It seems that everywhere you look these days -- billboards, magazine covers, late night television, the Google news feed -- Anne Hathaway's face is in your face.
Sure, we know she's promoting one movie premiere (One Day, which opens Friday) and generating pre-buzz for another (The Dark Knight), and we know that it's in her contract to put those movies -- and herself -- on the radar of potential ticket buyers. But where is the tipping point where self-promotion backfires? When might potential viewers opt to see another movie, just because they are tired of looking at her?
Not that she is hard on the eyes, of course. There are a lot of reasons to like Hathaway -- her imperfect beauty, her Brooklyn roots, her charity work, her terrible taste in men. She's never needed to be the thinnest or best dressed girl on the red carpet (though she often is), and she seems to have a radically healthy attitude towards aging, as indicated by comments she made at a recent premiere. (Still, I'd like to see her revisit the question ten years from now, after the leading lady roles have dried up.)
Hathaway's performances in Rachel Getting Married and The Devil Wears Prada are almost good enough to forgive the grotesque vaudevillian spectacle that was the 2011 Academy Awards show. And while the jury seems to be out on her believability as a Brit in One Day, the actress is refreshingly free of delusions about her success in nailing the dialect. I used to think that I was the bee's knees when it came to a British accent, but now I know better. Who cares what people say? Hathaway told the New York Daily News.
Okay, but...if she doesn't care what people say, then why is she trying so hard to get people to talk about her?
To be fair, the paparazzi rap was pretty good, as far as pseudo-improvised publicity stunts go. Indeed, the girl can spit a rhyme. But she makes her living as a performer -- why should we be so surprised?
Given the considerable street cred Natalie Portman's Saturday Night Live rap earned her, it's impossible not to suspect Hathaway of angling for likeability points with her pre-rehearsed Batarazzi.
But here's the thing about street cred: It finds you, not the other way around.
Whenever a celebrity makes a hysterical effort to appear down to earth and accessible, it betrays a presumption on her (or her handlers') part that she is anything but.
While we appreciate the fact that Hathaway doesn't pretend a size 2 figure is an effortless act of nature, her unrelenting references to how difficult it is to slim down for a role are getting tiresome. And her claim that she saw herself in The Jersey Shore's Snooki was just bizarre. Every self-deprecating comment she makes feels more insincere than the one before.
Maybe, at 29, Hathaway is unconsciously struggling with some kind of Hollywood-specific midlife crisis (after all, she is climbing towards the top of the hill in box-office years). Maybe she is more embarrassed about the Oscar-hosting fiasco than she is willing to admit. Or perhaps, she is simply feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of carrying not one but two movies that studios are counting on to bread their butter for the year.
Any of the above would be understandable. But it's time for Hathaway to dial it down. WAY down.
Anne, if you're listening: We like you. We really, really like you. Don't make us change our minds.