Film and TV

The Big Miracle: Drew Barrymore Movies Are Actually Great

Drew Barrymore's latest movie, Big Miracle, a stirring tale in which John Krasinski, Ted Danson, Dermot Mulroney and Kristen Bell work to save the lives of two whales, debuts nationwide on February 3. Dinner tables everywhere are already erupting over how cheap and gimmicky it looks, with certain people slyly considering seeing it anyway for a certain ombre-haired actress.

It's true, there's nothing more patronizing than a touching sea mammal movie thrown to the masses during recession/end times, but Barrymore has earned America's trust. A decent portion of the population would probably disagree with that statement, arguing that the Charlie's Angels actress is not much more than a rom-com drudge, but a careful look at her filmography reveals that at least 50 percent are actually really good movies. Drew Barrymore fans generally don't know that much about sports (except for whatever was in Fever Pitch), but that sounds like a pretty good batting average. The evidence:

Is there a woman alive who did not enjoy Whip It? Statistically, yes, but anecdotally, no. Funny female actresses, black-and-blue roller derby toughness and the motto "Be Your Own Hero," combined to make an upbeat but not overly simplistic movie about a girl growing up without being set in NYC and without ending in a kiss. Drew Barrymore's acting role was minimal, but that's only because she was behind the camera directing. Whip It was so fun and empowering, it might have even made up for He's Just Not That Into You.

Going the Distance is Barrymore's most criminally underrated film. Yes, it's a romantic comedy from nose to tail, but it fights the formula with specificity and big laughs. Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis add some welcome raunch, but the dirty jokes aren't left to the boys. Christina Applegate is snarky and vulgar and so is Barrymore. Her character actually bears a resemblance to a real human -- a smart and sexual girl who can tell a joke and take one.

"Ugh, why is Hugh Grant as the romantic male lead on my computer screen when it's not the early aughts?" you're asking yourself. Music & Lyrics admittedly looks completely asinine and ridiculous, but underneath it has real heart. The musical numbers are better than actual pop songs on the radio today and the winter-summer romance is just enough to differentiate the plotline.

Add these highlights to a long career including Ever After, Never Been Kissed, The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, and Drew Barrymore has herself an impressive résumé of movies that are actually very enjoyable. That in itself is admirable.

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Nikki Metzgar
Contact: Nikki Metzgar