Carrey’s affection for Ms. Stone is particularly understandable in the wake of Crazy, Sexy, Love, her summer romantic comedy, an enjoyable bit of mainstream entertainment with one major flaw: it’s about the wrong couple. Nothing against Steve Carell and Julianne Moore (who we’ll see in nearly anything), but the electricity of Stone and Ryan Gosling’s chemistry all but stops the picture, particularly that twenty-minute-or-so stretch in his apartment late in the second act. If you like girls, it’s impossible to watch that sequence and not fall for Stone a little; if you like boys, ditto that for Gosling, who spends the movie working the tough-guy lothario thing (in an array of killer suits) before turning out, wouldn’t ya know, to have the heart of a romantic underneath, swoon.
So what makes for a good celebrity crush? In our observation, it’s not all about aesthetics. Sure, most of these people are unreasonably good-looking, but — at least as one gets older — that’s not enough, on its own. Gwyneth Paltrow is classically beautiful, but spend two seconds on her asinine website or reading any of her loathsome interviews and that hardly matters anymore. Megan Fox is like a genetic hotness experiment, but she’s clearly a twit, and her acting is, well, problematic.
Most folks, it seems to us, like to find a celebrity infatuation that’s just slightly off the radar — it’s a way to seem unique and pop-savvy, and (of course) a little less shallow when engaging in an activity that is shallow in its very nature. Your author is old enough to remember back to the mid-‘90s, when many a would-be hipster dude (myself included) fancied himself “alternative” by carrying a torch for Truth About Cats & Dogs-era Janeane Garafalo. From what I’ve seen on my Twitter feed and various comment threads, I’m apparently not the only onetime Garafalo admirer who has a similar thing these days for the lovely Alison Brie.
Brie’s appeal isn’t hard to pin down: she’s undeniably attractive, but mostly presented on Community in unflattering sweaters and other loose-fitting wares, so’s to better frame her as secondary object of desire to blonde Britta (Gillian Jacobs). So her primary exposure is as the primly-dressed, girl-next-door type (same goes on her occasional appearances as Trudy Campbell on Mad Men) — which she can then blow to pieces with her scantily-clad lad-mag pictorials, to say nothing of the occasional personal essay on her promiscuous college days. “I was just easy,” she wrote in 2010, and that notion, along with the good-natured accessibility of her Twitter feed and her charmingly dorky appearances on podcasts like Nerdist (where she somehow seems genuinely nerdy, and not just putting it on for male fans as so many attractive actresses do), formulates an essential element of the celebrity crush: the illusion of approachability. Old-school movie stars like Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe were no mere mortals; they did not walk among us, nor did even the crush objects of a generation earlier, like Farrah Fawcett or Madonna. But hey, the crusher thinks, Alison Brie’s just a regular girl! She’d actually like me, given the opportunity! (So thinks the hypothetical guy. Not me, of course. Don’t worry, Ms. Brie: I’m happily married to a beautiful woman, and will not be burdening you with any troublesome Internet video confessions.)
So there you have it: I’ve owned up to my star infatuation. What about you? Who are your celebrity crushes — and why?