Michael Cera was perfect on “Arrested Development.” To say that he was just playing himself is to miss the point of acting entirely. Unless all those words were really coming from his own head rather than a script, Jason Bateman really is his father, and the action took place in a real house not filled with cameras, lights, and boom mikes, he was not just being himself.
It’s possible that he’s been pigeonholed by his success and is capable of much more than the type of roles he is offered. Also, even the best actors are limited by physical type. Could we accept him as a dashing romantic rogue, or a menacing street fighter? Probably not. But even if he proves not to have much of a range, he’s in good company. Playing one character that well is more than most actors can do, frankly.