Career Assessment: Anne Hathaway Needs to Stretch - NBC Chicago
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Career Assessment: Anne Hathaway Needs to Stretch



    Anne Hathaway's "One Day, " about two friends from college who come together every year on the anniversary of their first meeting, opened Friday, and the reviews were even worse than the box office. The film scored 27% at Rotten Tomatoes while barely limping past $5 million--to be fair that was on only 1,700 screens, but still had to be considered a major disappointment for a film starring Hathaway.

    This was the first time since 2008's "Rachel Getting Married" that Hathaway was the sole lead of a film. While her immediate future is reasonably secure with her role as Catwoman in the upcoming "Dark Knight Rises," the "success" of "One Day" has to give pause.

    Hathaway's been a lot of things: A Disney kid; a toples actress; and a serious actress.

    But she hasn't yet carried a film, even one as modest in scope and apsiriations as "One Day."

 We'd like to see her stretch a bit and take on meatier roles that play against type, such as her turn as a rehab failure in "Rachel's Getting Married." Here's a look back:

    Disney Kid
    Disney was the perfect launching pad for Hathaway, whose long neck, porcelain skin and delicate features made her a natural for all things fairy tale or even vaguely Victorian. During shooting of her first film, 2001's "The Other Side of Heaven," in which she played the girlfriend of a Mormon missionary sent off to Tonga, the folks at Disney were impressed enough that they cast her in "The Princess Diaries," as a regular teen who learns she's the crown princess of a small European nation. The film grossed over $100 million, spawned a sequel and put Hathaway on the map. From there she starred in films like "Ella Enchanted", "Nicholas Nickleby" and  "Becoming Jane"—the latter two requiring her to wear almost identical bonnets.


    Hathaway clearly began to feel to like she needed to start taking edgier roles that showed she wasn't just a corporate princess, and that's how she ended up in the 2005 direct-to-video film "Havoc," playing a teen with a robust appetite for drugs and sex. Watching the trailer one might wonder what the hell Hathaway and her people were thinking, even if it was written by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan, directed by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple. Because "Havoc" never made it to theaters, and was released before everyone used BitTorrent, it didn’t make a dent in her reputation ("Havoc" is the kind of film that will get released on Blu-ray the week before "Dark Knight Rises" opens). Hathaway's move toward adult roles finally began to pay off with a small part as Jake Gyllenhaal's beard in "Brokeback Mountain," and later the lead in Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married," in which she played a chain-smoking self-destructive rehab failure story, earning her first Oscar nomination.

Box Office Success
    Hathaway then started making more commercial films, sharing the screen with Steve Carell in "Get Smart," and Meryl Streep in 206's "The Devil Wears Prada." However, she went a bit too far in 2009, starring alongside Kate Hudson in "Bride Wars." After carefully choosing projects that had her working with people who were talented, well liked and/or successful, she inexplicably joined forces with Hudson, a woman with an uncommon knack for making bad films. 

    "Bride Wars" was an unusually poor choice by Team Hathaway, one from which we're not convinced she's recovered. She's since made "Love and Other Drugs," "Valentine's Day," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Rio." Of those, it was only in the first one that had her in a live-action lead role, and it was also the one that failed to make $100 million—or even $40 million, for that matter.

    Further bruising the Hathaway brand was her unfortunate Oscar show co-hosting stint with James Franco. While most of the blame for the show's failure was directed at him, she caught a few stray bullets. s.

    "One Day" isn't the end of the line for Hathaway, obviously. She's gorgeous, talented, versatile and people like her, but after getting off to a piping hot start, her career has been in a holding pattern for a while now. "Dark Knight Rises" will give her a nice bump, but its release is nearly a year away, so in the interim, she should probably do something other than rap about how much she hates the paparazzi.