Sunday, January 06, 2008

Allison Janney: Crazy Mom-ness in 2007

Sure Katherine Heigl, Ellen Page, Keri Russel, and Tammy Blanchard all played people who were inconveniently pregnant in 2007. But not enough praises have been sung for Allison Janney for playing the strong loose-lipped (step) mothers in Juno and Hairspray.

In Juno, Allison Janney is perfectly cast as Juno's (Ellen Page) dog loving step-mom Brenda "Bren" Macgruff. Bren is kind of homely, who's takes the pregnancy and decisions of Juno in stride, and has some great scenes along side Ellen Page, and film-husband J. K. Simmons.

Bren Macgruff's best line: "Doctors are sadists who like to think of themselves of God and laugh at the lesser people."

In Hairspray, Allison Janney is simply a crazy mom as Prudy Pingleton, mother of Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes). In this film, Prudy is doing everything possible to make sure that Penny does not get pregnant, or end up in any other troubles.

Janney is perfectly cast as this ultra-conservative Catholic 1960s single-mom. In her biggest scene Prudy ties Penny up with the jump rope, splashes holy water on Penny and threatens her to a life-long sentence of being tied up in her room with nothing to eat or drink but saltines and tang.

Prudy Pingeton's best line: "You see? You see! If I let you leave the house right now, you'd be in prison, fighting whores for cigarettes. That Tracy Turnblad always was a bad influence! Well, you are never, ever gonna see that beehived harlot again. "

Janney has found such a great niche at playing this hillarious character roles, roles like these are too small and too cartoonish to garner significant award attention. Yet, Janney is so consistent as an actress that even if the role is smaller, you know she will be a silver-lining in the cast.

For her consistency and exceptional use of screen time, I wanted her to be included in the 2007 Supporting Actress Blog-a-thon hosted by StinkyLulu. Check out the other supporting actress mentioned in the class of 2007.

(my supporting actress post last year can be found
here applauding Adriana Barazza)
Juno and Hairspray are movies that will be loved for years to come. If you're looking for a list of movies with more great films to love, check out our list of comedy movies. If horror films are more your thing, we've got a list of scary movies too.


Terence Towles Canote said...

I always thought that Allison Janney was underrated as an actress. She seems to be very versatile--she can play almost any sort of role.

Dame James said...

I thought she was brilliant in "Hairspray"- she stole every scene she was in. "Devil child! Devil child!"

StinkyLulu said...

I confess to being slow to jump on the Janney train, but this year -- and these two performances -- made me a believer.

Thanks for an excellent contribution!

E Dot said...

"Why would you drive all the way to East Jesus nowhere?"

jakey said...

I just saw Juno today and as someone who grew up in Minnesota, I think she absolutely nailed the prototypical outer-ring suburban mom -- much like she did with the outer-ring suburban trailer park trash in "Drop Dead Gorgeous."