Head to Head: Ribisi vs. LaBeouf

This weekend, two young heartthrobs go head to head for the thriller dollar. In this corner, in Perfect Stranger, we have long-time heavyweight Giovanni Ribisi. You know, Phoebe’s brother from Friends. And in this corner we have the newcomer, from Disturbia, the fresh-faced Shia LaBeouf. You know, that kid from Disney’s Even Stevens. Let’s put these two pretty boys face to face and see how they stack up.

In the box office this weekend: Winner – LaBeouf. Disturbia is gonna bring in the teens with its PG-13 rating and theme. Perfect Stranger is rated R, but doesn’t have much more content than Disturbia. And, well, audiences actually liked Disturbia. There’s always the off chance that Perfect Stranger will take the weekend, but Disturbia will win the long haul.

In the critical arena: Winner – Tie. LaBeouf has the better movie, but his character doesn’t let him stretch his chops at all. Giovanni is in a stinker of a turdbomb, but he’s the best part of it, turning in a fantastic performance. Shia will get the film raves, Giovanni the performance raves.

In their careers: Winner – Shia. After Disturbia LaBeouf has Transformers, and rumor has him playing the son of Indiana Jones for Spielberg. Ribisi doesn’t have anything close to either of these. Ribisi, however, has a series of cutting edge indie films and interesting roles under his belt. LaBeouf needs to pick up a few of these quickly to earn the kind of cred Ribisi has built for himself. Ribisi needs to prove he can be a leading man, and quick, lest he become known as one of the best character actors of his generation. Right now, Shia has the upper hand.

In a fight: Winner – Ribisi. Giovanni spends half of Perfect Stranger walking around shirtless, and the guy is cut from stone like he bench presses the back end of a Buick every day before coming in to work. Plus, he plays CRAZY so well, he might actually have a touch of the crazy his own self. He’d turn Shia into hamburger and make him cry like a little girl who just lost her lolly. Shia may be spry and wiry, but Giovanni has crazy on his side. Just check out the scene in The Gift where he takes a crowbar to a guy’s truck. Do you really want to tangle with that, Even Steven?

C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me

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Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD two times a week.