An Open Letter to Eugene Levy


Dear Eugene Levy,

First of all, understand that we love you. Ever since your days on “SCTV,” you’ve made us laugh with your nerdy, larger-than-life characters. Your performances in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries — “Waiting for Guffman” and “A Mighty Wind” in particular — are masterpieces of subtlety, wit, and brilliance. Why, your eyebrows alone are a source of comedy.

But we are concerned about the way things have been going lately. You were in “The Man,” that awful comedy about a guy who gets dragged into a police investigation, co-starring Samuel L. Jackson (who will also be getting a letter like this from us). You were in the Olsen twins debacle “New York Minute.” You did “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd,” for crying out loud.

The last straw, for us, was when we found out they’re doing another straight-to-video “American Pie” sequel, and that once again, you’re appearing as Jim’s dad. Jim himself bailed out of this franchise years ago, yet you remain. In fact, this is the sixth “American Pie” film — the third to go right to DVD — and you’re the ONLY cast member to appear in all six.

Do you derive some sense of pride from this dubious accomplishment? Do you somehow feel obligated to the “American Pie” series, like you owe it a favor? Believe us, you don’t owe “American Pie” anything. You are free to say no at any time. Films glorifying the deflowering of pastries and the oblivious drinking of bodily fluids do not need your assistance.

The point is this: You are a very funny man, and yet you continue to appear in terrible movies.

Have you no taste? Have you no decency?

Have you no manager to read these scripts before passing them along to you?

Granted, you’ve never exhibited particularly good taste in your choice of film roles. Apart from “Splash” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” your choices in the ’80s were mostly forgettable comedies like “Going Berserk” and “Armed and Dangerous.” (We confess we never really “got” John Candy.) The ’90s brought “Stay Tuned,” “Multiplicity,” and two “Father of the Bride” movies. Putting all of your bad movies in a pile next to a pile of your good movies would make the good pile appear small indeed.

But at least you didn’t do very many of them. A lot of your movies were lousy, but there were comparatively few of them. Now we come to the 2000s, in which you have appeared in 18 theatrical films already. Eighteen! And that’s not counting the TV appearances and straight-to-video films!

We admire your work ethic. We think it’s fantastic that you have so much energy, and that you apparently love acting so much that you will even do it in movies that are complete and utter crap. But good heavens, man — you’re 60 years old! Isn’t it time to slow down? Shouldn’t you be relaxing a little? Isn’t this when actors start being more selective about their work?

Look, if you want to keep appearing exclusively in bad comedies, that’s fine. We understand the appeal of such a strategy, as it frequently means that you are the funniest person in the movie. Surround yourself with idiots and you’ll always look like a genius. But can you do us a favor? Can you at least limit the number of bad comedies you do to a maximum of one per year? We love you, but our love is not unconditional. If you force us, we will turn on you. Just ask Robin Williams.


With great admiration and concern,

the moviegoers of the United States and Canada