Forgive the blunt headline, but really, nothing else would do. While the overwhelming majority of reviewers who were forced to endure it (including Bryan here) concluded that the new comedy ‘Identity Thief’ is a pretty bad movie, longtime New York Observer film critic and former television personality Rex Reed crossed a line with some particularly nasty personal insults for star Melissa McCarthy.
In his review of the movie, Reed describes the actress as “tractor-sized,” a “female hippo,” and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” The remarks about McCarthy’s weight are simply beyond the pale, and the comment about her career only serves to demonstrate Reed’s own ignorance and laziness as a critic. Although she recently scored a lot of attention for her scene-stealing, admittedly-crass role in ‘Bridesmaids‘, McCarthy first came to fame playing a very warm, lovely character for seven seasons on the drama ‘The Gilmore Girls’, and there’s little obnoxious about her character in the sit-com ‘Mike & Molly’ (currently in its third season) either. Even if he doesn’t watch a lot of TV, any critic worth his salt should take the time to research the actress’s career before making broad, declarative statements about it. For that matter, his editors at the newspaper should have taken him to task for his lack of fact-checking.
Ironically, Reed himself has devoted much of his own career to being an obnoxious ass. After Marisa Tomei won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for ‘My Cousin Vinny‘ back in 1993, Reed started a rumor that presenter Jack Palance had called out the wrong name because he couldn’t read the announcement card, and that the Academy engaged in a “massive cover-up” to avoid the embarrassment of admitting the mistake. A later review of the Korean revenge thriller ‘Oldboy‘ sparked controversy for borderline-racist insults about the Korean people.
In response to the review, McCarthy’s ‘Bridesmaids’ director Paul Feig struck back on Twitter by writing:
For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go f**k himself.
I first became aware of McCarthy when watching the mindtrippy film The Nines, as well as the hilarious short “God”, by the same writer-director (John August) and appearing on the same DVD I rented. On the basis of these two films I thought she was a fantastic actress whom I wanted to see in more work; sadly for me, she keeps acting in projects I really don’t care to see. At the time I discovered her, I was concerned that her non-Hollywood-starlet physique would impede her career; clearly Reed would love for it to do just that. Whether or not she’s a hippo, he is quite the pig.
I first saw her in Gilmore Girls a few years ago, when my ex wanted to watch ’em all. They were light hearted fun, and she was very good in it. I think the title of this post perfectly sums up that critic. I suppose he should go back in time and start criticising every John Candy movie. After all, he was clearly only such a big comedy star because of his size. Nothing to do with his acting or comedic timing and delivery…
As you pointed out, Josh, Reed has been doing this kind of “journalism” for YEARS. He’s constantly making snide remarks about the actors instead of doing his real job: reviewing the film at hand. The only shock here is that anyone is surprised that Rex would degrade an actor in his review.
No, I was surprised he was
A) Still alive.
B) Still had a job. (Hopefully not for long)
If he wasn’t such an ass most people wouldn’t know how he was and would have ask their grandparent’s (shudder) who that guy talking to Lois Lane is in Donner’s “Superman”.
The flip side is The New Yorker critics, who like to make fun of movie audiences. Denby and Lane don’t even seem to like movies.
The big question: why is he allowed to keep his job? There are countless better/kinder/nicer critics who would give an arm and a leg to get his gig.
The truly odd thing is that some dumbass editor let this go by. He’ll probably be fired before Reed unfortunately.