Re-Introducing Malin Akerman: Hollywood’s Best Kept Secret

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Maybe it was Vince Vaughn who after two failed holiday movies, brought in the big bucks this weekend for Couples Retreat. Maybe it was our country’s inexplicable love for all-inclusive resorts. But our money is on Malin Akerman. Never heard of her? OK. But you’ve definitely seen her around. And according to her box-office numbers, this weekend isn’t the first time you’ve paid to do it. More on her history of chart-topping, critically-panned movies after the jump.

From left to right: Akerman in Couples Retreat, 27 Dresses, The Comeback, and The Watchmen

After launching her career as a coed in 2000’s The Skulls, Akerman has been quietly making a name for herself in Hollywood thanks to screen-ready good looks and her ability to make movies that make money. She was in three this year alone that topped the box office on their opening weekends: the aforementioned Couples Retreat ($35 M), The Proposal ($33 M), and Watchmen ($55 M).

While these roles may have boosted her reputation amongst Hollywood insiders as a good luck charm, they’ve done nothing for her career in the public eye. Akerman has never been a headliner, falling short of making a name for herself in the face of on-screen competition like Sandra Bullock, Patrick Wilson, and Katherine Heigl. Even Lisa Kudrow — who as we all know spent a good portion of the ’90s as the girl who wasn’t Courtney Cox or Jennifer Aniston — couldn’t help the cause.

In her only really good role to date, that of an ingenue TV sitcom actress who befriends Kudrow on-set in the Emmy-nominated series The Comeback, Akerman still failed to make a name for herself. To be fair, though, Malin Akerman v. Valerie Cherish? Not a fair fight.

In the grand tradition of character actors like that guy who played the principal in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (he was also in Howard the Duck), that lady from Donnie Darko (“Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!”), and Samuel L. Jackson (who has basically been in every movie ever made), Akerman has been ubiquitous in the past. Maybe you saw Couples Retreat this weekend and thought to yourself, “Hey, wasn’t she in something?” And the answer to that is yes, she was in something. A lot of somethings. But unless her luck changes, not even an upcoming role as a girl with alopecia which required her to shave her eyebrows is likely to do much to make her name more recognizable.

She’s beautiful, which usually carries more weight in Hollywood than anything else. Film projects that she’s a part of tend to do well. And yet Malin Akerman may end up going down in history as having had either the best agent in Hollywood or, some including us would say, the worst.

Either way, at least now you know her name now.