It’s hard to believe Jennifer Love Hewitt is just barely into her 40s. It’s not that the former child actor and teen star has aged badly, she’s just one of those celebs that seems to have been around forever…in the world of television, at least. At the movies, on the other hand, Hewitt briefly flirted with A-list status before completely dropping off the radar. Looking back at her career, it’s easy to understand why.
Critics seem to loathe Jennifer Love Hewitt films
Having a bunch of critics pan you presents a bit of a problem. Jennifer Love Hewitt was named the worst-reviewed actress in Hollywood in 2016, and a quick glance at her Rotten Tomatoes record highlights the lack of love she’s received from the industry. Sixteen of her feature films have "Tomatometer" scores, and every single one has been deemed "Rotten." One of her most critically-skewered efforts to swap the small screen for the big one came courtesy of 2013’s Jewtopia, a romantic comedy described by The Village Voice as a film that "manages to be offensive to almost everyone, including people who like to laugh at something because it’s funny." Ouch.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is ‘like a 90-year-old woman’
In a 2013 interview with Collider, Jennifer Love Hewitt marveled at the technology of social media in a way normally only grandparents do. Referring to herself as "like a 90-year-old woman," Hewitt confessed how new she was to "the whole internet and Twitter and Facebook, and all of that." She then said, "Back in my day, we walked to school barefoot in the snow— uphill both ways!" We’re kidding about that last line, but she did say, "I am quite shocked at how much fun it is to be able to reach out to people, on a daily basis, and keep content out there, and how much it actually really does help promote things, in such a different way."
Granted, studios and networks do just fine promoting projects on their own, so Hewitt’s techno naivete isn’t likely to be much of casting deal breaker, but can you imagine them trying to explain product placement? We imagine her saying something like, "So if the ghost I’m whispering to drinks a Coke, the viewers will want a Coke? How swell!"
She let the trolls win
No director wants to work with someone who can’t handle criticism (constructive or otherwise), and this is another likely reason that Jennifer Love Hewitt isn’t inundated with offers anymore. Case in point: she made a huge deal about quitting Twitter over the sheer "negativity" that users were sending her way, writing, "I’m sad to say Twitter is no longer for me. Life should be filled with positivity and holding each other up, not making threats and sending bad vibes…" All Hewitt did by making a show of leaving Twitter was highlight her unpopularity. Not to mention, her grand exit was all in vain because she later returned and began tweeting as much as ever.
Is Jennifer Love Hewitt a diva?
A bad reputation will follow you around like a bad smell on the streets of Tinseltown, and getting into a drawn-out spat with producers is a sure-fire way to earn one.
Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Lifetime series The Client List was preparing for a third season in 2013, but the network put it on ice when the actress got pregnant. Her pregnancy wasn’t the issue (her character in the show was actually having a baby too.) It was how she wanted to incorporate it into the show that allegedly put her at odds with producers. The actress reportedly wanted co-star Brian Hallisay (her partner in real life and the father of her real child) to play the father of her baby on the show. Producers had other plans, which put them at an impasse with the actress. Hewitt apparently wouldn’t budge, so the entire show was axed.
Are Jennifer Love Hewitt’s fears holding her back?
Numerous celeb gossip sites claim Jennifer Love Hewitt has a long list of phobias that could certainly hamstring her career ambitions. According to Zimbio, she has said, "The trouble is that many of the Hollywood meetings I have to attend take place at the top of tall buildings, and I simply cannot set foot in [an elevator] if there are too many people in it. I prefer it when it’s empty so I can scream if I want to. I am also scared of sharks, which is why you will never find me in the sea."
The Times of India quoted the actress admitting, "I am a terrible hypochondriac. I have every illness known to man, and I am pretty sure I have had the bird flu four of five times. I know I drive people mad with my phobias."
Star Crush alleges she’s also afraid of chicken wings and freaks out if her teeth touch a bone. If any of this unsubstantiated, but oft repeated, scuttlebutt is true, it could explain why Hewitt seems to be collecting more eye rolls than movie roles.
Jennifer Love Hewitt starred in the worst box office opener in history
In the animated adventure Delgo, Jennifer Love Hewitt stars as one of several avatar-like creatures divided by race wars and romance. At the time of its 2008 release, the film was the worst box office opener in history, grossing a shocking per-venue average of just $237. According to a critic for Cartoon Brew, the ill-fated movie "hired every B- and C-list actor this side of Dancing With the Stars and somehow still failed." Yikes. At the time of this writing, that flick was still sitting in the No. 2 spot on Box Office Mojo‘s list of all-time worst openings for a film’s original release.
