The Sound and the Fury: Can Celebrities Knock the U.S. Without Taking a Hit?

"To say 'All the King's Men' did not do well because people did not like Sean Penn's left-leaning political viewpoints would be silly, because the film was not very good," Levine said.

A Star 'Pirate' From Afar but Not Box-Office Poison

Like Paltrow, ex-patriot movie star Johnny Depp views America from afar with a bit of a jaundiced eye.

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star resides with his family in France.

In 2003, he was quoted in a German magazine criticizing the U.S. government's behavior in the world.

"America is dumb, is something like a dumb puppy that has big teeth -- that can bite and hurt you. Aggressive," Depp's quote reads.

Depp also said that he had been misquoted and that his true meaning had been lost in translation. The controversy never mushroomed and clearly did not follow him to the box office.

"Dead Man's Chest" -- this year's installment of the "Pirates" franchise and a Disney enterprise -- has broken box-office records, pulling in more than $423 million domestically and more than $1 billion worldwide.

Depp is hardly box-office poison.

"He keeps his politics low key, and he is also a bit of a heartthrob, which helps," Levine said.

Whether it's Jane Fonda's infamous photo ops with the enemy during the Vietnam War, Vanessa Redgrave's pro-Palestinian politics, Bruce Willis' support of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, or Kanye West's suggestion that President Bush doesn't care about African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina, the celebrity pulpit has a storied history.

But the consequences to careers -- if any -- seem generally short-lived.

And any American who might have taken offense at even the possibility that Paltrow thinks they're stupid, take heart.

Just a few years ago, the actress complained in Marie Claire magazine that she was growing tired of London and missing the United States.

"The street is filthy. … Customer service is rubbish in England. … And I miss being able to get anything at any time of day," she said.

Shakespeare often observed that love is fickle. Maybe patriotism is too.

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