By Stacy Jenel Smith
's departure from her well-worn Cute as a Button image in the Oct. 22-opening "In the Cut" is generating headlines. Startled media have noted that the sexually graphic thriller, which features a naked Meg, is "anything but cute," that Meg has "put perkiness on hold," and that her one time America's Sweetheart title is now (sigh) just a memory.\You'd think she sprouted a third arm.
Yes, we love our Cute as a Button stars, and we love them best when they're acting appropriately. Leave it to critics and art house theatre aficionados to warm up to "In the Cut." Most of us would rather take "When Harry Met Sally" anytime. So, while Meg may be leaving the Cute as a Button list, here are the other top cuties we love to see:
1) Cameron Diaz. No wonder she's become the Number One female box office star. Only the cutest on-screen presence could have pulled off that "Something About Mary" bit with the "hair gel." The "Soul Train" dancing scene in "Charlie's Angels" was a tour de cute. And her real-life romance with the also-cute Justin Timberlake puts Cameron way out in front of the cute pack - in spite of the fact she's capable of going full on into drama when she wants.
2) Tobey Maguire
. From "Spider-man" to "Seabiscuit," cuteness clings to this 27-year-old, 5-foot-8 star, whether he's playing scenes of love, heartbreak, or action. But Tobey's background was not cute, and he admits to carrying around an "angry ambition." Born to teenage parents who split up when he was two, he moved from place to place throughout his childhood, quit school to pursue acting at age 13 -- then studied part time between making commercials and TV guest spots. He made a reported $17 million for "Spider-Man II" alone.
3) Hilary Duff. Hey, now. Hey, now. She's had a string of hit singles and a hit album, and her acting career is on the fast track. This is what Cute as a Button dreams are made of. The rising 16-year old pop princess and movie attraction has the big screen "Cheaper By the Dozen" and "A Cinderella Story" coming up, both of which promise to show off her cuteness. When she and her on-again/off-again boyfriend Aaron Carter are together, they're two cute.
4) Raven. Disney's current It Girl (now that Hilary is no longer in production on "Lizzie McGuire") was the quintessential Cute as a Button kid as a tot on "The Cosby Show," and she's retained her cuteness as a full-grown young lady with great comedy instincts. Besides her "That's So Raven," the 17 year-old has a remake of "Sparkle" en route to production for the big screen, in addition to a comedy in which she's to play a teen who becomes an overnight celebrity after saving the life of the President of the United States. It's called "All American Girl," which is as cute as it gets.
5) Dakota Fanning. Born in Conyers, Georgia in 1994, Hollywood's reigning cute kid is an undeniably gifted actress. Dakota has range from the comedic heights, as in the Nov. 21 release "The Cat in the Hat" with Mike Myers, to the dramatic depths -- as in "I Am Sam" with Sean Penn, the "Steven Spielberg Presents 'Taken'" mini-series, and next year's "Man on Fire" feature with Denzel Washington, in which she plays a doomed kidnapping victim. "I've always wanted to be an actress," the 9-year-old told us earlier this year, "ever since I was a little girl."
6) Heather Locklear deserves acknowledgement for retaining much of her cuteness through the rigors of five TV series, a bunch of movies and not one, but two, rock star marriages -- ex-spouse Tommy Lee and current husband Richie Sambora.
7) Pop music and film star Mandy Moore is Cute as a Button, whether she goes blonde or brunette.
8) Romeo is the cutest hip-hop artist, and his "Romeo!" Nickelodeon show is pretty cute, too.
9) Alicia Silverstone was Cute as a Button back when she made "Clueless" and she's still cute on the small screen's "Miss Match."
10) Ashton Kutcher. Bruce, Emilio...forget about it! Among Demi's men, the "That '70s Show' star is definitely the cutest.