- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2007

Declining character actor Dustin Hoffman turns in one of the oddest, if not quite the lamest, performances of his career in the 18th-century period drama “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.” On the scale of sensory aggravation, his (presumably) Italian accent falls somewhere between nails on a chalkboard and “Clockwork Orange”-style eyelid retraction. Mr. Hoffman joins an illustrious company of failed accent-fakers.

Brad Pitt — The do-gooder golden boy takes top honors here for repeated ineptitude in a single year — as an Austrian explorer in “Seven Years in Tibet” and an Irish terrorist in “The Devil’s Own,” both released in 1997.

Meryl Streep/Kevin Costner — Miss Streep is perhaps overly fond of trying on foreign accents, but, more often than not, she succeeds. The jury is hung on her Danish lilt in 1985’s “Out of Africa,” but her Boston accent in 1996’s “Before and After” was indisputably bad — indeed, as laughably unconvincing as Mr. Costner’s “Top of the mawnin’ to ya” brogue in 2000’s “Thirteen Days.”

Melanie Griffith — The 1990 adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s acclaimed novel “The Bonfire of the Vanities” had many flaws, the most comical of which was Miss Griffith’s Southern drawl — when she even remembered to use it, that is.

Julia Roberts — She may be able to smile from sea to shining sea, but 1996’s “Mary Reilly” proved she can’t pull off an Irish accent.

Charlton Heston — The movie: 1958’s “A Touch of Evil.” The accent: Mexican-Spanish. The result: enough to make you shriek as woefully as though you’d just discovered that Soylent Green is people.

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