Dear Ben Stiller,
I write to you today as a long-time fan. I fondly remember the early nineties when I was turning my friends on to the Ben Stiller show. I had picked up on you years before that during your Saturday Night Live stint, and your show confirmed my feeling that I was watching a fine young talent emerge.
You were the guy everyone loved to hate in Reality Bites, but I knew you were just showing off your range. I was happy for you when you popped up in cameos over the next few years, and when you got another big break in The Cable Guy. I admit it – I became invested in watching your career blossom.
There’s Something About Mary? Classic. Permanent Midnight? Dark and riveting. Meet the Parents? Forgivable, especially when you redeemed yourself with The Royal Tenenbaums.
I believed that you had great things in store for you. I spent a lot of time defending Zoolander to your many detractors. Which may be why I feel so completely burned by you now.
Mr. Stiller, you were not put on this earth to play a romantic lead. Meet the Parents worked because your character was utterly contemptible, and you didn’t get in the way of DeNiro’s swan song, which is a letter for another time. Much like There’s Something About Mary, people were not sitting through your movie in the hopes that true love would triumph in the end; we just wanted to see what new and hilarious disasters would befall you.
I’m afraid that Meet the Parents encouraged your worst instincts and gave us the career we see before us. I thought you were destined for greatness; A Duplex, a Focking sequel, and a Heartbreak Kid later, and I can hardly remember what I saw in you. Not to mention the 2004 Razzies where you had the dubious honor of being nominated for worst actor FIVE times. Sometimes you were just the weak link in an otherwise fine film. But I sat through Along Came Polly that year, and if that was supposed to be a comedy, I’m going to file a class action suit for false advertising.
Please, Ben Stiller. I hear from my nieces that the kids movies you’ve been doing are entertaining, but you’re only 42. It’s too soon to relegate yourself to a G rating – which is exactly what will happen if we have to watch you worm you way into the heart of another beautiful woman. Go back to your roots, sir, and for fuck’s sake, do something challenging.