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De Niro plays elder statesman at Guys Choice

- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2011

CULVER CITY, CALIF. (AP) - Fresh from leading the Cannes jury, Robert De Niro found himself on stage at the Guys Choice Awards praising Keith Richards' "big brass balls" and telling an audience that Sean Penn peaked with "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

De Niro played the dirty-mouthed elder statesman at Saturday night's Spike TV honors, a sort of brash, puerile younger brother to the MTV Movie Awards, which is airing live on that network Sunday.

Like that show, the Guys Choice stage on the Sony lot was populated by Hollywood types with something to promote _ mostly summer movies.

Justin Timberlake leered at his "Friends With Benefits" co-star Mila Kunis as she took the "Holy Grail of Hot" trophy, while his "Bad Teacher" co-star Cameron Diaz kicked off the show with a monologue.

"Mr. Popper's Penguins" star Jim Carrey shared an unprintable story about how he became a funnyman through a painful encounter with an uncle.

"I'm actually kind of a geek that way when I come out to these things," Carrey said backstage. "It's half to just be creative and do some crazy, blow-out thing and half because I like seeing people that are in my business. Kind of cool."

Richards took the night's final honor, a lifetime achievement trophy previously given to the likes of Clint Eastwood. He hoisted the Brass Balls award, which resembles a giant dumbbell with spheres on two sides.

"I mean, I've had a few awards in my time," the rock legend said backstage. "With the balls it's like where to put them? It's easy to pick them up but where are you going to put them? I've got to figure that out with the wife."

Penn led a "Fast Times" reunion onstage, joined by Forest Whitaker, Judge Reinhold and other cast members.

Mark Wahlberg was named "Guy of the Year" and his Oscar-nominated "The Fighter" took "Guy Movie of the Year."

But backstage, Wahlberg was excited about another project, a still-in-development street basketball story that would star him and Justin Bieber in the teen pop star's first dramatic role.

"It's more like Paul Newman and `The Hustler.' You know, it's kind of like an older guy mentoring -- a reluctant mentor to a young guy," Wahlberg said. "It's something that would be very surprising to people, the kind of role that he would play, and what he would be capable of doing as an actor."

Wahlberg said he hadn't seen Bieber act yet but "I've hung out with him enough and talked to him enough to know that I think we could make it real."

The Guys Choice Awards will air Friday on Spike TV.

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