How do you save big stars in bad movies?

If Hollywood were to crown a king and queen of nice movie stars, Sandra Bullock would be on a throne next to Tom Hanks. She's been a headliner since the mid-1990s (she turns 45 in July) without incurring the hatred or envy of the town's rapier-tongued gossips. Apparently she is kind to children, dogs and the little people on the set.

Onscreen, Bullock personifies the wholesome, working-class common sense of the ideal friend or girlfriend. From her first hits, Speed and While You Were Sleeping, she knew how to get laughs and produce tears with equal, unforced agility. And with Julia Roberts' four-year break from starring roles (until this spring's Duplicity), Bullock is the one enduring star actress of her age. All this stokes a rooting interest in film folk and audiences alike. They just wish she were in better movies.



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