Movies

Sarah Jessica Parker: I Don't Know Whether She Does It

Sarah Jessica Parker stars in I Don't Know How She Does It, the first film in a while that has relied so heavily on her — but not on her television career. i i

Sarah Jessica Parker stars in I Don't Know How She Does It, the first film in a while that has relied so heavily on her — but not on her television career. Craig Blankenhorn/The Weinstein Company hide caption

itoggle caption Craig Blankenhorn/The Weinstein Company
Sarah Jessica Parker stars in I Don't Know How She Does It, the first film in a while that has relied so heavily on her — but not on her television career.

Sarah Jessica Parker stars in I Don't Know How She Does It, the first film in a while that has relied so heavily on her — but not on her television career.

Craig Blankenhorn/The Weinstein Company

Sarah Jessica Parker's new film, I Don't Know How She Does It, opens Friday. She's the center of the marketing campaign, and her stumbly-bumbly good cheer is presented as the best reason to go. The marketing presents her as a movie star, full stop. Sarah Jessica Parker is this film, from the trailers.

But what's interesting is that aside from the Sex And The City movies, which drew on her years as a TV star and brought a built-in audience, there's little indication that Sarah Jessica Parker is really a very big movie star. That's not to say she's not good at what she does, or a lovely person, or that the movie won't be a hit. But her film career, when it's not jumping off her TV career, is surprisingly spotty.

Her first big movie role was Footloose in 1984, and adjusted for ticket price inflation, it's still her second biggest movie ever — behind The First Wives Club, where she wasn't a lead. Rounding out her top ten, other than the two SATC movies, are Failure To Launch (2006), Hocus Pocus (1993), The Family Stone (2005), Honeymoon In Vegas (1992), Mars Attacks! (1996), and L.A. Story (1991). The only ones that aren't at least 15 years old are The Family Stone, an ensemble film, and Failure To Launch, which relied at least as much on the chug-chug-chug of the seemingly unstoppable Matthew McConaughey Sleazy But Charming Express — which also brought you Fool's Gold, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, and The Wedding Planner.

This is not to say she makes flops or anything — obviously, part of the reason she doesn't have many non-Sex And The City movies in the last couple of years is that she hasn't made many. You can't fault her for the successes of the movies she's been doing because of the movies she hasn't been doing. Moreover, she's got kids, and she simply doesn't churn out as many films as some people do. She shouldn't be faulted for that either. Parker has certainly had her box-office disappointments, like Did You Hear About The Morgans? with Hugh Grant, but so has ... well, Hugh Grant.

But compare this to an actress like Sandra Bullock, whose top ten films (adjusted, again, for ticket-price inflation) are full of films she carried, like Miss Congeniality, The Blind Side, While You Were Sleeping, and Hope Floats. Sandra Bullock can open a movie. Not every movie (helloooo, All About Steve) but she's a proven quantity.

None of this is evidence that Sarah Jessica Parker can't open a movie; not at all. It's just interesting to see someone who is treated like such a huge star about which it can honestly be said that nobody really knows whether she can open a movie without the boost of a long-running television show. She's 46 years old, and they're still really trying to find out whether "it's the new Sarah Jessica Parker movie," where everything else is strictly secondary in the marketing of it, will fill theaters.

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