Jennifer Love Hewitt is a lot of things – singer, songwriter, actress, director, and producer. However, it is her work as an actress that will live the longest in the hearts of her teeming fans. Since coming on the scene in 1989, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s movie portfolio has since gone past the 50-project milestone. The Tuxedo actress did not take much time to announce herself and quickly become a certified hot teen property in the industry. At the beginning of her career, she was known for projects like Disney’s Kids Incorporated, Shaky Ground, Running Wilde, and Sister Act 2: Back In the Habit. Naturally, this was preceded by a time in the 1980s when she appeared in a host of television commercials.
Her breakthrough role came when she played Sarah Reeves on 1995’s Party of Five, a teen drama series from Fox. She then went on to cement her growing reputation with projects like I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), and Can’t Hardly Wait (1998). Love Hewitt’s transition from a teenage sensation to an established adult actress was aided by her showing in projects like Heartbreakers (2001), The Tuxedo (2002), and CBS’s Ghost Whisperer (2005 – 2010).
More recently, she is known for her work on series such as The Client List (2012 – 2013), Criminal Minds (2014 – 2015), and 9-1-1 (starting in 2018). Her movies have also earned her recognition in the form of awards and nominations. She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for The Client List TV film and bagged two Saturn Awards in 2007 and 2008 for her work as Melinda Gordon on Ghost Whisperer.
While Jennifer’s career has ultimately been a success, there have been some dark spots too. There have been projects that did not hit the heights expected of a Jennifer Love Hewitt movie. The reasons for these include audience reception, critics evaluation, box office performance, and also the actress performance. We have made a list, highlighting some of the pivotal projects of her career thus far, beginning from the best and ending with the worst.
Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Best and Worst Works as an Actress
1. 9-1-1 (starting in 2018)
This procedural drama series stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as a 911 operator named Maddie Buckley Kendall. 9-1-1 tells the story of first responders in the city of Los Angeles as they try to balance their high-pressure jobs with their personal lives. Procedural series are commonplace in the movie industry, however, they have somehow managed to stay relevant and keep audiences engaged. 9-1-1 does not reinvent the wheel in this regard. Love Hewitt is joined on the set by other known stars such as Angela Bassett, Rockmond Dunbar, Peter Krause, and Ryan Guzman.
The series was produced by 20th Century Fox in collaboration with two other production companies. It premiered on January 3, 2018, and has since garnered mostly positive feedback. The series so far has a critic’s approval rating of 70 percent for its first season and 100 percent for its second season on Rotten Tomatoes. They also have an audience rating of 72 percent and 82 percent respectively. Perhaps, the biggest evidence of the series’ success is the fact that it has inspired a spin-off series 9-1-1: Lone Star.
2. The Client List (2010)
Based on a true story, Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the role of Samantha Horton, a young mother of three who is struggling to stay afloat. She eventually turns to prostitution to be able to support her children. However, the path she has chosen soon sees her on the wrong side of the law as she is being forced to give up her elite clientele or lose custody of her kids.
The movie was produced by Lifetime Network and premiered on July 19, 2010. It garnered a viewership of 3.9 million during its premiere. Most of the film’s success was attributed to Jennifer Hewitt’s impeccable ability to communicate charm and sincerity through her role as Samantha. For her efforts in the film, Jennifer received a Golden Globe nomination in the category of “Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.”
While Rotten Tomatoes critics saw the movie as a success, giving it an approval rating of 83 percent, the audience could only muster up a 42 percent approval rating. It was also rated 5.8 out of a possible 10 on IMDb.
3. Criminal Minds (2010)
The second procedural drama on our list of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s movies is Criminal Minds. Here, the actress joins the main cast of the long-running police drama series in its tenth season. She plays an undercover FBI agent, Kate Callahan whose patriotism is born out of the death of her sister and brother-in-law during the September 11 attacks and having to raise their infant daughter Meg as her own. Hewitt was praised for the way she brought her character’s charm, smartness, and passion for making the world a safer place to light.
