In a world of Jonas Brothers and vampires who don't go all the way, Robert Downey Jr. is the adult woman's sex symbol -- an edgy, talented man with enough charisma to make 'Sherlock Holmes' a hit with those of us who can remember him from his days in the Brat Pack. Not only is he a man you can imagine having actual sex with (no promise rings needed here), he offers something that most Hollywood leading men don't -- a willingness to expose his flaws and vulnerability both on screen and off.

Downey Jr. captured attention for his role in 1987's 'Less Than Zero' and went on to prove his street cred with an Oscar-nominated turn in the title role of 1992's 'Chaplin.' And although his arrest record, known drug use and stints in rehab lend to his bad-boy persona, it's the way he was able to tackle his problems and come out the other side that's really appealing. A self-proclaimed Jewish-Buddhist, our rogue may have found spirituality, but thankfully it hasn't taken away that devilish glint in his soulful brown eyes. In a world of Jonas Brothers and vampires who don't go all the way, Robert Downey Jr. is the adult woman's sex symbol -- an edgy, talented man with enough charisma to make 'Sherlock Holmes' a hit with those of us who can remember him from his days in the Brat Pack. Not only is he a man you can imagine having actual sex with (no promise rings needed here), he offers something that most Hollywood leading men don't -- a willingness to expose his flaws and vulnerability both on screen and off.

Downey Jr. captured attention for his role in 1987's 'Less Than Zero' and went on to prove his street cred with an Oscar-nominated turn in the title role of 1992's 'Chaplin.' And although his arrest record, known drug use and stints in rehab lend to his bad-boy persona, it's the way he was able to tackle his problems and come out the other side that's really appealing. A self-proclaimed Jewish-Buddhist, our rogue may have found spirituality, but thankfully it hasn't taken away that devilish glint in his soulful brown eyes.

When it comes to giving women what they want, Hollywood tends to play things on the safe side. For a while we were forced to choose between the tux-wearing, anti-marriage George Clooney and the buff-and-mellow Matthew McConaughey. RDJ doesn't have the practiced suave of Clooney -- his appeal is more the messy sort -- in a good way. And although from the looks of his fight scene in 'Sherlock Holmes,' RDJ has a body to rival McConaughey's, he doesn't feel the need to display himself for the paparazzi doing push-ups in the sand. Rather, there's something tantalizing about the fact that you'd never guess what was underneath Holmes's Victorian ascots and tweeds.

'Sherlock Holmes' Trailer


While other actors worship at the fountain of youth, trying Botox and face lifts, Downey Jr. wears the signs of his age comfortably (he's 44), telling us that he's secure in his own skin. Eschewing the typical choice of model/nanny/cocktail waitress for a mate, Downey Jr. found his match with a 36-year-old film producer. (Of course, there certainly are many intelligent models/nannies/cocktail waitresses, but isn't it strange that you never hear about actors hooking up with scientists/lawyers/Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists?)

But back to 'Sherlock Holmes.' While the New York Times' A.O. Scott mistakenly deduced that this was a movie for soda-gulping teenage boys to see, he completely overlooked the film's main fan base -- thirtysomething women (like me) who are gaga for Downey Jr. or Jude Law (who plays a sexy, mustachioed Watson). Scott says that the presence of a feisty female character, Irene Adler, (Rachel McAdams) "offers a little something for the ladies," but in fact the reason we're plunking down 12 bucks is to get a glimpse of RDJ naked and chained to a bed. So guys, take your wives and girlfriends to see 'Sherlock Holmes' this weekend. Sure, she may be imaging herself in a cinematic menage a trios with the film's two leading men, but it could still lead to some date night passion -- the sort that those Tom Cruise-types could never inspire.
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