Every morning the posters from When in Rome, the rom-com starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, taunt me. This movie will suck and potentially ruin their careers. There is nothing wrong with sticking to TV. Actually, it's their best bet.
Many actors would benefit by realizing that they just aren't cut out to be movie stars. There are only so many positions for people who can make a shitload of money for a movie just by having their name over the marquee and it doesn't make them any less of a person or worse of an actor if they are not one of them.
Bell and Duhamel are two of these actors. Bell is a great in comedies, a pretty spit fire, but she just doesn't have that je ne sais quoi to make her a Reese Witherspoon. Duhamel is a great hunk of meat and a serviceable actor, but the reason people plopped down big money to see him in the Transformers movies has less to do with his dimples and more to do with the shape-shifting cars that he was herding around the universe.
Here is their choice: They can either be middling movie stars—playing girlfriend roles, doing actiony bits, and starring in schlocky pumped-up Lifetime Television Movies—or they can be gigantic television stars. Bell needs to get herself either a Samantha Who-style comedy (but with some greater staying power) where she can be hot, bitchy, and fun or a drama with a little bit of a sci-fi edge to appease her loyal (and sizable) fan-boy following. If she gets a hit, she's talking a huge pay day. Just look at Kyra Sedgwick, who pulls in $250K an episode for The Closer (and that is cable!), which must round out to be way more than she's making for When In Rome or to have third billing in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Multiply that by the number of years her show stays on the air and syndication rights, and she's made for a lifetime.
Same with Duhamel. NBC has five hours of prime-time programming it has to fill and could sure use a subversive spy drama (or maybe a procedural?) with a sexy male star. I think we know a perfect candidate. He'll have a much longer shelf-life and a whole lot more respect doing that than trying to be the poor man's Ryan Reynolds. Sorry, Josh is not going to be the next Tom Cruise, raking in $20 a flick and commanding a huge audience. He's just not. But if he keeps trying to be, he's going to ruin his shot at TV.
Just like those crappy ads on at 2am, it's time for them to act now. Right now, hot off their movie successes and the goodwill their previous television programs have engendered, they can probably command a high salary and have their pick of a series. If they tank a bunch at the Cineplex and compromise themselves by making some direct-to-DVD horror movies, then they'll have the stink of failure on them and they'll be right where Chris O'Donnell was before NCIS: A Different City rescued his ass or where Patrick Dempsey was pre-McDreamy.
So please, everyone, stop torturing us with your bad movie posters. The next time we see your face, we want it to be on our television screens instead. It's where most of you belong.