An open letter to Steve Martin:
I love ya, baby, but you need to stop and evaluate your career. I’d suggest you sit down with Bill Murray to do so. What do you want, Steve? Big paychecks? I know your expenses are high, since you collect modern art. If so, keep churning out those remakes, and remakes of remakes, like Cheaper By the Dozen (two of them!), Sgt. Bilko, The Pink Panther, The Out-of-Towners, and Father of the Bride parts one and two. The first part of Bride was okay; the first part of Cheaper sucked so bad we didn’t see the second … and there’s the problem, Steve. Your name has been so tarnished by cash-in stuff like that, and like the awful Bringing Down the House that we didn’t bother with stuff like Bilko and Panther … and with Bowfinger, which I heard might actually have been funny. Are there other movies you’ve done that are good and we didn’t see because the brand name “Steve Martin” is now so tacky with unnecessary remakes?
You have done your “Wild and Crazy Guy” period, and I loved it, from The Jerk to The Man With Two Brains. But your second movie, Pennies From Heaven, served notice that you weren’t a one-note guy, that you weren’t going to be satisfied to be Chevy Chase (and look what’s happened to him!). You did All of Me, a comedy with a lot of smarts. Ditto Roxanne. Then one heck of a string of really great comedies: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; L.A. Story; Housesitter; and Parenthood. In there was a completely serious and great performance in Grand Canyon. So we know you can be funny, and you can be serious, often both at the same time, that you have aspirations, and want to stretch. But what have we gotten in the last decade? Your work has been 90% crap.
Make up your mind, Steve. Shopgirl is damn good, but if you bookend it with Cheaper By the Dozen and The Pink Panther, you’re going to disappoint everyone. I urge you to follow Bill Murray’s example, put your money where your mouth is. Or in 20 years you’re going to be sitting in the back seat of a car with Rod Steiger’s corpse blubbering “I coulda been a contendah!”