Reese Witherspoon and 'The Beard': Critics Slamming New Movie Role Already

Reese Witherspoon and "The Beard," her newest movie role, are making waves in Hollywood as her involvement in the project was recently revealed. The star is comfortable in romantic comedy territory, so this is a return to a familiar genre for her.

Reese Witherspoon will star in "The Beard," the plot of which has yet to be discovered. Despite the name, there's a good chance that the title refers to a "beard"- a woman who dates a gay man to mask his sexual identity. Along with the 36-year-old star are producers Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping of Chernin Entertainment, and Mason Novick.

No story details were revealed in the announcement, but the script by Becca Greene is already being lambasted by critics as a bad idea for Witherspoon. Her recent string of romantic comedies- though some were commercially successful- have generally received negative or mixed reviews.

"Sometimes I think that Reese Witherspoon forgets she's an Academy Award-winning actress," wrote Ethan Anderton for "The Walk the Line star keeps taking roles in romantic comedies that just aren't up to par."

"When it comes to picking comedies, good lord, she needs to fire her agent or get a second opinion," agreed Kevin Jagernauth for The Playlist. "Her last four? 'This Means War,' 'How Do You Know,' 'Four Christmases,' and 'Penelope.'"

"The Beard" looks like "a movie whose premise was fodder for a 'Seinfeld' episode thirteen years ago," he added.

More damning is that Witherspoon is married to Jim Toth, one of the lead talent agents for the Creative Artists Agency, which represents the actress. The connection could grant her some liberty in choosing roles, some critics speculate.

However, she has had the chance to film other exciting dramas. She is currently filming "Devil's Knot," a film about the West Memphis Three locked up for a crime they didn't commit, and "Mud," an independent drama with Matthew McConaughey.