The tenth season of this popular series did not fall short of the positive precedent set by its preceding installments. The poorest rating of any of its episodes on IMDb was 6.6 out of a possible 10. It also received a user score of 7.8 on Metacritic.
4. Ghost Whisperer (2005 – 2010)
Ghost Whisperer is a joint-effort of ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios. The supernatural drama series tells the story of Melinda Gordon, an antique store owner who possesses the ability to communicate with spirits. The gift was passed down to her by her grandmother. The story follows Melinda as she helps spirits rectify their issues while also contending with those who do not believe in her or in her gift.
The series premiered on CBS on May 18, 2010, and ran for five seasons until it was canceled by the network. Besides playing the lead role of Melinda, Hewitt also served as producer of the show from 2005 to 2009, and then became executive producer from 2009 until its cancelation the following year.
The series garnered largely positive reviews during its run time. On Metacritic though, Ghost Whisperer has a meta score of 29. All the seasons after that also recorded a user score of at least 9.5.
5. Heartbreakers (2001)
This Jennifer Love Hewitt movie stars the actress in the role of Page Conners, one half of a con-artist team with her mother Max Conners (Sigourney Weaver). This heist-romcom is the story of how Page and her mother Max swindle men off their money via bumpy divorce settlements. It is all too easy for them until the IRS seizes their money and they decide to go on one last mission – a final con on a tobacco baron, William Tensy (Gene Hackman). They soon realize that the gig is rapidly going off-script, especially when Page starts to fall for their fall guy, a bartender named Jack Withrowe (Jason Lee).
The movie received positive reviews from top reviewers like the New York Times and Roger Ebert, who gave it three out of four stars. On Rotten Tomatoes though, Heartbreakers could only muster a 53 percent critics rating and a 51 percent audience score. On Metacritic, it had an average review of 47 out of a possible 100, a user score of 8.7, and a grade of “B-” on CinemaScore. The movie was made by MGM Studios on a $35 million budget and was released on March 23, 2001. It managed a worldwide gross of $57.7 million.
6. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
This slasher movie stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie James who along with three of her friends – Ray, Helen, and Barry – accidentally hit and kill a pedestrian on their way back from a party and they cover it up. A year later, they find themselves being hunted by a killer wielding a hook, an ordeal that the four friends believe is tied to their accident a year prior. For her role as Julie James, Jennifer Hewitt won herself two Blockbuster Entertainment Awards in the categories of Favorite Female Newcomer and Favorite Actress.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes were not thrilled with the movie as they believed the genre was already worn out. They gave it a 42 percent rating while the audience gave it a 40 percent rating. The movie was given generally mixed and average reviews on Metacritic, receiving a meta score of 52.
While the movie was not considered to be all glorious by critics and movie analysts, it was a different story at the box office. I Know What You Did Last Summer was a huge commercial success. It opened in theatres on October 17, 1997, and ended its run with a worldwide gross of $125.2 million from a relatively meager budget of $17 million.
7. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
This is one of the most popular of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s movies. The actress was in her late teens when she played Amanda Beckett in the comedy Can’t Hardly Wait. The entire movie is set at a high school graduation party and utilizes a lot of atypical teenage stereotypes. Amanda Beckett is the most popular girl in school and had just got dumped by Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli), her popular jock boyfriend. While other subplots emerge, Amanda discovers a letter that was written to her by a nerdy student Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry) who has had a crush on her throughout high school. While she tries to discover her identity beyond her high school persona, she embarks on a mission to uncover Preston’s identity.
The movie started showing in theatres on June 12, 1998, and ended up with a worldwide gross of over $25 million, more than doubling its $10 million budget. It received a 40 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes’ critics and an audience score amounting to 63 percent. On Metacritic, it received reviews amounting to a meta score of 52 and a user score of 8.1.
Other Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Movies & TV Shows of Note
The Byrds of Paradise (1994)
Trojan War (1997)
Time of Your Life (1999)
The Suburbans (1999)
The Tuxedo (2002)
Shortcut to Happiness (2003)
If Only (2004)
The Truth About Love (2005)
Tropic Thunder (2008)