No movie is perfect. But maybe the most frustrating films to watch are the ones that are one character away from being perfect. Everything works except for that one wacky sidekick, or sassy kid, or crude stereotype who sticks out like a fart at a press conference.
7The Fifth Element - Ruby Rhod
If you've seen this movie, you know damned well what character we're talking about.
Ruby Rhod, played by Chris Tucker on what seems like a near-lethal amount of cocaine, is the radio show host of the future. He teams up with Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) and LeeLoo (Milla Jovovich) against a (literal) big ball of evil.
And its lieutenant, Captain Plastic-hair.
How He Nearly Ruined The Movie:
OK, so he comes on screen and you figure it's just Chris Tucker being Chris Tucker, talking in that Chris Tucker tone. He's loud and speaks in a nasally, unintelligible, hyperactive voice. He has a wardrobe that makes Lady Gaga's look it was purchased from an outlet mall. His hair is shaped like a dick. We get it, he's supposed to be wacky and annoying.
"Alright guys, what if we made Jar Jar Binks an actual black guy?"
And, if he passed through one scene and spent, say, 40 seconds on screen, we would have chuckled and moved on with our lives. But he sticks around. And around. It's not that the rest of the entire movie was about Ruby Rhod and nothing else... it just felt that way.
We knew we were in trouble when the guns start blazing and it becomes apparent the screeching comic relief is going to hang around for the pivotal action scene. During the battle with the aliens, Rhod's role expands from flamboyant and mildly amusing radio show host to incredibly loud and useless sidekick. Check the scene out below, for instance, featuring Chris Tucker's lungs drowning out a bomb Bruce Willis sets off.
Or, let us transcribe it for you:
Rhod: "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeee!!!!" Cough, cough, cough. "Whu-whu-whu-whu-whu-whu-WHATCHUDOIN'?!?!?"
Korben: "Count to 10."
Rhod: "CUBBEH! WAS THAT A BOMB?"
Korben: "Shut up and count!"
Rhod: "ONE TWO THREE-HUH-HUH FOUR HUH-HUH FI-HUH-IVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NIIIIHUN-HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!"
(Screech continues for approximately 27 minutes.)
This is how he spends roughly 84 percent of the film.
Not only is his screeching irritating to listen to, but the scene itself is really the pinnacle fight of the movie, so you'd think there'd be some kind of drama or sense of danger required. It's exactly the wrong time to have comic relief front and center, though there's probably never a good time to for comic relief that could have been swapped out for a car alarm for many scenes without us noticing.
Holy shit, we almost wrote a whole entry about The Fifth Element without using this image! That was close.
Hey, speaking of which...
6War of the Worlds - Rachel
In the War of the Worlds remake, Dakota Fanning plays Rachel, the daughter of Ray (Tom Cruise). They spend roughly 90 minutes evading alien invaders intent on eradicating humanity. Or rather, Tom evades them, while Dakota screams.
How She Nearly Ruined The Movie:
Dakota Fanning is a good actress, probably great even. She's convincing in virtually every role she's been given. War of the Worlds is no exception. As a screaming piece of luggage, possibly containing an angry howler monkey, Dakota's portrayal is peerless.
"Miss Fanning! Can we get a quote? Or some flung feces?"
Rachel just screams whenever. Loudly. Driving away from the alien scourge, relatively safe while others walk, she screams, at a testicle-shattering level, "I want my mom!" and "Take me home!" Her shrill screams are the soundtrack to every chase scene.
Also, Spielberg writes Fanning's character as a pure load--someone who creates plot points due to her utter helplessness. Seriously, Rachel rarely walks. If she needs to move, there'd better be a vehicle or a pair of arms to ride in. In fact, when the van is taken by force by a mob of refugees, Rachel just sits in her seat, while her dad and brother, Robbie, take beatings from the crowd. Worn out from all this not helping at all, she makes Tom Cruise carry her for the rest of the damn movie.
They're walking to Boston from New York. She's 10 years-old. You know who else was 10 years-old in his own fantastical and sometimes frightening adventure? Harry Potter. And nobody carried his ass around. You know why? Because he was 10.
Although he did grow up fast.
This helplessness only has greater consequences later on. When's she's told to wait by a tree so Ray can catch up to Robbie, Rachel's nearly taken by kindly strangers who don't believe her when she says her dad's coming back. He's within sight. Ray ends up having let Robbie go to a certain death, all because she couldn't move like 20 feet. You get one of the best child actresses in Hollywood and that's what you do with her?
Of course, everyone, including Robbie, survives, and Rachel sees her mom. To celebrate, she screams. Seriously. She does.
It is the only tongue she knows.