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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 03/17/2009

Julia Roberts: Comeback Kid?

By Liz Kelly

"I'm baaaa-aaaack." So said Julia Roberts in the March 20 Entertainment Weekly.

Maybe it's all those "Oceans" cameos or the turn as a blond Texas tigress in 2007's "Charlie Wilson's War," but it doesn't much feel like Julia Roberts has been gone. And in fact, she has been working somewhat steadily -- if quietly -- all along.

But the erstwhile reigning queen of rom-coms, who put her career on the back burner to raise a family (twins Finn and Hazel are 3, son Henry is almost two), is positioning this weekend's upcoming release of "Duplicity" as a return to leading lady form.

But can she succeed where others have failed? Meg Ryan's own attempt to break back into the big time -- 2008's "The Women" -- fell embarrassingly flat. Sandra Bullock hasn't been able to land a rom-com since 2006's stinker "The Lake House." And, for better or worse, a new crop of starlets -- Katherine Heigl, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Aniston -- have moved to the top of casting agents' list for box office bankability.

According to IMDB.com, Roberts only has one other announced project in the pipeline, "Friday Night Knitting Club." And a movie about "A group of women form a bond when they meet at a small knitting shop in New York," doesn't scream box office dominance.

Though, Roberts may have a chance despite the typically tough climate for over-40 actresses. Hollywood has been quick to line up projects to attract the suddenly marketable demographic of women in their 30s and 40s that made "Sex and the City" a box office smash.

But you tell me...

By Liz Kelly  | March 17, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Insta-Polls  
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Comments

I know I'm going to be stuck tagging along to that movie about frisky corporate spies. My wife sees nearly every Julia Roberts movie made. We even saw 'I Love Trouble.' At full price. And paid a babysitter.

And she did slum on Brodway for a little while on the mommy-track:

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2006/04/stalking-julia.html

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I've always been a big fan of Ms. Roberts. Even though her acting can sometimes be hammy, she has always seemed level headed and focused (questionable marriage to Lyle Lovett aside). She can laugh at herself, but she can rein it in and be hard hitting as well.
I do want to see Duplicity. Sure, it might not win an Oscar, but it will be entertaining.

And I maintain that Julia won the Oscar for Erin Brockovich because she wore a tshirt from my high school during one scene. Go cougars!

Posted by: eet7e | March 17, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I, too, will probably see Duplicity, for a simple, two-word reason: Clive Owen. Mmmmmm.

Regarding Ms. Roberts in this role, I find her more believable as an ex-CIA agent than I would Meg Ryan, because Julia has played parts other than the rom-com heroine. Meg Ryan may have been type-cast (as Tom Hanks' girlfriend), but I don't remember that she fought it much. Sandra Bullock could probably play a spy, but I find her more all-American girl-next-door cute than cosmopolitan-sexy, which this film seems to call for. (This is also the problem with Jennifer Aniston as a Bond Girl, but that's a different blog post).

Posted by: northgs | March 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Comeback? Is she putting out a country music album?

Posted by: mdreader01 | March 17, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Comeback? Is she putting out a country music album?

Posted by: mdreader01 | March 17, 2009 1:42 PM

--------------------------------------------
If she does, I hope she includes the tune, "What's that gerbil got that I ain't got?"

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 17, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess I feel the same way about Julia Roberts as Liz does about Diane Keaton. I just don't get the Julia-love. The hyper self-awareness and hybrid horse-shark mouth makes my stomach turn.

Posted by: jelo | March 17, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of comebacks, Carol Burnett channels Norma Desmond on Law and Order: SVU tonight.

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 17, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of comebacks, Carol Burnett channels Norma Desmond on Law and Order: SVU tonight.

The question is whether she's reduced to doing a parody of her old film parodies.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | March 17, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of comebacks, Carol Burnett channels Norma Desmond on Law and Order: SVU tonight.

The question is whether she's reduced to doing a parody of her old film parodies.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | March 17, 2009 2:39 PM

Check it out on NBC.com.

And I agree, it's a delicate balance, which requires a strong director.

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 17, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

northgs, I am so with you. I'm seeing "Duplicity" for Clive Owen, period.

Not that I don't like Julia-I actually really do. Thought she was great in "Erin Brockovich", and "Notting Hill" (which, even though it's a cheesy rom com, is pretty durn funny). But Clive Owen, wowsa.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | March 17, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Meh, I could take it or leave it. Having read that Friday Night Knitting Club book, I can say that one's going to be a stinker unless the island script writer gets to work on it.

Posted by: petalceleb | March 17, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I haven't liked Julia Roberts in a movie since "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."

Posted by: mdreader01 | March 17, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

But Clive Owen, wowsa.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | March 17, 2009 3:08 PM

I gotta get me some of that.

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 17, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Aniston is a "starlet"?

I totally agree on Clive Owen's wowsa-ness.

Posted by: duhneese | March 17, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm coming off a low grade, afternoon pub crawl (four Bushmills, neat/three pubs) but I'm still sober enough to say, I canna stand Julia Roberts. No matter how much I love Clive Owens, I'll not be seein' 'Duplicity,' and it's because of Ms. Roberts.

Posted by: pras40 | March 17, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

er..that's Clive Owen. Not Owens.
mea *hiccup* culpa

Posted by: pras40 | March 17, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Clive Owen - yum. Always yum.

Per Julia Roberts:

She is still gorgeous, still has that fabulous smile and laugh, and still has that undefinable quality that makes her watchable. (Just being pretty/beautiful isn't enough.)

A few years ago, my husband and I were watching "Mona Lisa Smile" on TV. My husband commented at one point: "Julia Roberts is at least 15 years older than all the other girls in this movie, and she's the hottest one."

I think she'll have a niche in years to come, and it will be a healthy, bankable one.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | March 17, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Me no lika the Julia either, it's the narcissism, I think. Maybe also because the media acts like we're all supposed to love her. Ick.

And to northgs, I just have to say that Meg Ryan certainly tried to fight being just in the rom-com roles. She did the one movie with Denzel and Matt Damon where she was an Army officer, she did a kind of dark drama with Dennis Quaid (I never saw that) and she did a movie where she was an alcoholic, among others. I just don't think people accepted her in those other roles, but for myself I always thought she was good in them when she stretched. Just had to correct the facts, don't mind me...

Posted by: msame | March 17, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Weird factoid - that movie where Meg Ryan was an alcoholic? "When a Man Loves A Woman." It was written by Al Franken. I remember thinking when it came out "So this is the other side of the Stuart Smiley coin." But then - there was so much more to come. The man is a piece of work. Not a bad movie either.

Posted by: Roxie1 | March 17, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Ok, just because it irks me when we call movies flops that make people a lot of money.

Per boxofficemojo.com
"The Women" Cost $16 million to make. It made $48.7 million worldwide.

"The Lake House"
Cost $40million to make. It made $114 million wordlwide

Sounds like people made money on these movies.

Posted by: bravegal | March 18, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

She's long in the tooth.

Posted by: kabuki3 | March 18, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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