What's the Hubbub? His first big role was as Harry Potter pal Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but he's best known as hunky vampire Edward Cullen in the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular Twilight novel.
The Hype: Unless you're a male cast member of Gossip Girl, it doesn't get much bigger than Pattinson in teen pin-up world these days. His brooding good looks and carefully tousled hair have made "RPattz" the new Zac Efron (or, as some critics have compared him, the new Jude Law). He's also threatening to launch a music career (because there certainly aren't enough actor-turned-musicians for us to poke fun at now, right ... Bruce Willis/Eddie Murphy/Lindsay Lohan/Russell Crowe/etc.?).
Why He Ain't Really All That: Well, for starters, the comparison to Law might sound good initially, but, it's not like Law's career is going gangbusters at this point. And then there's the fact that Pattinson so quickly replaced High School Musical star Efron as the hunk du jour … teen pin-up land is a fickle place to be. Pattinson may have the goods for a long-term run in Hollywood, but it's way too soon to make that call now. For now, he's a pretty, pretty good actor who's had choice roles in two big flicks, but flicks that were based on two of the biggest already-established pop culture stories ever. If he racks up a couple of non-Potter, non-vamp hits, then maybe we'll believe the hype.
What's the Hubbub? She used to be the most annoying of the Camden kids on 7th Heaven, then she crouched in a sink for some topless pics in Gear magazine and now she's dating Justin Timberlake.
The Hype: She used to be the most annoying of the Camden kids on 7th Heaven, then she crouched in a sink for some topless pics in Gear magazine and now she's dating Justin Timberlake.
Why She Ain't Really All That: She used to be the most annoying of the Camden … the point is, 7th Heaven, the Gear pics and dating ladies man Timberlake is pretty much the sum of Biel's career. Yeah, yeah, she received some OK reviews for The Illusionist and Easy Virtue, but she's also the common denominator in a number of movies that have gone straight to DVD. Bottom line: The ratio of the number of roles — some choice — she's been given vs. the potential she's actually displayed, is out of whack.
KEEP READING: Not getting jiggy wit it[PAGEBREAK]
What's the Hubbub? He started out as a Grammy-winning rapper, moved to a hit TV show with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and parlayed that into a film career that really took off with 1996's Independence Day.
The Hype: Smith continued to star in box-office hits, from the Men in Black flicks to the Bad Boys flicks and one-offs like Enemy of the State. He also earned Oscar nods for more serious efforts with the fact-based Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, starred in several major sci-fi flicks, from I, Robot to I Am Legend, and showed off his penchant for comedy with Hitch.
Why He Ain't Really All That: It's not because he doesn't have the skills — he does. And it's not because he's had a few flops amongst the hits (Wild, Wild West, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Seven Pounds) — most A-listers have. The thing about Smith is that nobody thinks he's a bigger star than the star himself, as he's shared in interview after interview. That, along with some quirky stories like how he started his own school, he and wife Jada Pinkett Smith's friendship with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (and the rumors that Smith, too, has embraced Scientology) and the Smiths' constant need to tell reporters how active their sex life is (there's that old saying: Those who do, don't feel the need to talk about it, those who feel the need to talk about it …) add up to an oddness that, well, makes it seem like Smith is just a couch-jumping, Matt Lauer-bashing, Xenu-loving experience away from letting his personal life overshadow the good work he's obviously capable of. Still, IMDB.com lists Smith as having more than 20 projects in development as an actor and producer, so we could be wrong on this one; he just might be as all that as he keeps telling us he is.
KEEP READING: God, Hannah Montana[PAGEBREAK]
What's the Hubbub? She's the acting, singing star of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, the biggest tween TV show of all time.
The Hype: She's ringing up Disney dollars from her TV show, her albums, her sold-out concerts, her big-screen Hannah movie and any and every piece of tie-in merch someone has slapped a Hannah Montana logo on.
Why She Ain't Really All That: Her ability to make a buck and win the devotion of the pre-teen set? Not even in question. But despite efforts like those creepy Vanity Fair photos, the many risqué photos of her that have been "leaked" (some by the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus herself) and a baffling tabloid interest in her teenage love life, Cyrus' appeal doesn't hold up if you're older than 13. As for her actual talent, let's just say anyone who's heard her sing without a lot of electronic aids (and sometimes even on her recorded material) knows the kid doesn't really have a strong voice. And though she, seriously, suggested on the Oscar red carpet this year that her Hannah movie might win a nomination next year, we feel pretty safe in saying that, even with the new 10 Best Picture contenders rule, the ballot will be Hannah-less.
What's the Hubbub? His Ben Stiller Show was a cult favorite that was canceled too soon, but set him on the path to other buzzworthy projects, from the slacker dramedy Reality Bites to the cult classic model spoof Zoolander.
