It’s no great whoop to make a blog crush confession — there’s not really as much to get into when praising someone’s talents, charm and looks. What about the inverse, though? An almost irrational dislike of an established or up-and-coming performer, a hate-on unattached to any single particular film (and thus its hype)? For me, one such anti-crush is Lucy Punch, an English actress most people would still recognize by face rather than name, if at all.
The depth of her lack of appeal to me came rushing to the fore courtesy of a bit role in the recent Elektra Luxx, but Punch — courtesy of her turn on ITV’s Doc Martin and then a role in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s buzz-heavy Shaun of the Dead follow-up, Hot Fuzz — has for a while now been a go-to scene-player for portraying boozy ditzes, stinking up scenes in movies like Dinner for Schmucks, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Take Me Home Tonight. OK, granted… part of the problem is that she so frequently plays shrill and/or dislikeable characters, but Punch also has a look that’s… what, horse-ish, right? Just a bit. Broad face, big features, those too-light eyebrows. If Marilyn Manson were cross-bred with one of the chicks from American Gladiators, Lucy Punch would be close to the result, I think. She puts off a vibe is what I’m saying. It’s almost like an alarm/aversion pheromone.
This unfortunate fact, combined with her general overdemonstrativeness, has put her in the performer’s penalty box with me. Whenever I see her, I think, “Oh, here comes some vampy and/or obvious, grating choices,” and Punch has yet to disappoint. It’s not like she’s a lead or has any box office juice, either, so why does she keep getting cast? Are filmmakers really that hard up for comediennes?