You may not remember it, but there is actually a light moment in Kathryn Bigelow's political thriller
Everything is on the line in this high-risk play to sever the hydra head of Al Qaeda. Minutes from touchdown, the silence and sweat of men on a possible suicide mission hangs thick in the helicopter bay. The camera catches
One of the guys glances over and asks: "Whatcha listening to?" Without a beat, Justin pulls out an earphone and says, "
With the precision of a sniper's shot, Pratt's soldier defuses the pressure without damaging the mood. His buddies needed it, that sense they might survive. More than two hours into the unrelenting drama, we needed it. Which only goes to prove that even the most serious of subjects can benefit from the Pratt effect.
At the moment, we're experiencing the full power of that particular phenomenon with the actor at his most charming in the sci-fi action fun of
That appeal is as the kids say massive and in a sense only beginning to be seriously tapped.
An actor rising
Like a hurricane, the actor's impact has been building for a while: lovable for years slouching through life as a happily dimmer bulb in
Like so many funny guys, he's been responsible for a lot of comic relief — and yes, even comedies need that relief factor, that break in the action, that unexpected distraction. One of the best examples of how adroit he is can be found in
Perhaps because Pratt's been such a reliable comic sidekick to the main attraction, it's taken Hollywood longer than it should to put him center stage. A shout-out to "Guardians" director James Gunn for knowing the actor had the goods to be great. Not surprisingly, a sequel is in the works.
Technically, "Guardians of the Galaxy" is not Pratt's first leading role. Earlier this year, he voiced the intrepid, hard-hatted and hard-headed hero in
Pratt was also the lead in his first film role, actress
His quintessential "Bubba-ness" is one of Pratt's central strengths. He has the solid look of a kid raised to hunt and fish in Washington state because he was — tailor made to throw a football on game night and a few zingers in a bar later. He's never — at least not yet — the smartest guy in the room, still you trust him to win the day because he's also the kind of guy who's been getting himself and his buddies out of scrapes for years.
What makes Pratt particularly interesting is the way he plays jock-style arrogance for laughs. It's the kind of letter jacket entitlement that should make enemies, but in Pratt's hands it is funny and endearing. Until "Galaxy," he's never had a bigger stage for it than "Parks and Recreation."
When the sitcom first introduced Andy Dwyer in the 2009 pilot, both of his legs were in casts, having broken them with a drunken fall into a pit at an abandoned construction site. But it was the cavalier way he managed to make Dwyer, a struggling, without-a-chance-of-fame garage-band rocker and a newly debilitated couch potato, so irritatingly amusing that struck such a chord. The pit would become a continuing story line, and Pratt's guest-starring status would soon turn into a series regular. Despite the pull of major movie stardom, the decent dance-with-the-one-that-brung-ya guy has said he'll be back for the show's seventh and final season.
With the change in his Hollywood status, the actor may not need those second-banana scene-stealing skills he's been perfecting. While I'm glad to see him out of the shadow of others, he's left a trail marked by a wicked mix of merriment and mayhem. In the spotty comedy of
He's got bigger fish to fry these days. A remake of