Everyone knows that MTV awards shows aren't the time to pull out your stuffy formal wear, but when there are only a handful of stand-out outfits on the red carpet and they're simple as can be, some Cher-sized extravagance might be a welcome change of pace.
At the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday (see "Eminem Teases Lindsay And Newbies Rule At MTV Movie Awards"), Jennifer Connelly and Jessica Simpson stole the show in basic black. Connelly was sexy and statuesque in a fitted jacket with an oversized collar and jeans, while Simpson wore a minimal black backless tank dress.
While they looked good, it seemed like most of the other women on the carpet had the same idea: to raid Mary-Kate Olsen's closet. Jessica Alba's billowy olive and lime layered dress was cinched with a butterfly belt and had an up-to-there slit. Hilary Swank paired an earth-toned strapless dress with a braided leather belt and a chunky beaded necklace. Haylie Duff wore a flowing black strapless dress with eyelet cut-outs around the top and long gold necklaces.
But not everyone who went bohemian pulled off the look: Sandra Bullock had on an extra-long and super-drapey plum peasant shirt over frayed jeans, while Molly Ringwald wore a pink-and-gold chiffon V-neck tunic over white capri pants.
Lindsay Lohan's geometric-printed halter dress saved her from falling into the boho trend, but the long, loose and layered style of the ensemble came dangerously close. And — as is standard these days — wherever Lohan is, Nicole Richie is close by and in a similar get-up. For the awards, Richie came in a floor-length, multi-colored animal-print halter dress. Taryn Manning also showed off her animal instincts in a low-cut python-print dress.
Others did dress up, but something about their outfits just missed the mark. Hilary Duff looked a little like a melted ice cream bar in a chocolate brown floor length dress with orange, pink, and green color blocks on the skirt, and Jessica Biel's short-sleeved kimono-like dress in peaches, pinks, reds and browns was another colorful pattern gone awry.
Also in this unfortunate category were Jennifer Tilly, who took the night as an opportunity to show off her bust, er, best assets in a chartreuse tank dress with gold chain link straps; and Lacey Chabert in a low-cut orange beaded dress. Mya wore a dress Mariah Carey probably asked her stylist to have on her bed by the time the show was over, adorned with multi-colored butterflies and topped with a lace bustier. And Rachel McAdams looked like she had a shrunken ice skater's costume on over a pair of jeans.
Thank goodness for Nicole Kidman and Eva Mendes, who weren't exactly showshoppers in their elegant black dresses but were classically well-dressed.
As for the men, try to guess their uniform from these hints: Chris Tucker wore a black leather blazer with a black Yves St. Laurent logo tee underneath; DJ AM wore a shrunken black jacket over a vintage "Star Wars" shirt; Ryan Gosling sported a black blazer, brown trousers and — apparently in an effort to spread awareness of the war in the Sudan — a T-shirt that said "Darfur"; and Anthony Michael Hall arrived in an army jacket over a Morocco top.
And Travis Barker opted for neither a blazer nor even a full T-shirt; he wore a ripped-up green DC Shoes shirt and camouflage shorts.
Standing out from the crowd were Johnny Knoxville in a blue-and-white seersucker suit; Fat Joe in a white suit with a pink shirt, tie, and pocket square; and DJ Qualls in a white jacket, striped button down shirt, black tie and an orange-and-brown-striped sweater. (Check out what Qualls and others were up to backstage in "Backstage At The Movie Awards: Sandler, Rock, Cruise, Holmes.")
Finally, the serious clunkers: Even though we're a long way from a brick wall and the blazer with rolled-up sleeves, Rob Schneider did nothing to dispel the idea that comics can't dress by showing up in a black embroidered Elvis Presleyesque suit with a matching orange button-down shirt.
And confidential to Judd Nelson: Does Nick Nolte know you raided his closet?