The Hype: He's had some clunkers along the way, but his goofy, nervous guy charm has also contributed to hits like There's Something About Mary, the Meet the Parents movies, Night at the Museum and Tropic Thunder.
Why He Ain't Really All That: Actually, he's had more than his fair share of clunkers, leading some movie fans to question how/why Stiller keeps inking deals for so many high-profile projects. Tropic Thunder was almost universally loved, but much of the credit went to Robert Downey Jr.'s scene-stealing performance. And though There's Something About Mary remains a gem, the lameness of The Heartbreak Kid suggested that Stiller might want to steer clear of collaborating with the Farelly brothers for a bit. In fact, that could be the key to Stiller proving that he's worthy of the big bucks and opportunities Hollywood suits keep throwing his way; he seems to be the guy who just can't say no, to a starring role, to a directing gig, to a cameo appearance. Saying yes to good movies is one thing, but a little more choosiness on Stiller's part could lead to more Thunder, less Heartbreak.
KEEP READING: Aniston, Schmaniston[PAGEBREAK]
What's the Hubbub? She, and her haircut, became superstars as one of the six pals on NBC's Friends.
The Hype: Her TV gig led to several big-screen roles — She's the One, Picture Perfect, Rock Star and 'Til There Was You — but until 2002's The Good Girl, her movie efforts failed to make a splash.
Why She Ain't Really All That: The Good Girl aside, Aniston has a couple of box-office hits under her belt, but most notably in movies where her character was sharing billing with big-screen stars like Vince Vaughn (The Break-Up), Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty) and really cute puppies (Marley & Me). It's obvious to point out that the actress' personal life has long gotten more play than her work — the Brangelina mess and, more recently, her on-again, off-again fling with John Mayer, for example — though in Aniston's case, it's probably kept her in movie roles that the readers of US Weekly care so much about her every date. Still, she may continue to line up movie role after movie role, but we have yet to see the kind of performance from her that would make us forget: We'd rather she was hanging out at Central Perk with Monica and Phoebe.
What's the Hubbub? He broke out in the movie Dazed and Confused and became an A-list leading man thanks to his good old boy, laidback Southern charms and good looks.
The Hype: After Dazed, McConaughey's next big role was as a racism-fighting Southern attorney in the movie version of John Grisham's A Time to Kill, and since, he has played everything from sci-fi star (Contact) to Western star (The Newton Boys) to action-adventure star (Sahara) to comedy star (Edtv), before settling in with a long string of romantic comedies that have paired him with Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Garner.
Why He Ain't Really All That: Quick, name McConaughey's last movie … OK, the one before that … the one before that? That's because he's not known for his movie work anymore. He's known for being perpetually shirtless. He's known for being a perpetually shirtless father. He's known for working out on the beach (shirtless). He's known for being a (frequently shirtless) friend of Lance Armstrong. He's known for being a spokesman for beef, for never wearing deodorant and for driving around with a toothbrush in his mouth (while usually, you guessed it, shirtless). That shirtless thing even factored in to him being named Sexiest Man Alive in 2005. But again, how many of McConaughey's last five movies can you name? And as for the sexy thing … he always just looks like he could use a good shower to us.
KEEP READING: A bitch to Owen Wilson[PAGEBREAK]
What's the Hubbub? She was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for her breakout role as groupie Penny Lane in 2000's Almost Famous.
The Hype: Hudson has one other big hit on her resume — the romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Matthew McConaughey — which has led studio execs to continue to push her, mostly unsuccessfully, as the new Sandra Bullock (who was the new Julia Roberts, who was the new Meg Ryan, etc.).
Why She Ain't Really All That: It's appropriate that Hudson follow her pal and rom-com co-star McConaughey on our list of Stars That Ain't All That, because, well, she also ain't all that. And like Mr. McConaughey, it's largely because moviegoers don't care as much about seeing her on the big screen as they do about seeing her on the small screen — on tabloid TV shows like TMZ, Extra, Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood — and celeb mags like US Weekly. Her marriage to rocker Chris Robinson, her dramatic on-again, off-again affair with Owen Wilson and now her alleged fling with baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez have all gotten lots more play than anything on Hudson's resume since the Famous role she's been milking for the last decade.
KEEP READING: Give back the two Oscars[PAGEBREAK]
What's the Hubbub? She went from being the female Karate Kid and a stint on Beverly Hills 90210 to a pair of Best Actress Oscars for Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby.
The Hype: Her rags-to-riches backstory (she grew up in a trailer park, and she and her divorced mom temporarily lived in their car when they first moved to Los Angeles to pursue Swank's career) and buzz-making, strong female character roles won her rave reviews, a pile of scripts to consider and, as half of a seemingly happy and adorable coupling with fellow actor Chad Lowe, a spot as one of the favorite women's mag cover girls.
