The Evolution Of Kat Dennings

Sex and the City (2000)

After appearing in a number of TV commercials, Dennings’ acting career got a respectable launch with an appearance on Sex and the City . In the episode ‘Hot Child in the City’, the gals were revisiting their youths in a number of thematically-linked ways.

Samantha (Kim Cattrall) was hired to handle the PR for the Bat Mitzvah party of spoilt, precocious 13-year-old brat Jenny Brier (Dennings), whose foul mouth was a filthy as her attitude.

Cool credentials? The abysmal second movie still hasn’t dented the affection lavished on the HBO series.

Raising Dad (2001-2002)

Next up, Dennings landed a longer-running TV role in Raising Dad , playing one of the lead daughters ( Scott Pilgrim ‘s Brie Larson played her sibling).

The show, which only lasted the one season, peeked in on the lives of Sarah (Dennings) and Emily (Larson), and their widower father Matt (Bob Saget). Unsurprisingly, Sarah wasn’t best pleased about the fact her dad teaches at her school.

Cool credentials? Her snarky sass undercut the inherent sitcom cheese.

The Scream Team (2002)

Dennings continued to stand out playing teen brats, starring as Claire Carlyle in this Disney Channel TV movie. Claire and brother Ian move to Steeple Falls, where their grandfather has recently died.

They later run into the Soul Patrol, a group of ghosts on the hunt for lost souls, including their recently departed grand-paps. Eric Idle turns up as a ghost, but thankfully there’s a family reunion before things get too terrifying.

Cool credentials?
Growly teen or not, the Disney Channel never looks cool on the CV.

Without a Trace (2003)

Dennings continued to score notable work with a role in the ongoing missing-persons drama. She appeared as Jennifer Norton in Season 2 episode ‘Sons and Daughters’.

When a high school student goes missing, the team uncover a grottily-raunchy world of teen orgies and drug abuse. Tsk, tsk…

Cool credentials?
The high-profile show would have been good for her career, and the role proves that she’s pretty fearless when it comes to playing the bad girl.

Less Than Perfect (2003)

More TV for Dennings, with a guest appearance on US sitcom Less than Perfect . Sarah Rue starred as TV production assistant Claude, with Andy Dick, future-Stooge Will Sasso and Zachary Levi playing her co-workers.

Again, Dennings only appeared in one episode, entitled ‘The Girl Next Door’. She played intern Kaitlin, the niece of Eric Roberts’ Will, and she quickly proves herself to be quite the nuisance.

Cool credentials? She’s certainly got the ‘angsty teen’ down pat by this point, nose piercing and all.

Sudbury (2003)

Dennings’ gothic stylings were put to good use in this TV pilot, which was a spin-off from Practical Magic . It starred Kim Delaney and Jeri Ryan in the Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman roles.

Dennings played the younger daughter of Sally (the Delaney/Bullock character), but she never got to develop in the role as the pilot wasn’t picked up.

Cool credentials? Who knows what would have happened if the show had a longer run?

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2004)

After appearing in Without a Trace , Dennings continued to score roles in top telly dramas. In her first CSI appearance, she played Missy Wilson, a fast-food clerk who could provide crucial information in the hunt for an on-the-lam killer.

It turns out she was sleazed on by the elusive crim, who told her he’d like to ‘bend her over the counter’. She takes revenge not by hawking into his burger but by pointing the authorities in the direction of incriminating CCTV footage.

Cool credentials? If anyone was born to wear thick black eyeliner and shocking red lipstick, it’s Dennings.

Raise Your Voice (2007)

Dennings’ first big-screen role came in this Hilary Duff vehicle (that term alone should be enough to strike terror into your heart). Duff stars as an aspiring singer who overcomes adversity (in the form of her brother’s untimely death), to attend an LA performing arts school.

If Duff’s irritatingly nasal vocals don’t destroy you, the schools unconventional approach to lessons (musical and life-based) will. Dennings provides a sparky counterpoint to the sugary goings-on in her sparse scenes.

Cool credentials? None, obviously.

Down in the Valley (2005)

Dennings movie career shifted into a more comfortable gear with this Ed Norton-starring drama. Norton plays modern cowboy Harlan in this sweaty, San Fernando Valley-set noodle-baker.

As his unreadable drifter starts a relationship with rebellious, older-than-her-years-but-still-a-teen Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood), Kat Dennings doesn’t get much room to shine in the precocious starlet stakes.

Cool credentials? This obtuse movie feels much more in keeping with Dennings’ off-beat sensibilities than Raise Your Voice did.

Clubhouse (2007)

This was another one-off TV role for Dennings. She appeared in one episode of the based-on-true-life story of a 16-year-old lad who gets a job as a batboy for a major league baseball team.

That it stars former-Superman Dean Cain should give you some measure of its quality. Dennings played Angela in ‘Stealing Home’, an episode that focused on ‘batboy’ Pete Young (Jeremy Sumpter) working as an assistant for Cain, and finding it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Cool credentials?
Cain’s presence immediately deflates any hint of cool.

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