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‘Perky’ just wasn’t enough

Posted: November 17, 2011 11:21 a.m.
Updated: November 18, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Meg Ryan turned 50 this week. Even got herself featured on the AARP web site.

Is nothing sacred?

You remember Meg Ryan, don’t you? She’s the blonde who was so good in “When Harry Met Sally” (that deli scene was priceless) and “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.”

America’s consummate honey.

Cute and wholesome.

All-American girl.

There are sultry actresses -- Angelina Jolie and Diane Lane come to mind -- and then there are down-to-earth ones. Meg Ryan fit the latter bill. She made a pile of money playing the type of girl mothers want their sons to bring home.

Even women, who sometimes have catty things to say about actresses whose breasts are too large or dresses too tight, liked Meg Ryan. Maybe that’s because her figure was modest and her clothing discreet.

For years, Meg was one of the hottest stars in Hollywood. She was winsome and appealing and perky. That’s the word that was always used to describe her.

Then Meg forgot who brung her to the dance. She decided cute and perky weren’t enough; she wanted to be Pamela Anderson.

She starred in a flick in which she got naked. Then she had a real-life affair. Horrors. I was more shocked than when my poor sainted grandmother learned that Julie Andrews was doing a topless scene in a movie shortly after she starred in “The Sound of Music.”

And Meg’s lips … she got her lips injected with Collagen or jelly or pig fat or whatever it is they put in there to make them larger and firmer, and she looked downright ridiculous.

Personally, you can put me down as voting that if a woman decides to make a part of her body larger and firmer, it shouldn’t be her lips.

Earlier this week, one web site headlined her 50th birthday with a series of photos taken over the years. The first ones kind of screamed, “I’m a likable person even if I am a big Hollywood star.” The later ones seemed to highlight her big old fish lips that were so puffed up she looked like somebody had just socked her in the mouth.

When I was 10 years old at summer camp, my friend Michael Kell fell down in a stream and busted his lower lip on a rock. Swelled up like a balloon. Meg Ryan looked just like Michael did after his fall.

So it’s easy to see why some people, including me, might ask her, “Hey, Meg, if you were the world’s cutest and most likable female movie star, and if you were making a gazillion dollars per film, and if everybody wanted to rush out to see your movies, why did you suddenly decide you wanted to be a sex goddess?”

It’s sort of like people would like to ask Tiger Woods -- not even mentioning his personal life -- “Hey, Tiger, if you were the best golfer in the world, why did you decide to fire your swing coach and completely redo your technique?”

Everybody liked Meg better as Miss Cutesy. These days, directors aren’t exactly beating down her door to have her play sexpot roles, even with her enlarged mouth.

Yeah, I know. Stars always say they have to grow.

So I guess Meg felt like she needed to move beyond “When Harry Met Sally.” Problem is, she just moved a little too far.

Now she’s AARP-eligible and nobody wants to see her and her big lips in movies.

Sort of brought it on herself, I guess. But thank goodness for Netflix. I can still see the old Meg Ryan anytime I want to.

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