It’s not often that we would review the talk show appearance of a star so recently. But in the case of Brendan Fraser, he has spent the Summer of ‘08 is the desirable position of having to promote two potential blockbusters released within 30 days of each other. As I was admittedly critical of his early Summer appearances, I thought it fair to give him another look. Unfortunately, things haven’t gotten much better.
While he was hawking Journey to the Center of the Earth, I mentioned that Fraser may have taken his movie promotion role a little too seriously, foregoing the fun his personality usually promises. On his recent outing on The Tonight Show for Mummy 3, he seemed to be over-correcting and trying too hard. His appearance felt engineered and too rehearsed, with lots of props and plenty of energy, but little genuine connection between him and Jay and even less with the audience.
Things did not get off to a promising start. There’s an old adage in show business: never work with animals or small children. Now, if you’d think if anyone could handle this situation, you’d think it would be Brendan Fraser with his vast experience of working with animate and inanimate objects. Yet he apparently met his match as his appearance was preceded by a contingent of animals that included a woodpecker, jungle cat, raccoons and a massive anteater, and every one of them seemed more at ease in the Guest Seat than Fraser did.
He started out promisingly, trotting through the curtains and acknowledging the band, the audience and even a hey-howdy gesture right into the camera. But even when he launched into his own animal-related escapades, he seemed curiously forced, with a hint of flop sweat.
What would have helped? Maybe a touch of the dry humor he exhibited in the first Mummy movie, the kind of wry self-composure that serves the likes of George Clooney and Gillian Anderson so well when they hit the talk show circuit. Even the action clip from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor felt full of frenzy rather than fun. Fraser introduced it with “As you know, I work with animals frequently…” Maybe they should have kept the anteater on past the commercial!