One of the biggest shames in the world of comedy is the slow decline of Will Ferrell.
Ok, maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, but let me ask you, do you know anyone who has any interest in seeing this:
Yeah, and here's the sad part. At one time, this would have been the role that Will Ferrell was perfect for. Roles that involve pompous, windbag, over-acting/reacting, Ignatius J. Reilly-like man-childs, allowed him to shine.
Sadly, it's come to the point where no one cares anymore. After one bad sports movie parody after another (after another, after another), is there anything left to get excited about? The last time I really looked forward to a Will Ferrell movie was 2004, when Anchorman promised to be the most absurdest piece of surreal-ness to hit the cinema since Airplane 2: The Sequel. Now even a much-talked about Anchorman sequel doesn't even get a rise out of me. And that's a shame, because the man has so much talent, and has shown it before numerous times. So, here is the best 5 Will Ferrell projects, and the 5 most overrated.
The best 5:
Feel-good family Christmas films haven't exactly been works of high art in recent years, or for that matter, even good films (or watchable), but there was once a time when a Christmas film didn't have to insult your intelligence, and could be, dare I say it, good natured AND a fine film. While "Elf" is not cinematic gold, it is an enjoyable family film where Will Ferrell plays his role perfectly. That child-like spark of enthusiasm in his eyes when he sees something fun just makes the movie. When his overacting is not making a meta-joke about acting itself, it's perfect for keeping kids entertained.
4)Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
"Charlie Kauffman-lite" was among the insults that were thrown at this movie (and I can't deny that I was one of the insult-slingers), but amidst the not-uncalled for comparisons, the actual movie was lost. Is it perfect? No, most of Will Ferrell's movies are not perfect. The movie is notable though for being an experiment to see if Will Ferrell can work in a more restrictive environment, and the answer is a huge "yes". When he's not overacting, it appears that Will Ferrell can adequately act. Now, if only he can do this in a better movie.
3)"The Landlord" and "Good Cop, Baby Cop" (both 2007)
Alright, so the reason that both of these www.funnyordie.com skits were funny is because of little Pearl McKay. But, the joke would have fallen completely flat if not for Will Ferrell's reactions to Adam McKay's daughter. But you knew that already.
2) The Oblongs (2001-2002)
The critical reaction to The Oblongs was less than enthusiastic. In fact, I can't find one good review. On show creator Angus Oblong's website he makes a list of all the bad reviews and displays them proudly.
Oblong himself claims the show was a disaster. I disagree. Ok, I'm sure it could have been better, but from the episodes that I've seen airing on Adult Swim, I think it's genius.
1)Anchorman: The Story of Ron Burgundy (2004)
As I mentioned above, Anchorman was a mash-up of surreal gags, non sequiturs and Will Ferrell-style overacting that on paper seems like it should be the biggest mess in cinematic history. (In fact, the original script, which is more closely represented in Anchorman's "sequel" "Wake Up Ron Burgundy", is a huge unfunny mess. Most of what you see in Anchorman was the improvised scenes and last minute gags that happened on-set). Anchorman is the perfect example of Will Ferrell set free on screen to do whatever he wanted, his id just blazing about. The movie is one of the most spectacularly funny movies of the last decade, and possibly rivals the Marx Brothers for the wackiness content.
It's claimed that on the set of Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carrey's improvisations made a horrible script into a comedy classic. The actors of Anchorman did the same here.
Also great Will Ferrell projects: Most of his career on SNL, his supporting role in Zoolander, and his great cameo in Wedding Crashers. I'll mention Melinda & Melinda as well, as there was nothing particularly wrong with the concept of the movie, but Will Ferrell's acting was very held back, almost as if Woody Allen didn't know what he was getting into when he hired him.
The 5 Most Overrated:
I originally called this the "5 worst" until I looked at Will Ferrell's imdb page and remembered his was in Superstar, The Ladies Man, Boat Trip and Starsky and Hutch. Overrated is a lot better a choice than reliving those atrocities.
For something to be overrated people have to like it. At least more than a handful of people. So, something like "A Night At The Roxbury" doesn't count, because if you actually enjoy that movie, I think you can qualify for state aide.
5)Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
It's been a little while since I've sat through this movie, but I remember that I hated it. Will Ferrell shouldn't have been anywhere around this. In fact, it should be a rule that unless Kevin Smith has worked with the actor since before they were really famous (Ben Affleck, Jason Lee), big stars should never be in a Kevin Smith film. They only end up distracting from the script and compromising characters. Granted, Will Ferrell wasn't what ruined this movie, but his presence totally didn't help.
4)The Producers (2005)
You know who likes this movie? Drama majors and people who have never seen the original.
3)Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Exec #1: Hey, you know what my son was really into this year? That Will Ferrell comedy. What was it called...Anchorman?
Exec #2: Yeah we should make a another movie that's a complete retread of that one, colon and all...but we should include that other thing that people like...NASCAR!
Exec #3: Yeah! I saw Jay Leno make fun of NASCAR last night! He's funny! *
*Note, all movie executives talk like badly written characters from first drafts of scripts. How else could you explain "Hide and Seek"?
2)Blades of Glory (2007)
My eyes still hurt.
1) Old School (2003)
Ok, here's the thing. This isn't that BAD a movie. It's just that if I hear one more person make a Frank The Tank reference, 5 YEARS LATER, I might strangle them. You know what, I take back what I said. This is a terrible movie. Yeah, ok, it made me laugh, that scene where Luke Wilson walks in on his wife having an orgy was hilarious, but other than that, every joke in this movie has been done by some other movie before in some form or another, and it was funnier then! This is the movie that defined the regrettable "Frat Pack" and that right there should define why I hate this movie...Frat humor. No, not humor about fraternities, but rather humor that people in Chris Miller-like fraternities would find funny. I have as much use for this movie as I do for another frat staple, Dave Matthews. So call me elitist, I don't care. Call me a film snob if it makes you feel any better, but don't call me a fan of this movie, because that insults me. God, it's even got a friggen Snoop Dogg cameo in it! And I love Snoop, but come on, could we be pandering to the frat boy demographic any more obviously here. These are the type of people that, when I was Managing Editor of Nonsense Humor Magazine, would come up to me and ask for more fart jokes. These are the type of people that...dhsdfhsbfjffdbfdznmAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
I'm sorry, but I'm angry. Damn you Will Ferrell. Damn you.