JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The Sad Sinking of Amanda Bynes

Several years ago, HBO seemed to air the movie, What A Girl Wants at least 73 times per day.

The film, which originally came out in 2003, starred Amanda Bynes as “Daphne,” an American girl who learns her father (played, inexplicably, by Colin Firth) is a wealthy British politician. Wackiness ensues, as Daphne goes to England, teaches those stodgy Brits how to have fun, meets a cute musician boy (smoochy smoochy) and, ultimately, reunites her parents. It’s one of those movies that sucks so insanely badly that, when it’s on, I find myself absorbed by the awful lines and killer cliches. Think From Justin to Kelly, minus the excruciating soundtrack.

Anyhow, the thing about What a Girl Wants is that Amanda Bynes, not a good actor by any measure, has something snappy going on. She reminds me of the sort of girl I had crushes on when I was a teen—pretty, but not sexy; cool, but not arrogant; engaging, but not annoyingly so. There’s a warmth to her; a genuine … something to her character that shines through all the dogshit. It was enough that, come movie’s end, I sorta thought, “Maybe, just maybe, this kid has a chance …”

Earlier this week I Googled “Amanda Bynes,” just to see what’s cooking. On the bright side, she has 1,131,297 Twitter followers. On the dark side, I’m guessing they’re following her to watch the train wreck unfold stage by stage. Amanda Bynes, age 27, has been arrested multiple times. She smokes. She has these metal things coming out of both sides of her face. She has a really bad tattoo on one of her arms, She hasn’t had an acting career in years. She seems to like—no, need—attention.

In short, Amanda Bynes is example No. 432,345,432 why parents who turn their little kids into TV/movie stars are selfish fools. It just doesn’t work out, and even when it does work out, it doesn’t work out. You’re damned to be a lost soul, searching for the buzz that came at age 9, then vanished with the development of breasts and self-realization. The money is gone. The opportunities are gone.

And here you are. On Twitter. Showing the world photos of your boobs.

Alone.