Pop singers love to try their hand at movie acting, but some of them really shouldn't have. Stuart Heritage rounds up the hits and misses.

The 10 best:


1. Will Smith

The undisputed king of acting singers, and he can't even sing. He has played superheroes. He has played Muhammad Ali. He has played a futuristic cowboy who hates giant metal spiders. There's nothing he can't do.

2. Jennifer Hudson

Nobody could have guessed that an American Idol reject would win an Oscar for her raw performance in Dreamgirls. Or, admittedly, follow it up with a disappointing bitpart in the Sex and the City film.

3. Mark Wahlberg

He may have his numerous detractors but, given the right director, Wahlberg can be genuinely riveting to watch. Yes, he made The Happening - but, seriously, you try acting opposite wind.

4. Frank Sinatra

When he put the right amount of effort in, Sinatra could be a compelling screen presence. He even won an Oscar for From Here To Eternity. He also made Cannonball Run II, but shush.

5. Cher

For someone with such an immobile face, Cher has enormous range. She won an Oscar for Moonstruck. She was heartbreaking in Mask. She turned up for work on Burlesque. That's dedication.

6. Bette Midler

She has spent the last decade and a half playing identically brassy bitparts in terrible films, but Midler had real power once. Admittedly only in other terrible films, but beggars can't be choosers.

7. Eminem

To be fair, he has only really played himself - albeit a mumbling, monotone version of himself - in 8 Mile. But playing yourself can be harder than it looks. Exhibit A: Spice World: The Movie.

8. Mariah Carey

Naturalistic and unshowy, Mariah Carey was a genuine revelation in Precious.

9. Sting

Calling Sting a more tolerable actor than singer sounds like a backhanded compliment. That's because it is. Watch Brimstone & Treacle and you can almost forgive him for Shape of my Heart. Almost.

10. Justin Timberlake

Timberlake's determination to be an actor rather than a singer hasn't paid off yet, but he's sticking with it. Hopefully he will come good soon, or God help us all.

The 10 worst:


1. Jessica Simpson

Once, people said that Jessica Simpson could become a viable acting proposition. Then people saw Jessica Simpson act. And now nobody says that any more.

2. Michael Jackson

In Moonwalker, Michael Jackson played himself. Not a version of himself. He actually played himself, but with all the panache of a regional Michael Jackson lookalike competition bronze medal winner. Let us call this the Spice World effect.

3. Prince

Prince can compose, perform, produce, sing and dance like nobody else on earth. He can also act like nobody else on earth. Because everyone else on earth is better at it than him.

4. Madonna

Madonna's famous tenacity has got her to plenty of places in her career but, every time she decides to act, that place tends to be the DVD bargain bin.

5. 50 Cent

Like Eminem, 50 Cent essentially played himself in Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Unlike Eminem, he then made lots of direct-to-DVD filler that people only watch out of self-loathing.

6. Britney Spears

It's easy to pick on Britney Spears for starring in Crossroads, but that's because watching Crossroads was like performing dental surgery on yourself with a tinfoil drill. Her place here is well deserved.

7. Pete Doherty

Pete's debut acting turn alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg in Confession of a Child of the Century was labelled as "shambling amateurism" by the Guardian's Catherine Shoard. And that was her being nice.

8. Rihanna

Admittedly Rihanna wasn't given an awful lot to do in Battleship, but she still failed hopelessly at it. Your mum, given the chance, could grunt at a Transformer more convincingly.

9. Roger Daltrey

Old rock stars have the choice of buying a trout farm or starring in ill-advised Chesney Hawkes films and the Highlander TV series. Roger Daltrey did both. Greedy.

10. Geri Halliwell

One scene in an episode of Sex and the City. A cameo in Crank: High Voltage. Fat Slags. That's all of Geri Halliwell's acting career. Oh, and she was in Spice World. I rest my case.

What do you think of the list? Were there any musicians who weren't on the list, but should have been? Leave a comment here.

GUARDIAN