Why She Ain't Really All That: Well, she forgot to actually thank hubby Lowe when she accepted the first Oscar, which put a damper on their happy couple rep (they eventually divorced in 2007). And though she became best known for playing those strong females (well, one strong female and one strong female who wanted to be male), outside her two Oscar roles, Swank has failed to make a splash with critics or box-office crowds … The Black Dahlia? Flop. Freedom Writers? Not a runaway hit, even with Patrick Dempsey co-starring. Swank as a thriller star in The Reaping? Worked for Nicole Kidman with The Others, not for Swank. Swank as romantic comedy star, in P.S. I Love You? Again, not a big hit, despite co-starring with Gerard Butler. It seems moviegoers only want to see her in movies in which she's playing non-traditionally feminine or athletic roles, and both of those movies were more than five years ago. She's got nearly a dozen films — including a biopic of famous airline pilot Amelia Earhart — upcoming, but Hollywood seems to be ignoring the fact that viewers have voted with their wallets, and the result is that Hilary Swank isn't putting asses in the seats.
What's the Hubbub? She broke out as Tom Cruise's girlfriend in Jerry Maguire and became a leading leading lady with her role as chick-lit heroine Bridget Jones and snagged an Oscar for Cold Mountain.
The Hype: Since then, she's popped up in a few animated flicks, made a sub-par Bridget Jones sequel and, in general, signed on for roles that she might have passed on — should have passed on — early in her career, let alone as an Oscar winner.
Why She Ain't Really All That: She's got the look and the talent, but Zellweger never really comes across as a star. It's refreshing that she doesn't seem to display the diva behavior a lot of her fellow actresses display, but she could stand to take this whole A-list-er thing a bit more seriously, especially when it comes to demanding better roles (really Renee Zellweger … Jerry Seinfeld's love interest in that bee movie?). The one way in which she does come across as a typical Hollywood star: Her tabloid-fodder love life, which has included relationships with George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Jack White and that annulled marriage to country music superstar Kenny Chesney that still has us a little creeped out and a lot curious.
KEEP READING: Um, Land of the Loser?[PAGEBREAK]
What's the Hubbub? He broke out as a Saturday Night Live cast member, with his impersonations of Alex Trebek and James Lipton, as well as original characters like partying doofus Steve Butabi, music teacher Marty Culp and cheerleader Craig Buchanan.
The Hype: SNL led to supporting roles in movies like Austin Powers and Zoolander, and then Ferrell's major breakout flick, the frat boy comedy Old School, followed by Anchorman, a scene-stealing turn in Wedding Crashers and Talladega Nights.
Why He Ain't Really All That: We're still scratching our heads over Land of the Lost, which is the latest example (though, unfortunately, not the only example) of how Ferrell has squandered the good, um, will of the devoted fanbase he won over with classic comedies like Old School, Elf and Anchorman with bad-to-just plain cheesy efforts like Bewitched and Semi-Pro. His attempt at more serious roles with Stranger Than Fiction and his one-man Broadway show about George W. Bush drew positive reviews, and the comedy website he co-founded, FunnyorDie.com, has produced some of the Internet's biggest viral video hits, but when it comes to big-screen comedy, Ferrell's signature genre, he and Ben Stiller should both heed our advice to learn to say no every now and then. Ferrell's humor works best when his movies revolve around his character; no one but Jim Carrey is more willing than the former SNL-er to completely throw his body into a role to wring in a laugh or ten from an audience. But when it comes to more high-concept fare, like Bewitched and Land of the Lost, for instance, Ferrell's humor has to play second fiddle, which is not a good look for him. And P.S. Will, maybe stay away from the TV adaptations for awhile, hmmm?
KEEP READING: Screw your goop![PAGEBREAK]
What's the Hubbub? She broke out with a role as then-boyfriend Brad Pitt's ill-fated wife in Se7en, which led to a critically-lauded role as Emma and then her signature role, the Oscar-winning lead in Shakespeare in Love.
The Hype: Post-Shakespeare, Paltrow's film career has been largely forgettable, including dead-on-arrival releases like Duets, Bounce, View From the Top, Possession and the offensively awful Shallow Hal. Though she's averaged a couple of films a year recently, Paltrow's only memorable role was as Iron Man's Pepper Potts.
Why She Ain't Really All That: Her much-covered friendship with Madonna, naming her kid Apple, her health obsessions (from the cupping to the macrobiotic diet ... oy), her move to England, her relationships with Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and hubby Chris Martin and her constant namechecking of her fellow celeb friends (like "William" Joel) have long overshadowed Paltrow's onscreen efforts. And her blog, Goop.com, which aims to "nourish the inner aspect," just reminds us how much we haven't really missed seeing her at the movies.