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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It s a beautiful day to be a Brooklyn Decker fan.

The former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model raised in Matthews is landing in theaters today in not just one but two big-budget movies: Battleship, based on the board game of the same name, and What to Expect When You re Expecting, based on the pregnancy book of the same name.

At 25, Decker may or may not wind up having a long and prosperous career as a film actress. But it won t be for a lack of trying.

Her current two-pronged attack would seem to make a lot of sense. She s got the male demographic covered with Battleship, in which she plays a physical therapist who happens to be daughter of the commander of the Pacific Fleet (Liam Neeson) and girlfriend to the hero (Taylor Kitsch). And she s got the female demo on the hook with What to Expect, in which she plays a trophy wife to a former NASCAR stud (Dennis Quaid, who is 58).

Sadly, though, these are dumb movies, both lacking original ideas, neither ideal showcases for whatever talent Decker might have.

I mean, her talent is on display she gets to wear a white bikini top and cut-off jean shorts during a nighttime make-out scene in the beach with Kitsch in Battleship, and dons a blue bikini with a cropped white cover-up during a party scene in What to Expect (she s supposed to be preggers in this one, so she also sports a fake belly).

But as with her cute but unsteady turn in 2011 as Adam Sandler s girlfriend in the awful romantic comedy Just Go With It, Decker is onscreen for maybe 15 minutes per movie, given just little bits and pieces of things to do.

The good news this time around is those bits and pieces are more intriguing. She gets to ham it up in What to Expect, adopting a drawl and managing to be vapid without being unlikeable. More promisingly, early in Battleship, she shows resolve and glimmers of depth in a nice scene in which she lights a fire under a Navy amputee struggling through rehab.

I ve interviewed Decker twice, and the last time I spoke with her around the time Just Go With It was released on DVD and Blu-ray she said that she hoped her future roles 1) would put less emphasis on her physical assets and 2) would include independent films.

According to the Internet Movie DataBase, Decker has nothing in the pipeline. (She said last year that she was attached to two indies that were in very early development, so either those projects fell apart, or they re still in very early development.)

She ll probably get a few phone calls soon, thanks to her big weekend, and hopefully, they ll come from filmmakers willing to test her. She needs a character that is allowed to breathe. Someone with complexity. Someone who gets a line that s not 10 words long, but 100, and is trusted to say it without the camera cutting away.

I m not saying she s ready to be Lisbeth Salander or Katniss Everdeen, but how did Rooney Mara and Jennifer Lawrence get there? They took big roles in small films (e.g. Lawrence in Winter s Bone ) or landed scene-stealers in high-end studio flicks (see Mara in The Social Network ).

I m also not saying Decker is in the same league as someone like Mara or someone like Lawrence.

I m just saying I ve now seen Decker bare a fair amount of skin in three different mediocre movies, and while there s no question she s a remarkable physical specimen, at this point I d be more impressed if she would show us what she s got as an actress in a better one.
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