Poor Ben McKenzie. He was always one of our favorites on The O.C.; his faux-Russell Crowe looks and constant furrowed brow made you think that he was a dour and brooding capital-A actor. But some of the funniest moments that show had to offer came from Mr. McKenzie’s interplay with Adam Brody. While Mr. Brody’s iconic Seth Cohen was all limbs, stammers, pop culture references and one-liners, Mr. McKenzie’s Ryan Atwood could simply give him a twisted glance and get a big laugh into the commercial break.
Don’t get us wrong; we never got the idea that Mr. McKenzie could be, say, James Franco. But if you’ve seen Junebug, where he plays the laconic husband to Amy Adams’ adorable, pregnant and talky (and talky) wife, you know the guy has some talent to give the acting world.
Doesn’t he deserve better than getting cast on the most generic sounding NBC pilot ever? John Wells’ LAPD.
Maybe Mr. McKenzie is doing the "one for them, one for me" routine. His first big, post-O.C. role was as Joe Bonham in the "live on stage, on film" version of Daltron Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun, due to be released later in September. That’s a fine strategy, if you’re George Clooney.
Somehow though, we don’t think it is really a good idea to follow your high-profile role as "Ryan on The O.C." with a role as "Ben on LAPD" (yes, his character is named "Ben"), a rookie cop who has to learn the ropes in a cast filled with other retreads (Regina King among them.) It just stinks of bad representation and bad decision-making.
What’s next? Adam Brody passing on the lead in Chuck? Errr. Wait. Nevermind.