With the new release of Wall Street part 2 starring the infamous Michael Douglas and Shia Leboeuf, I have to ask the question: what's the big deal with Shia Leboeuf? How is it that he gets all these plum roles in Hollywood, starring in legendary series like Wall Street and Indiana Jones (as Indy's son, no less!) and big hits like Transformers? What's so special about him?
I've been wondering about this ever since the critics cried foul when he was called in to Indiana Jones and did his 'Born to be Mild' motorcycle entrance in a pitiful rendition of Marlon Brando's Wild One. What the heck was that? Leboeuf doesn't have the manly frame or slick charm of Marlon Brando for one thing, and has nothing of the wit and James-Bond style cool of Harrison Ford that temporarily made archeology the sexiest undergrad study across America during the 80s for another. So how was it that he got the golden role?
On the one hand, I can buy the argument by scouting agents that Shia has that ambiguous boy-man look that makes him appealing to a variety of audiences. When he wears a suit, he can play a man. When he wears a t-shirt and jeans, he can play a boy. That makes him suitable for the 18-30 range of men who go to the movies. Fine. But aren't there other men with this kind of look that can fill this spotlight? And couldn't we find one with more charisma? Shia doesn't ooze charm, charisma, appeal, intelligence- well, he doesn't ooze anything- on screen. In fact, nothing makes him special. That makes him a prime candidate as an extra on film.
Successful ambiguous on-screen men include the likes of John Cusack and Hugh Grant. But these men are charming, irreverent, hilarious and engaging. I have yet to see Shia Leboeuf be any of those things.
This is not to say that Leboeuf doesn't have any talent. I just have yet to see any proof of it. From what I can see, this is a kid that just got lucky and has managed to land more roles than he rightfully deserves, as he has yet to prove that he has any acting chops or specific charm. Maybe his time is yet to come. But in the meantime, the most memorable thing about Shia Leboeuf for me is the fact that he was once arrested for walking into a Walgreen's for no specific reason. That's the one interesting thing about him that I've heard thus far.
Hollywood will always be a mystery to me, so long as couch-jumping love nuts and revolving door rehab stints continue to characterize Hollywood success.