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Actor Spotlight: Cam Gigandet

February 9, 2012

This all started because I used to hate this guy—used to.  His hair is always too perfectly disheveled, he doesn’t know what body fat is, and washboards actually envy his abs.  He seems to constantly get type-cast as “sharp-looking boyfriend” or “sharp-looking high school douche bag.”  Basically roles that don’t matter; like a glorified extra with a few lines.  But as a serial over-analyzer of movies I figured I’d take a step back and really assess his work in chronological order in my first Actor Spotlight.  However, in the spirit of good taste, I’ll make no mention of The OC or Twilight.

Never Back Down (2008).  At 26 years old, we find Cam playing a high school mixed martial artist.  I imagine that if this came out while I was in high school then I would have thought it was cool.  Having seen it for the first time at age 30 (about a year older than Cam currently is), it was…entertaining.  However, I never see the need to see this again.  It’s the same way I feel about No Retreat, No Surrender or The Karate Kid (the original or the new one).

Anyway, Cam plays a douche and he does a great job of it.  He functions as the recurring villain who finds most of his screen time when we first meet him as the local popular guy/bully and when we last see him.  I won’t tell you not to watch this, but I’d much sooner endorse the sequel which features Michael Jai White.

The Unborn (2009). Here Cam plays the supportive boyfriend of the ultra-hot Odette Yustman (You Again, Cloverfield, television’s Breaking In), who is sort-of possessed by her unborn, demonic twin brother.  Cam is likeable and he does his job well, which doesn’t demand much of him, as he plays a high schooler again…at 27.

Pandorum (2009). This is my favorite role of his and he apparently plays his age for a change.  I don’t even know if he did that on The OC.  He doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but he does very well with what he has.  Overall, I really dug this movie.  Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid really deliver in the space madness action-suspense flick.

The Experiment (2010). Cam really delivered in this one, too.  He plays a depraved son of a bitch and does it damn well!  I’m reminded of the guards from Sleepers.  You know, just plain evil.  I feel like this is the only time he’s had a role where he could shine…like a bright evil star.  Again, he seems to be playing his age.  For a complete review of the movie, click here.

Like anyone with abs like his would be in a Celibacy Club at age 22!

Easy A (2010). And we’re back to Cam playing high schoolers, again—at 28, but playing a 22-year old senior.  This is about as silly as when Tom Welling played high school freshman Clark Kent in season one of Smallville when he was actually 26.  But I loved Smallville, all ten dragged out seasons, and I enjoyed Cam in his goofy role here, too.

Burlesque (2010). I am on a mission to let Cam prove that he can act.  But parts like this are not helping him out too much.  That said, while I generally detest musicals, I have decided to endure Burlesque.  I just hope that suffering through Christina Aguileira’s attempts to act don’t make Cam look bad by association.

As the movie gets started it is safe to say that Cher’s troupe may have the least sexy burlesque show ever.  If clubs carded age based on the raunchiness of the show, then Cher’s club would be 10 and up.  An SI Swimsuit issue is naughtier than this whoopti-do spectacle.  Aguileira is just as annoying as an Iowa-naïve cutie-pie and Cher is as the protective Mother Hen.  The nice surprises in this movie are Stanley Tucci, who is always delightfully witty whether playing gay, straight, or up-in-the-air, and Kristen Bell, who ate some sandwiches to make a real body out of her typically skeletal frame.  Most other characters are rather forgettable.  Cam, however, comes off as likeable.  Not bad, not particularly good, but likeable—which, I guess, is a good thing.

The Roommate (2011). Competing with Justin Long for how old one can be and still play a college kid, 29-year old Cam is once again desperately trying to prove to us that he can act.  But know this Cam: I don’t care how carefully disheveled your hair is—you still look damn near 30 to me.  You’re not fooling anyone.

This movie has no more depth than an episode of The Smurfs and is just as predictable as Titanic.  It should have been called Single White Swimfan, although the crazy chick in this one was closer to Jennifer Jason Leigh (one of my top picks for The Craziest Chicks of Film) than Erika Christensen.  The best part of this movie was probably the beer I drank while I watched it.  But the second best part might have been Cam’s performance.  He really wasn’t bad.


Priest (2011). Cam, who was effective and enjoyable as a meant-to-be-hated character in Pandorum and The Experiment, played a marshal who annoyed both Paul Bettany’s Priest and me.  This performance was surely Cam’s least talented.  I know his character in Priest is meant to be a pain in the ass, but I didn’t appreciate his contribution to this mediocre movie at all.  For a more thorough review, click here.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS:  It seems that Cam is up to snuff when playing bad guys, bullies, and the ever-ancillary supportive boyfriend.  Up to snuff, sure, but his roles in Easy A, The Roommate and The Unborn are very minor; second even to that of a supporting actor.  Meanwhile, movies where he plays his age—Burlesque, Pandorum, The Experiment—allow him to demonstrate that he doesn’t suck when handed a script where he has more than 3 scenes and 10 lines.  Priest seems to have been his worst work.

So can he act?  Sure.  Why did I think he couldn’t?  Probably a combination of several very minor roles and meant-to-be-hated characters.  I’m sorry I doubted you, Cam.  Just stay away from anything else directed by Scott Charles Stewart (Legion, Priest).

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Sweet Sugar permalink
    February 9, 2012 8:26 pm

    I hear he’s going to be in the next Twilight movie

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 12, 2015 4:07 pm

      Here we are years later and he seems to have disappeared from movies. Being such a good jerk, he should have given the girl the “it” demon from It Follows.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    February 24, 2012 5:05 am

    I personally thought he was awful in The Experiment. There’s something “unorganic” (as an acting teacher might say) about his acting. I’ve seen him in only two of the movies you’ve written about in your article, and somehow, I have never been totally drawn in by his acting. He seems too self-aware in his roles, which is a mark of bad, or at the very least, inexperienced acting. I remember seeing him in The Experiment and thinking, “This guy embodies an LA actor type — a dude who took a few acting classes, snagged an aggressive agent, and found work. There doesn’t seem to be any considerable skill or even talent behind his acting, but that’s just my opinion. He’s getting cast, so obviously someone sees something marketable about him.

    • johnleavengood permalink
      March 21, 2012 10:25 pm

      I like your observations and appreciate the comment. The reason I wrote this article in the first place was because I saw him play a lot of nearly identical roles (even if from different movie genres) and I found myself asking “can this guy act, or is he just being himself while reading these lines in each movie?”


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