Will Ferrell has been a pillar of comedy since the ’90s when he appeared on Saturday Night Live. Over the years, he has proven his quality as an actor, moving outside the realm of comedies and into dramas. His films have often not shown love from critics or sites like Rotten Tomatoes, though his movies have always done well and are loved by audiences.
A fan favorite, his career continued to grow into movies that are considered to be the best comedies of the 2000s. He is unmistakable when you see him and always a joy to watch. Partnering with Adam McKay, their production company Gary Sanchez Productions took off, even stretching away from comedy with films such as The Menu.
10 ‘Blades of Glory’ (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%
The comedy stars Ferrell alongside John Heder as two fierce competitors banned from men’s singles competition after their rivalry leads to a heated fight. However, finding a loophole means they must work together if they want to skate again.
Ferrell’s comedic prowess brings his signature style of humor to the film as a big guy, generally out of his element, using his physical and comedic timing to bring higher stakes. He brings an earnest commitment to his roles that allows the characters to be fully animated, larger-than-life adult personalities that are childlike.
9 ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%
“If you’re not first, you’re last.” A quotable movie is the hallmark of a great film, especially when it is a comedy. Talladega Nights follows professional NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby as he goes through a tumultuous point in his career.
The comedy in the film is brought on through absurd situations, which plays into Ferrell’s over-the-top antics. Ferrell displays his impeccable comedic timing to make it an appealing satire and parody. As mentioned, the array of quotes from the film cements its place in pop culture and to an entire generation who grew up with the film.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%
Will Ferrell plays Megamind in the titular movie, a villain who slowly becomes a hero: Ferrell’s talents shine through even when he’s voice acting.
Ferrell’s comedic style and energy make him an endearing and lovable character for children and adults alike. He is an expressive voice actor able to convey the emotions and personality of a character, adding depth and charm to Megamind. It makes his arc all the more rewarding.
7 ‘Everything Must Go’(2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
In Everything Must Go, Ferrell plays a man who has lost everything, from his job to his wife. Slipping back into alcoholism and needing to get rid of many of his possessions, he holds a yard sale where he spends a lot of time on his front lawn, gaining valuable connections with the people around him.
This is a serious switch-up from his usual roles, as he plays a brooding and vulnerable character. Ferrell is able to take an introspective character and delve into his sensitivities while still providing his candid humor.
6 ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
Ferrell plays an IRS agent that suddenly begins to hear a narration of his life in his head. As the character grapples with the effects of narration, it disrupts his entire existence, from his work to his personal life.
The film is a unique blend as it blurs the lines of drama, fantasy, and comedy. Ferrell’s performance is the sole factor in anchoring it all, making it a compelling and memorable watch. Balancing humor with emotional depth contributes to the wide appeal of the movie.
5 ‘Wedding Crashers’ (2005)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Though Ferrell may only play a minor role in Wedding Crashers, he adds something dynamic to the movie every second he is on-screen. Ferrell plays the guru to the two main characters played by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, as they learn to take advantage of romantic situations at weddings.
Ferrell is mainly in the first and third acts of the movie, first being a mentor and then moving into a sad trope that both characters are embarrassed to be. Ferrell brings his skills at improv, being absolutely deadpan when saying the worst things. It is almost cringeworthy, yet because it is Ferrell, it’ll always make audiences laugh.
4 ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Nearly a decade after the first film, the original cast returned for another go around. Ferrell’s performance as Ron Burgundy makes him a clueless but charismatic news anchor that successfully satirizes the media industry and the evolution of news reporting, providing a hilarious take on the changes of the time.
The sequel is a great expansion of the original movie, taking Ron and his motley crew on a new, outrageous story. Lifting the film to new heights was the social commentary on the sensationalism of news stories and the desire to get ratings at any cost.
3 ‘The Other Guys’ (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
The duality between Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell creates one of the funniest dynamics as two NYPD cops that want to step into the opportunity to be the best cops in the city. The chemistry between the two actors led to unbelievably funny and improvised sequences.
The Other Guys effectively parodies the buddy cop subgenre, as Ferrell and Wahlberg play the mismatched partners. The humor subverts the typical action movie tropes, making it a refreshing take. Along with the help of Adam McKay as director, the film uses wit, satire, and evokes the absurd for humor and its message about the financial system.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Ferrell’s Christmas classic is just a precursor to what would build over the next few years. It tells the story of Buddy, a human adopted by an elf who raises him in the North Pole. The delightful premise takes Buddy to find his real dad in a fish-out-of-water story in New York City.
Ferrell as Buddy the Elf is a standout performance, bringing a childlike innocence and boundless energy. Endearing and unforgettable, the heartwarming film brings a message of love and unity during the holidays, among the urgency to continue to believe in all things that may suspend our disbelief.
1 ‘The Lego Movie’ (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
Part of the talented voice cast, Ferrell plays the antagonist to the people of the LEGO world. He is both live-action and animated in the movie as he plays two characters, President Business and « The Man Upstairs. »
Both comedic and villainous, Ferrell’s character cleverly blends LEGO’s creativity and imagination with a deeper message about embracing individuality and your own personal creativity. The meta-humor provides unexpected twists that combine the live-action and animation, giving a storyline that is one of the most appealing to have come around in a while.
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