Steve, can I be frank? I used to want to marry you. I didn’t mind that you were prematurely gray and twice my age. Your humor was smart and funny with an edge and silliness that made you unique. You studied magic and philosophy, working both into your routines. You took risks—Pennies from Heaven was a big one—and turned noir on its head in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. You learned the banjo and even won a Grammy for your music while picking up plenty of comedy and acting awards along the way. The Jerk was brilliant. You wrote screenplays like Roxanne, a twist on Cyrano de Bergerac, and a couple solid novels; Shopgirl even transitioned nicely to the screen.
So, what’s happened?
At what point did you decide to slam your career into neutral and coast your way into a path of fluffy roles when you’re capable of more? Plenty of your movies were hits, even if I felt they were mediocre. Because they were family movies (Parenthood, Father of the Bride), I let them slide, and OK, I even liked them when I was young and less of a movie snob. When you rebounded with a serious, sinister role in The Spanish Prisoner, I thought: Steve’s back! But then you slacked off again with a string of questionable movies: Bowfinger, Bringing Down the House, Cheaper by the Dozen and now: Baby Mama where you play a regrettable ponytailed new age guru, which was more caricature than character. Oh, Steve. I miss the old you. Is phoning in this light fare your way of retiring? Because I gotta be honest; for me, it’s just tiring.