as souvenirs?”
In 2009, Reed appeared in the documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. In the film, he discussed the importance of film critics in the 70’s and complained about the growth of internet critics that he considers unqualified. This appears to be the extent of his relevance. I suggest that Mr. Reed either goes back to the 70’s, when his pathetic attempt at film review would have been considered relevant or consider retirement. It’s pretty bad when many of those “unqualified” voices on the internet are creating more interesting and relevant reviews than a man who has spent decades in the field.
Without getting into Reed’s physical appearance, I will give my review of his abilities. He is an obnoxious, washed-up bigot who needs to realize that he is obsolete and retire. If the only thing you have to contribute is that an actress is overweight, you obviously don’t belong in the field of journalism. The New York Observer should, at a minimum, issue an apology to Ms. McCarthy. They would do well to replace Reed with a critic who has proven that he is no longer obsolete. I know there would be a line of potential critics lining up for the job…and I would be willing to bet that all of them could write a review that had more to offer than an uninformed opinion of an actress’s weight.