Also Credited As:Bridget Jane Fonda
|January 27, 1964|
The roommate-from-hell thriller "Single White Female" (1992) paired Fonda with another young star, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and she contributed some nice work to the ensemble acting of the twentysomething comedy "Singles" (1992), as the character planning to have her breasts enlarged. Given the chance to carry a film, she starred as a fairly credible (if whining) assassin in "Point of No Return" (1993), the American remake of Luc Besson's "La Femme Nikita" (1990), but the movie did not make her a superstar as some had hoped. Fonda put down the gun to play an appealing mother in "Little Buddha" (1993), an aspiring musician in "Camilla" (1994) and a down-to-earth waitress who shares a winning lottery ticket with Nicolas Cage in the Capraesque fable, "It Could Happen To You" (1994). She also essayed the female lead in Harold Becker's "City Hall" (1996), a drama about politics and corruption in Manhattan, co-starring Al Pacino (as the mayor) and John Cusack (as a deputy mayor).
Fonda has an elusive, quirky and offbeat quality that few directors have captured, which may explain why that single defining catapulting role to call her very own has remained out of reach. Unable to fully realize her potential, directors have often seriously underused her, and though she's a sexy little thing, she's more than that as her early work in "Strapless" and "Scandal" attest. Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" (1997) featured her as a conniving, overtanned blonde bimbo surfer "pot-head" who wears cutoff shorts and a bikini top as the kept girl of Samuel L Jackson, reinforcing her image as a so-called sex symbol but also giving her some first-rate, foul-mouthed dialogue to spout. That year also saw her contribute a neat, surprisingly touching cameo as Chris Eigeman's stuttering girlfriend in David Winkler's feature directing debut, "Mr. Jealousy", and earn an Emmy nomination as a yuppie pool of angst in Christopher Reeve's highly-acclaimed "In the Gloaming" (HBO).
Though she was the top-billed female in Sam Raimi's "A Simple Plan" (1998), the director's first departure from genre fare to concentrate on character development gave her nowhere near as much to sink her teeth as it did Bill Paxton and particularly Billy Bob Thornton. That said, she acquitted herself admirably as the sensible and loving new mom who nevertheless has the chilly heart of Lady Macbeth. She delivered a memorably sexy turn in "Finding Graceland" (1998), dressed in full regalia as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. "Lake Placid" (1999), a drama penned by David E Kelley, offered her a juicy part as a paleontologist investigating a mysterious death while "The Break Up" (aired on Cinemax in 1999) cast her as a hearing-impaired woman accused of murdering her abusive husband. While still chasing that illusive star-making role, Fonda must remain content with being an actress who works constantly, which isn't so bad, after all.