Is Nicole finished?

17 Dec 2008

As her new movie flops, and a Facebook hate campaign is mounted against her, Ahlan! asks, is this the end for Nicole Kidman?

She hoped it would be the box office hit to put her back at the top of her game, comparing it to “an Australian Gone With The Wind,” but film critics have been far from flattering about Nicole Kidman’s big-budget flick, Australia.

Reviewers from two of the world’s most influential newspapers – the Los Angeles Times and The Times in London – have branded the Baz Luhrmann-directed epic as “awful”, and “a big, big mistake”, with both publications actually singling Nicole out as being the movie’s “kiss of death”.

Ahlan! investigates whether the actress – who hasn’t had a hit since her Oscar-winning performance in The Hours back in 2002 – can recover.

Slammed by critics
Nicole has received a damning write up from Melanie Reid of The Times, who pulled no punches when reviewing her performance in Australia, stating matter-of-factly “she can’t act”.

“Instead, she merely drifts around films like a lost porcelain doll, looking frozen, brittle and vapid, staring at the camera with her oh-golly-look-how-I’m-looking-interesting blue eyes,” slammed the critic.

And in another attack, Los Angeles Times critic, Patrick Goldstein, also rubbished Nicole’s ability – dashing her Oscar hopes for the role in the process – saying she was “not a movie star.”

Bad investment
The scathing reviews come just days after Nicole topped a list of Hollywood’s biggest box office flops. Forbes Magazine analysed how much Hollywood’s A-list actors were paid per movie, and how much those films actually earned, and found that Nicole’s films earned just $1 (Dhs3.6) for every $1 she was paid – making her the worst value-for-money star in Hollywood.

“Despite winning an Oscar for her performance in 2002’s The Hours, Kidman has become the most overpaid celebrity in Hollywood,” Forbes reported.

“Frozen and strange”
Much of the criticism of Nicole’s performance is down to her alleged overuse of Botox, which has left her line-free face emotionless. But Nicole has denied having cosmetic surgery, claiming, “I’m all natural,” leading plastic surgeon Dr Martin Braun to slam her bizarre looks at a recent surgery conference, saying the actress looked “frozen and strange”.

Facebook campaign
While industry insiders are turning on the once popular actress, so are the movie-going public. Social networking site Facebook, is awash with uncomplimentary groups dedicated to the actress, including, “Am I Taking A Crazy Pill Or Is Nicole Kidman The Worst Actress In The World?” and the “I Hate Nicole” group.

Sunday rose as publicity stunt?
As she tries in vain to garner media attention for Australia, Nicole has been parading her daughter Sunday Rose on the publicity trail for the movie. Snappers in Paris were allowed unprecedented access to the once-sheltered tot, and industry-watchers are questioning her motives.

“My mum says I’ve over-bonded with her. But I don’t care,” says Nicole, over speculation she can’t be separated from her daughter.

Hope for the future

While her career looks bleak, there are some industry watchers who say she has a lot further to fall before she becomes persona non grata in Hollywood. “It’s a scale of bankability,” explains casting director Bonnie Gillespie. “It calculates everything – overseas sales, DVD sales – and Nicole Kidman is still near the top of the list for women.”