An unusually nasty piece over at The Guardian is causing revulsion, even among seen-it-all types like Jeff Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere, who calls it "one of the meanest and most heartless" celebrity journalism pieces he's ever read, as well as being "insensitive" and "pointless." I have to agree. Let me start by saying that, as a long-time fan of Nicole Kidman's -- check out the three-part retrospective of her early career I did a while back -- I share the originating sentiment of the Guardian piece, which is that Kidman is of late taking a wrecking-ball to her film career with one inexcusably awful choice after the other. From dreck like The Stepford Wives and The Human Stain to almost-unreleasable garbage like Bewitched and The Invasion, she's practically daring fans to turn away from her. Even her latest prestige project, Margot at the Wedding, is completely awful. After seeing Margot in Toronto, I declared this to be Kidman's "annus horribilis."

All that said, however, this piece reads like it was written by some fourth-grader, undercutting whatever serious intent it may contain with a ton of personal smears. Kidman is referred to as a "former Scientology hostage bride" who only won an Oscar for wearing "a false hooter" and who is now "box office poison." Soon enough, the piece warns, "Hollywood's powers that be -- or their accountants -- will rise from their crypts one morning and realize it's time to cut their losses." The article also urges Kidman to retire before she becomes "Joan Crawford 1944" and is way too harsh on Birth, the one semi-decent movie Kidman has produced in the last three years.

Kidman is also on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair, but that piece is hardly any more worthwhile. It's entirely oriented around her personal life and content to elicit from the actress fortune-cookie aphorisms about how to handle a long-distance relationship and the like. Is there no place left for a serious critique of an actor's career, or lack of one?