The Curse of the New Yorker Profile

I thought the premise of this article was pretty silly, but it actually contains some great insights into the process and limits of profile-writing for a magazine like The New Yorker:

To put it mildly, there’s something of a New Yorker feature curse going around Hollywood these days. It doesn’t always hold true — Dana Goodyear’s profile of James Cameron certainly didn’t hurt “Avatar” — but when it does, the results can be startling, especially when you set the articles alongside the films they so effusively describe. Tad Friend’s profile of Steve Carell, for instance, portrays its subject as “a brilliant piece of software, a 2.0 fix for the problem of unfunny comedy,” whose approach to collaboration is nothing less than “a painstaking set of procedures aimed at maximum creativity.” The result? “Dinner for Schmucks,” a critical and commercial nonevent that few would hold up as a model of “the golden age of improvisation.”

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