Fans petitioned to boot Jennifer Love Hewitt off Criminal Minds
During her debut season on Criminal Minds, fans actually petitioned CBS to give Jennifer Love Hewitt the boot, claiming audiences "can only stand so many more episodes of this Lifetime Movie-style acting" and specifically citing a "twerking joke" they rejected with a simple "no." The network did, indeed, write off FBI Agent Kate Callahan, though reportedly not in response to its disgruntled followers.
According to Cinema Blend, Hewitt waited until the end of 2014 to tell the creative team she was pregnant with her second child and due in the summer of 2015, when filming would need to resume for the next season of the show. Though much of that season’s finale was already locked down, the team made adjustments to eliminate her character. Showrunner Erica Messer told Entertainment Weekly, "Timing-wise there was no way for her to do both, to be able to give that baby everything she wanted to give that baby and still be on our show."
Jennifer Love Hewitt alienated women
Jennifer Love Hewitt falls into the same category as Anne Hathaway, in that she seems to inspire an inexplicable hatred in hordes of people, particularly women. Reasons vary, but most complaints seem to come from those in their late 20s and early 30s, a generation of viewers who were sold the idea of Hewitt as the relatable girl next door but weren’t able to see her as anything more than eye candy. That’s an important demographic for Hollywood producers, so taking a chance on an unpopular actress who gets slammed in celebrity gossip columns and snarky blogs may not be worth the gamble.
Hewitt has also been accused of behaving like a hypocrite. In 2008, she responded to some unflattering paparazzi photos with a statement on body image: "Being a size 0 doesn’t make you beautiful. To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini. Put it on and stay strong," she said on her blog (via People). It was a sentiment applauded by her female followers, but those same fans were shocked when Hewitt then lost 18 pounds in ten weeks and showed off her new body in a controversial magazine shoot.
Money talks, Hewitt walks
Hewitt’s most successful film in terms of box office return remains the one that shot her to stardom in 1997. I Know What You Did Last Summer was put together for an estimated budget of $17 million and returned a massive $72 million from the domestic market alone, with a further $53 million banked overseas. Hoping to see the same profit margin with the sequel, producers budgeted $65 million, but the writing was on the wall when the first weekend’s receipts amounted to less than $17 million. Action comedy The Tuxedo (2002) was another box office bomb in the States.
Jennifer Love Hewitt was considered for a Razzie, twice
The Golden Raspberry awards take place the evening before the Oscars, an unofficial counterpart that "celebrates" the absolute worst in film. While some Razzie winners have gone on to redeem themselves and even win Academy Awards, for others, the association is a nail in the career coffin. Hewitt is said to have twice been in the mix for the worst actress of the year award, appearing on the preliminary Razzie ballot in 2003 for her performance alongside Jackie Chan in The Tuxedo. Her name reportedly reappeared in 2005 for her performance as vet Liz Wilson in Garfield: The Movie.
But wait, has Jennifer Love Hewitt turned things around?
For a while, it looked like Jennifer Love Hewitt pivoted to a focus on her family, which is fair enough. But she seemed to always have an interest in remaining relevant in Tinseltown, too. For lots of young Hollywood moms, the best way to do that is to blend motherhood with celebrity lifestyle branding, à la Jessica Alba and her eco-friendly baby products. Hewitt seemed to be headed that route by designing a line of maternity wear in 2014, but it certainly did not become the next Honest Company.
Instead, Jennifer Love Hewitt returned to the well, catching a big break in 2018 when she was cast on 9-1-1, the emergency responder procedural from prodigious showrunner Ryan Murphy. With three seasons under in the can and a fourth slated for 2021, the show that Fox Entertainment exec Michael Thorn told Variety is a "centerpiece for Fox Entertainment" seems like a pretty safe job for Hewitt. Fortunately for Hewitt, fans have reacted warmly to her performance, and on top of that, it seems to be a perfect gig for where she’s at in her life. Asked by AssingmentX in 2019 if she had any other irons in the fire career-wise, Hewitt said, "No, this is keeping me very busy. Parenthood and 9-1-1, that’s about it."