Though her gifts for making us laugh were largely wasted in her first comedy outing (could Woody Allen not give her a single punch line in ''Manhattan?) the world's foremost tragedienne took on three witty roles this year alone ('Julie & Julia,' 'The Fantastic Mr. Fox' and 'It's Complicated'). Let's look at some of Streep's biggest hoots. Did you know that Meryl Streep has made more than 25 comedies? Actually, it's less than 20. It might actually be less than 15. But no matter.
Though her gifts for making us laugh were largely wasted in her first comedy outing (could Woody Allen not give her a single punch line in ''Manhattan?) the world's foremost tragedienne took on three witty roles this year alone ('Julie & Julia,' 'The Fantastic Mr. Fox' and 'It's Complicated'). Let's look at some of Streep's biggest hoots.
'Julie and Julia' (2009)
The biopic is probably the most difficult challenge for an actor -- especially when the star is called upon to recreate an image already tucked into the memory bank of many. Blogging amateur chef Julie (Amy Adams) is so taken with Julia Child that she watches old episodes of 'The French Chef' -- and Streep must capture the essence of that groundbreaking show. She not only shows Child's seriousness of purpose but also the unintentional hilarity, as nothing ever flummoxed the French chef from Pasadena, not even a runaway omelet. It's one of the many reasons why 2010 might give Streep her first Best Actress Oscar in over 20 years. Bon Appetit!
'Mamma Mia!' (2008)
A dervish in this very broad Broadway musical adaptation, there's a moment at the very end where this most unlikely pop princess goes punk. Perhaps driven insane by the sight of the entire cast in jumpsuits Elvis would have sent back, Meryl mugs for the camera. Correction, she just mugs it. Getting up in our grill, she yells "Do you want another one?!" after belting out 'Dancing Queen' "Do you want another one?!" Affirmative.
Regal New Yorker writer Susan Orlean (not the real Susan Orlean, but, well, you have to be there) turns to seed after snorting the hallucinogenic handiwork of her subject, "Orchid Thief" John Laroche (Oscar winner Chris Cooper). Strung out in a hotel room, she first begins to feel the drug's effects while brushing her teeth. Then, briefly turning this surreal comedy into a musical, she passionately hums along with a dial tone.
'Postcards from the Edge' (1990)
One postcard was from a ledge, as hot starlet turned super-addict Suzanne Vale is now a second banana on a cop caper. Dangling from a building (she's actually prostrate, with a camera angle providing the tension) Streep commits a sight gag worth of Buster Keaton, as she releases her hands in a "what gives" gesture, bored at all the movie magic.
'The Devil Wears Prada' (2006)
Gray is the new blonde as Meryl's hair and manner are at their most fierce. This 2006 hit features Streep as fashion magazine doyenne Miranda Priestly, the worst boss since Vlad the Impaler. She greets new assistant Andy (Anne Hathaway) with all the warmth of the Wollman ice rink: "who is that?" With this performance, Streep pulled off something Jim Carrey and Steve Martin have yet to accomplish: an Academy Award nomination for a comedic role.
'It's Complicated' (2009)
In one of the sharpest scenes in a movie that takes its time, Streep's Jane runs into her ex (Alec Baldwin) and his young, tanned trophy wife Agness (Lake Bell --- and yes, two "S"s in Agness) in an elevator. Streep's reactions say it all. First, her "oh please" look that her fiftysomething ex -- already the father of two -- is holding a brochure from a fertility clinic. Then Jane gets an eyeful of Agness's hilariously aggressive tiger tattoo. Streep's look here is particularly hip and fresh, as she seems to object not to the ink, but to the tattoo's size and humorlessness. Ick!