John Travolta has fallen from grace since his Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction days, now existing as a repository for ridiculous on-screen hairstyles and award show schadenfreude. But Johnny might be able to redeem himself in our eyes if he can pull off a competent Boston accent in his new film The Forger. After watching the film’s first trailer, which debuted today, the jury is still out.
The problem in gauging Travolta’s accent in the trailer is that he barely strings four words together. The only lines he has that require a Boston accent (“you want me to forge it?”) are actually not bad! Just the right amount of R-dropping without straying into Kennedy territory.
The problem is that divorcing Travolta’s line delivery from his facial expression is impossible, and Travolta’s face doesn’t move much these days. Even a pitch-perfect rendition of a Dorchester native seems off-putting when delivered by someone whose ability to open their eyes wide disappeared over a decade ago.
We’ll have to wait until The Forger arrives in theaters April 25 to determine where he ranks in the Boston accents portrayed on television and film, a ranking system we track very closely, but right now he’s somewhere between Mark Wahlberg in The Departed and Julianne Moore in 30 Rock.