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Where have all the movie men gone?

So let me get this straight. In 2009, People's Hottest Bachelor is 23-year-old Chace Crawford. And the actor most likely to star in this year's biggest box office hit is either 19-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," or 23-year-old Shia LaBeouf, in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

Suddenly, I feel very old. It's as though Hollywood is trying to turn me into a cougar. And I hate that word. A lot. 

It's even hard to watch the 44-year-old Sandra Bullock become a "cougar" opposite the 32-year-old Ryan Reynolds in "The Proposal." Compared to LaBeouf and Radcliffe, Reynolds is a grown-up. But in Hollywood, he becomes the boy to Bullock's woman.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Color me amazed that Shia LaBeouf can grow facial hair.


I don't find Crawford, Radcliffe or LaBeouf attractive but I feel as though I'm "supposed" to. Even though LaBeouf is 23, he looks about 16. Watching him opposite Megan Fox, who's a year younger than he is, is like eavesdropping on a boy going out with his babysitter. It just feels wrong. Instead of getting into the scene, I just want to protect him from this woman who could seemingly eat him alive.

Whether or not you enjoy LaBeouf as an actor, there's something very pre-sexual about him. He could be a Jonas cousin. Even his bad-boy antics seem high school: Drinking while shopping, smoking in a non-smoking area, flipping his truck. What's next? Staying out past curfew?

And these three are not alone. Msnbc.com film critic Alonso Duralde recently wrote a piece lamenting the lack of grown-ups in movies, but it's not just that the new male leading men are young, it's that they look prepubescent. Michael Cera, Emile Hirsch, Robert Pattinson, Zach Efron – is Hollywood drafting talent from a local high school?

Yes, I do take comfort in the cragginess of George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. and Daniel Craig. I like that they have wrinkles and looked as if they've lived through more than a high-school pep rally.  

But even the older male actors such as Reynolds, Ashton Kutcher and Matt Damon just seem too soft. It's why Damon wasn't believable playing against Angelina Jolie in "The Good Shepherd." You have to be a grown-up to play opposite Jolie. I feared for the talented but boyish James McAvoy in "Wanted." Jolie looked as if she could toss him across the room.

And I feel for actresses like Jolie and Fox, because it seems as though Hollywood doesn't have actors who are man enough to play opposite these women. Instead, they come off looking like Mary Kay Letourneau, regardless of the actual age of their leading men.

Has Hollywood run out of real men? Or should we be satisfied with the boys?