It’s hard to believe Jennifer Love Hewitt is still in her 30s. It’s not that the former child actor and teen star has aged badly, she’s just one of those celebs that seems to have been around forever…in the world of television, at least. At the movies, on the other hand, Hewitt briefly flirted with A-list status before completely dropping off the radar. Looking back at her career, it’s easy to understand why.
Critics hate her
Having a bunch of critics pan you presents a bit of problem. Hewitt was named the worst-reviewed actress in Hollywood in 2016, and a quick glance at her Rotten Tomatoes record highlights the lack of love she’s received from the industry. Sixteen of her feature films have “Tomatometer” scores, and every single one has been deemed “Rotten.” Her latest effort to swap the small screen for the big one came courtesy of 2013’s Jewtopia, a romantic comedy described as a film that “manages to be offensive to almost everyone, including people who like to laugh at something because it’s funny.”
Fans petitioned to boot her off Criminal Minds
During her debut season on Criminal Minds, fans actually petitioned CBS to give her the boot, claiming audiences “can only stand so many more episodes of this Lifetime Movie-style acting” and specifically citing the “twerking joke” in the video above. The network did, indeed, write off FBI Agent Kate Callahan, though reportedly not in response to its disgruntled followers.
According to Cinema Blend, Hewitt waited until the end of 2014 to tell the creative team she was pregnant with her second child and due in the summer of 2015, when filming would need to resume for the next season of the show. Though much of that season’s finale was already locked down, the team made adjustments to eliminate her character. Showrunner Erica Messer told Entertainment Weekly, “Timing-wise there was no way for her to do both, to be able to give that baby everything she wanted to give that baby and still be on our show.”
No director wants to work with someone who can’t handle criticism (constructive or otherwise), and this is another likely reason Hewitt isn’t inundated with offers anymore. Case in point: she made a huge deal about quitting Twitter over the sheer “negativity” that users were sending her way, writing, “I’m sad to say Twitter is no longer for me. Life should be filled with positivity and holding each other up, not making threats and sending bad vibes…” All Hewitt did by making a show of leaving Twitter was highlight her unpopularity. Not to mention, her grand exit was all in vain because she later returned and began tweeting as much as ever.
She has a difficult reputation
A bad reputation will follow you around like a bad smell on the streets of Tinseltown, and getting into a drawn-out spat with producers is a sure-fire way to earn one. Hewitt’s Lifetime series The Client List was preparing for a third season in 2013, but the network put it on ice when the actress got pregnant. Her pregnancy wasn’t the issue (her character in the show was actually having a baby too). It was how she wanted to incorporate it into the show that allegedly put her at odds with producers. The actress reportedly wanted co-star Brian Hallisay (her partner in real life and the father of her real child) to play the father of her baby on the show. Producers had other plans, which put them at an impasse with the actress. Hewitt apparently wouldn’t budge, so the show was axed.
Hewitt openly admits that her many quirks don’t make life easy on producers, especially if their offices happen to be on high floors: “The trouble is that many of the Hollywood meetings I have to attend take place at the top of tall buildings, and I simply cannot set foot in [an elevator] if there are too many people in it.”
She isn’t profitable
Hewitt’s most successful film in terms of box office return remains the one that shot her to stardom in 1997. I Know What You Did Last Summer was put together for an estimated budget of $17 million and returned a massive $72 million from the domestic market alone, with a further $53 million banked overseas. Hoping to see the same profit margin with the sequel, producers budgeted $65 million, but the writing was on the wall when the first weekend’s receipts amounted to less than $17 million. Other bombs include action comedy The Tuxedo (2002) and the animated Delgo (2008), which, at the time of its release, was officially the worst box office opener in history. The ill-fated fantasy adventure grossed a shocking per-venue average of just $237.
She alienated women
Hewitt falls into the same category as Anne Hathaway, in that she seems to inspire an inexplicable hatred in hordes of people, particularly women. Reasons vary, but most complaints seem to come from those in their late 20s and early 30s, a generation of viewers who were sold the idea of Hewitt as the relatable girl next door but weren’t able to “see anything beyond the boobs and the wide, wet eyes.” That’s an important demographic for Hollywood producers, so taking a chance on an unpopular actress who gets slammed in the celebrity gossip columns may not be worth the gamble.
Hewitt has also been accused of behaving like a hypocrite. In 2008, she responded to some unflattering paparazzi photos with a statement on body image: “To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini. Put it on and stay strong,” she said on her blog (via People). It was a sentiment applauded by her female followers, but those same fans were shocked when Hewitt then lost 18 pounds in ten weeks and showed off her new body in a controversial magazine shoot.
She was considered for a Razzie, twice
The Golden Raspberry awards take place the evening before the Oscars, an unofficial counterpart that “celebrates” the absolute worst in film. While some Razzie winners have gone on to redeem themselves and even win Academy Awards, for others, the association is a nail in the career coffin. Hewitt is said to have twice been in the mix for the worst actress of the year award, appearing on the preliminary Razzie ballot in 2003 for her performance alongside Jackie Chan in The Tuxedo. Her name reportedly reappeared in 2005 for her performance as vet Liz Wilson in Garfield: The Movie.
How she can turn it around
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At the time of this writing, Hewitt doesn’t seem to have any major professional projects in the works. Perhaps she’s interested in focusing on her family, which is fair enough. If she wants to remain relevant in Tinseltown too, she could explore ways to blend motherhood with celebrity lifestyle branding, à la Jessica Alba and her eco-friendly baby products. Hewitt designed a line of maternity wear in 2014, so she clearly has some experience in that realm. The former scream queen could finish the follow-up to her relationship advice book, The Day I Shot Cupid, which has reportedly been in the works for years. If she wants to act again, Hewitt may want to reach out to Criminal Minds showrunner Messer, who told Entertainment Weekly “the opportunity for paths to cross again is definitely open,” or she could hunt for an original series that is fresh and off-kilter, taking a chance that it becomes a fan favorite.