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Nude scenes like Sandra Bullock's can boost a career

You can't escape hearing Sandra Bullock talking coy to interviewers about her nude scene in The Proposal, as if there's nothing else to say about the movie. • Bullock says it's her first time in the buff on screen. Not sure if that scene in 1993's Fire on the Amazon counts, but she wasn't a star then, and it didn't make her one. • Without a hit since 2000's Miss Congeniality, Bullock is playing the skin game to reboot her career. She could wind up like Marisa Tomei, hotter than ever after going nude, or Meg Ryan, who nobody cared to see naked. Or somewhere in-between, like these nudie breakouts and breakdowns. — Steve Persall, Times Film Critic

Meg Ryan, In the Cut: The most desperate nudity on this list. Ryan ran out of scripts that Tom Hanks would share, and her subsequent movies were D.O.A. in theaters. So was this kinky thriller, which had to leave a mark on Ryan's ego.

Ann-Margret, C.C. and Company: Already a sex kitten, the Swedish bombshell finally showed fans what they were missing, in a nude interlude with Joe Namath.

Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead: An Oscar jump-started her career, but phase 2 began with Tomei's jaw-dropping introduction in this crime yarn. Or did you think The Wrestler was her first dive into the nudie pool?

Amanda Peet, The Whole Nine Yards: Peet spent most of the final reel totally starkers, as a hitwoman so focused she wouldn't get dressed. Seldom has so much been shown with so little career boost in return.

Jennifer Aniston, The Break-Up: Just a dropped towel on her way to a shower, but ever-adorable Jen displayed two more cheeks worth pinching.

, Halle Berry, Swordfish: She had earned respect for her acting chops, but flashing her breasts in a bad movie made Berry a star. "You know, I did that gratuitous scene and I knew it was gratuitous," she told a reporter last year. "And I did it because I needed to do it."

Jane Fonda, Barbarella: Thanks to strategically positioned lettering, Fonda's opening credits striptease in zero gravity is the tamest show on this list. But it was a career changer.

Gretchen Mol, The Notorious Bettie Page: Mol's sunny disposition made total nudity wholesome, playing a 1950s pinup icon who did the same. My pick as the most underrated body in movies today.

Natalie Portman, Hotel Chevalier: It's a short subject attached to The Darjeeling Limited, and seeing Queen Amadala in the buff probably sold half of the tickets to Star Wars geeks.

Julie Andrews, S.O.B.: The least desperate nudity on this list. Going topless for laughs in her husband Blake Edwards' movie simply added another highlight to a grand career.

Nude scenes like Sandra Bullock's can boost a career 06/17/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 10:17am]

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