This weekend, the new Reese Witherspoon vehicle This Means War will be released.
The movie marks a turning point in Witherspoon’s career, one in which has taken a considerable hit since winning her first and only Oscar for Walk the Line in 2006.
Witherspoon has fallen into a familiar trap: that of the beautiful young Academy Award recipient who fails to make decent film choices after the ceremony.
Some call the award both a blessing and a curse, as there is a huge amount of pressure for those who win to continue their success afterwards.
Choosing projects is a hard task in of itself; one day you can be the star of Knocked Up commanding millions of dollars per film and the next, you can be struggling to open any film and have to defend middling reviews.
But when you’re an Oscar winner, your choices are monitored even more. Your box office and critical disaster becomes a disappointment since people know that you have more potential.
Halle Berry has struggled to remain the critical draw she once was before winning the Oscar in 2002 for Monster’s Ball.
Russell Crowe has failed to replicate his success after Gladiator took copious wins in 2001.
Even Tom Hanks has trouble choosing decent projects. It’s difficult to believe that he had a string of both critical and box office hits in the nineties.
Some have managed to escape the trap. Jeff Bridges has been enjoying the peak of his career since winning the Oscar in 2010 for Crazy Heart.
Witherspoon’s track record so far hasn’t been as generous. Flops including Just Like Heaven (2005), Rendition (2007) and How Do You Know (2010) have somehow not derailed her A-List career.
According to New York Magazine, This Means War is not tracking well. Although the film received decent reviews, chances are Witherspoon will add this movie to her long list of post-Oscar failings.
We can only hope that the winners of the 2012 Academy Awards will make better choices in the future.