Every once in a while, we have a Smackdown decided purely on brain power and wit rather than muscle. That’s the case with this edition, which pits the new baseball drama, Moneyball, against the Facebook origin saga, The Social Network. The heroes of both films, the Oakland Athletics’ intellectual general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) in the former, and hyper-ambitious computer wonk Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in the latter, are portrayed as iconoclastic eggheads introducing disruptive new concepts to their respective fields. […]
Ashton Kutcher has led a charmed life. Since breaking out as a sitcom star with That ‘70s Show in 1998, he married Hot Babe Brat-Packer-Turned-Actress-Turned-Celebrity Demi Moore and produced and hosted a veritable buttload of mindless but lucrative reality shows. Now, the undisputed Twitter king and anti-child-pornography crusader, he’s been recruited to fill the puke-stained shoes of Charlie Sheen on sitcom cash cow Two and a Half Men, leaving America relieved that Sheen did not, despite concerns, do enough cocaine to kill two and a half men, but at the same time alarmed by the potential disruption this will cause to Ashton’s film career.
Yes, Kutcher has also starred in several movies, the lion’s share of which were broad comedies largely ignored by America, fortunately for Kutcher (and America). Earlier this year, however, it seemed like he was dipping his toes into the water of more mature projects such as No Strings Attached, a fairly realistic comedy/drama/romance, which featured no less than two Oscar winners as well as that Indian chick from The Office (Mindy Kaling).
With Kutcher set to (temporarily at least) abandon filmdom for TMZ’s favorite sitcom, it’s time to evaluate his still-young career once and for all: Is Kutcher a major movie talent whose agents having trouble finding him the right projects, or did his film career peak early with Dude, Where’s My Car, essentially a rehashing, so to speak, of his success on That ‘70s Show, thus making his U-turn back to sitcom-land a wise career move?
Some films arrive with a fanfare of critical acclaim and a flurry of publicity and positive buzz. Since studio PR machines work overtime, such spin hardly guarantees greatness. Pedigree helps considerably; Aaron Sorkin, in spite of all his personal demons and occasional misfires, remains a critical darling, the smartest and cleverest fellow in just about any room. Director David Fincher hasn’t failed big yet either; critics are disposed to like whatever he delivers them, and so The Social Network opens with a golden stamp of near-universal pre-approval. […]