Call In Winston Wolfe: Let’s Save Ryan Reynolds’ Career

The Projector
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This was supposed to be the Summer of Ryan. With "Green Lantern" and "The Change-Up," Ryan Reynolds was on course to cement his place on the A-list, proving he could be both an action hero and a comic star. Sadly, it didn't happen, even though "Green Lantern" made more than $100 million. We really like this guy, but even we have to admit that he needs some guidance getting his career back on track. That's where The Wolf comes in.

He's Winston Wolfe. He solves problems. He's here to help.

Here's how to fix your career, Ryan.

1. Don't panic. We have no hard evidence to back this up, but our sense is that people don't dislike you -- they're just not thrilled with the movies you picked. And there are reasons your recent films didn't do well that have nothing to do with you. "Green Lantern" was just a mess, and "The Change-Up" suffered because it was at the tail-end of a summer full of other R-rated comedies. So just take a deep breath, laugh it off, and move forward, man. Bad movies happen to likeable blokes all the time.

2. No superheroes. While promoting "The Change-Up," you talked about wanting to do "R.I.P.D." and "Deadpool." We think that's a mistake. Right now, any movie you do based on a comic book will just remind people of "Green Lantern." And, yes, we understand that the movie actually performed OK, but the film's failure has nothing to do with that. It's all about perception: Everyone heard how expensive that film was, so it had to justify the cost by being a colossal hit. It wasn't. Doing another superhero/graphic novel/fanboy movie suggests that you're desperate to prove you can be an action star. That puts just as much pressure on that film to be a hit. You don't need that, especially for risky second-tier commercial properties. It's not too late to pull out of "R.I.P.D.," is it?

3. Don't do "The Proposal 2." The first "Proposal" was a commercial smash, and you were fun in it. So why not sign up for a sequel? Thankfully, Disney doesn't seem interested, and you shouldn't either. In case the studio changes its mind and decides to wave money at you to do it, here's why you should pass: Comedy sequels just about never work. (Right, "The Hangover Part II" was a juggernaut. But do you know anybody who actually liked it?) We're tired of seeing you in movies in which you're better than the material. Even if your buddy Sandra Bullock begs and pleads, don't do it, man.

4. Get dramatic. Last year's "Buried" was, well, buried, by Lionsgate, but it contains one of your best performances as a guy trapped in a box buried underground. It's a movie that required you to be on camera (in tight quarters) the whole time, and you were both compelling and darkly comic in it. Just about nobody saw the movie, but it proved you could do something tonally tricky like that. In a parallel reality, you could have been the guy in "127 Hours," a well-regarded drama that boosted James Franco's career. Dramatic roles where you get to show a sense of humor are hard to pull off, but it seems to come to you naturally. (In another under-seen film, "Adventureland," you were equally good.) Seek out roles like that -- and we don't mean in comic book movies.

5. Sweep us off our feet. It's time for you to retire the dude persona and become a romantic leading man. You've got sincerity, you've got charisma, you've got the looks. Every woman we know loves you. These are huge assets, and they would be killer in a great romantic comedy or drama. You've done a few already -- "Just Friends," "The Proposal," "Definitely, Maybe" -- but none of them were great. If you can find that script, move heaven and earth to get cast in it. We really think this is your ticket. You're already swoon-worthy; now is the opportunity to fully capitalize on it.

There you go, Mr. Reynolds. That should do it.