Laugh Audit: The Best (And Worst) Ben Stiller Movies
[subtitle]Verdict We're going to go out on a limb here: This isn't just the funniest movie VH1 Films has ever produced, but with the possible exception of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 Top Hat Follies, it stands as the single best male model comedy thriller of all time.
Cracked Fact Even completely out of context, Hansel's "Why don't you Dere-licte my balls, El Capitan?" can be used in almost any aspect of your day-to-day life. Try it at your wedding and let us know how that works out.
Key Scene: "Male Model Gasoline Fight"
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber took every single sports movie cliche-including a team of scrappy misfits playing to save a building from destruction and not one but two inspirational appearances, courtesey of Lance Armstrong and Chuck Norris-and twists them into a pretty hilarious movie.
Verdict In the first half hour, this movie features Vince Vaughan teaming up with Steve the Pirate to play dodgeball with a steroid-pumped Girl Scout troop. If that's not the mark of quality, we don't know what is, and Stiller all but makes the movie as the scenery-chewing, Swayze-haired villain, White Goodman.
Cracked Fact Stiller's actually married to frequent costar Christine Taylor, whose appearance here in a black vinyl minidress is everything we've all been wanting since Hey Dude.
Key Scene: "White's Courtship of Kate"
Also Classics: There's Something About Mary, The Royal Tenenbaums
Underrated Starsky and Hutch (2004)[/subtitle]
The bastard child of the forty-three Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson team-up projects, this one had the bad luck to come out a year after Charlie's Angels 2 thoroughly murdered anyone's interest in the mid-70s TV-to-Movie fad, but it's the perfect showcase for Stiller's manic, nervous straight man to set up Wilson's laid-back punchlines.
Verdict The overly schmaltzy cameo appearance from the original Starsky & Hutch might generate its share of groans, but come on: Stiller and Wilson getting information from a convict by employing a shame-filled prison striptease? That's the kind of thing that makes it all worth it.
Cracked Fact After producers were unable to find the right pimp ride for Huggy Bear, Snoop Dogg revealed that he actually owned a blue 1976 Lincoln. This didn't really come as a surprise to anyone.
Key Scene: "The Dance-Off"
[subtitle]Verdict It's easy to overlook as just another big-budget family picture, but with a script by The State's Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon and an amazing all-star cast that includes Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan, and Dick Van Dyke, it's a lot better than it has to be.
Cracked Fact In order to secure his role as Theodore Roosevelt, Robin Williams allegedly killed and ate Brian Cox, just as Teddy did with political rival Mark Hanna to secure the Republican Party nomination in 1904.
Also Underrated: Mystery Men, The Zero Effect
Key Scene: "Monkey Slap-Fight"
Overrated Madagascar (2005)[/subtitle]
Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and Sasha Baron Cohen in a movie together? Sounds great! What? It's a computer-animated kid-flick about zoo animals trying to get to the wild and learning a lesson about themselves in the process? Well, okay, I guess it could-oh, David Schwimmer's in it? Yeah, we'll pass.
Verdict Even with a few sharp adult-oriented gags-like a parody of American Beauty with a lion instead of a cheerleader-watching this one's a lot like trying to make it through the Paris Hilton sex tape. It's fun for a while, but eventually, you're going to want something a little smarter.
Cracked Fact None of the animals featured as the four main characters of this movie-lions, zebras, giraffes, or hippos-are actually housed in the Central Park Zoo. The whole thing where they talk to each other and have wacky misadventures, though? Yeah, that totally happens.
[subtitle]Verdict How exactly a movie that hammers the same joke into the ground for 104 minutes got to be one of Stiller's most successful is a mystery, but the fact that somebody thought it provided enough material for a sequel? That boggles the mind.
Cracked Fact As pictured in the movie, a Tom Collins is made with two parts gin, one part lemon juice, a dash of sugar and chilled soda water to taste. Knock back eight or nine of those bad boys, and suddenly a cat using a toilet gets a lot funnier.
Also Overrated: Flirting With Disaster, Reality Bites
Total Shit Along Came Polly (2004)[/subtitle]
Hey, you know what we REALLY needed? Another meet-cute RomCom with a goofy comedian phoning it in opposite a cast member from Friends! That sure sounds necessary!
Verdict As one of the four million uptight-guy/free-spirit girl romantic comedies released in the past ten years, Along Came Polly will make you long for the comparatively subtle wit of Dharma and Greg.
Cracked Fact Mistakenly labeled a comedy due to the presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the utter lack of originality and humor in this one may actually make it the most depressing movie since the Zapruder film.
Jack Black gets unbelievably rich inventing an aerosol spray that instantly dissolves dog shit, Ben Stiller accidentally kills a horse with a bow and arrow, and Christopher Walken, of course, is "The J-Man." So essentially, this is the longest SNL sketch ever produced.
Verdict With some of the funniest people in Hollywood behind it, Envy might not be as bad as its reputation would lead you to believe, but it's pretty much the definition of wasted potential
Cracked Fact Jack Black publicly apologized for Envy at the Cannes Film Festival. Meanwhile, his work in 2001's Shallow Hal goes unpunished. Where's your justice now, Hollywood?
Also Total Crap: Keeping the Faith, Meet the Fockers