There's a funny scene in the new Tyler Perry movie "The Single Moms Club" where the character played by Amy Smart gets into a conversation filled with double entendres. She chats with her next-door neighbor — a hunky contractor — about helping decorate a school fundraiser.
You don't realize how sexual a conversation about pounding nails, wood and erector sets can sound until it's shared by two people who obviously have some on-screen sexual tension.
I asked Smart how familiar the dialogue sounded, considering she's married to one of the best-known builders on TV — Carter Oosterhouse of "Trading Spaces."
"I could have that same conversation with him," Smart says with a smile. "There's some similarities between my character and the neighbor."
This role is the latest movie work by Smart, who always looks like she could play a college freshman. She has been acting since the 1996 offering "Seduced by Madness: The Diane Borchardt Story." Her career has taken her from deeply serious films ("The Butterfly Effect") to comedic TV shows ("Scrubs"). Recently, she appeared on two highly praised TV series, "Shameless" and "Justified."
She was excited about being cast in the Tyler Perry movie, which gave her a chance to play serious and funny moments.
"I'm a sucker for comedy," Smart says. "I love to be in comedies because they tend to be fun, light-hearted. But this movie had these real characters. It's not the over-the-top, unbelievable people who are hilarious. These are real moms having experiences, sharing these moments. I like that my character comes full circle from living in a bubble and being dedicated to her husband to connecting with her kids and realizing how wonderful it is to be a mom."
Because Smart looks so young, it's hard to believe she plays a mom with a child on the cusp of being a teen. She knows there was a time when actors hated the idea of being cast as a mom because it suggested an end to roles as a "sexy woman."
Smart never felt that way.
"I think it's an honor to play a mom because it's a much more complex person. It's more three-dimensional," she says. "And, it's like another level of being a human being to take on motherhood."
Smart's not a mom, she says, yet. She's not pregnant, but she would like to go from playing a mom to being one one day. That's where the sexy dialogue from the movie might come in handy.
Like me, please like me
There's a scene in the new "Muppets: Most Wanted" movie where the bad guy, played by Ricky Gervais, offers a British critic a bag filled with money as a bribe. He wants a good review for the touring Muppets show. The critic (played by "Downton Abbey" dad Hugh Bonneville) gladly takes the loot.
It's a moment that kills the credibility of the film. Everyone knows it takes at least TWO bags filled with money to buy a good review.
The scene did make me wonder what Gervais thinks about reviews. He's had his share of good and bad ones over the years.
"You like it when they get it," Gervais says. "If you only believe the good ones and don't believe the bad ones, then that's a slippery slope. The best thing to do is celebrate the people who like the film and know that it was made for them. I don't do anything for reviews or audience or rewards. You do it for yourself and like-minded people.
"I love to get good reviews, and I would be lying if I said otherwise. But, you really mustn't worry about it. It will drive you crazy."
He adds that if you are worried about trying to please everyone, then you end up not pleasing anyone. And, in this social media world, there are a lot of people who are offering up their opinions about something Gervais has done.
"Now everyone's a journalist. Everyone's a reviewer," Gervais says. "With Twitter and Facebook it's like glorified graffiti. If you care about that then you might as well go around to every toilet wall in the world and get offended when they mention you."
Gervais pauses and then adds: "Having said that, just say (expletive deleted) good things about the movie. Please. If not for me, for the kids."
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.