Best Known For: Living Single, Chicago
Queen Latifah’s biggest asset must be her versatility. She is unique in that she has been in primarily comedies despite not being a lead in any romantic comedies, although she is about to change that with Just Wright. Technically, Bringing Down The House was also a romantic comedy, but it was way more comedy than romantic. I have wondered whether the lack of romcoms on her resume was a personal choice or a reflection of Hollywood’s standards for leading ladies.
In either case, I appreciate Queen Latifah’s brand of comedy. For the most part, her movies are always clean and family friendly. At the very least, they are never raunchy. In the age of Judd Apatow, Sacha Baron Cohen and the like, it is always refreshing that someone can exude humor without having to resort to toilet or sex jokes.
Other than comedies, Queen Latifah has also taken supporting roles in several dramas and dramedies (Stranger Than Fiction, The Bone Collector). It is always refreshing to see her pop up as a supporting character here and there. Her best and most acclaimed role to date, though, is playing Mama Morton in Chicago. You don’t usually get to see her in a sexualized role, but Mama Morton was one titular lady, if you catch my drift. I am convinced that her rendition of When You’re Good To Mama is what got her an Oscar nomination in 2002. She was able to show off her natural musical talents, so the role was perfectly fitting. It should be pointed out, though, that many singers cannot cross over to film so effortlessly.
To top it all off, Queen Latifah seems like she would be such a nice person in real life and a blast to hang out with! Of course, she may be nothing like the characters she usually plays – vivacious and sassy – but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was.
What I would like to see her in next: Hollywood needs to entrust her with carrying her own dramatic performance. She definitely has the acting chops and she is willing to do non-comedy, so give her a chance! She is in danger of being typecast as the funny, asexual sidekick, so she needs to do something really out of her comfort zone. She’s been trying to break out by taking bit roles in other movies, but they are never showy enough to grab Hollywood’s attention.