Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Comedy Performances, Ranked
Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a long, impressive career, going from bodybuilder to movie star, to Governor of California to… a one-time gym manager with a giant ‘70s porno stache?
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A big reason why people still love Arnold and his work, it seems, is his ability to joke around; unlike some other criminally humorless ‘90s action stars, Schwarzenegger is usually totally game to put his tough guy persona on the line and yuk it up in comedies. Even his new Netflix series, Fubar, is full of broad humor and at least one punch to the groin.
So in honor of Schwarzenegger’s streaming TV debut, let’s rank Schwarzenegger’s comedic performances, starting at the bottom with…
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s worst collaboration with Ivan Reitman, Junior, is the bizarre story of two dudes who literally steal a colleague’s egg and fertilize it inside the body of an irregularly jacked geneticist. Schwarzenegger’s moments of tender sincerity can be amusing, but this is mostly a dumpster fire of a movie featuring the scariest cinematic baby this side of Twilight.
“What if Christopher Guest directed a John Wick sequel?” is the best way to describe Taran Killam’s 2017 mockumentary, starring Schwarzenegger as an elite assassin. Unfortunately, the movie never quite comes together like one would hope. An admirable misfire.
‘Jingle All the Way’
While critically reviled at the time, Jingle All the Way is arguably 100% successful as a biting satire of soul-crushing yuletide commercialism. And Schwarzenegger’s performance as Howard Langston is a big reason why the movie works. The man commits, delivering each ridiculous line with total commitment and full-on brawling with mall Santas and runaway reindeer as if they were killing machines made by SkyNet.
James Cameron’s 1994 action-comedy is overflowing with problems that prompted protests at the time of its release – but putting Cameron’s regrettable choices aside, Schwarzenegger’s very funny in the movie, whether he’s playing off of the gloriously sleazy car salesman played by Bill Paxton, or confessing all his secrets while under the influence of a truth serum.
‘Last Action Hero’
Last Action Hero was a box office bomb after it hit theaters – despite the inflatable Arnold Kaiju that was erected in New York City – but he gets a number of great scenes. He’s definitely funny as the stereotypical action movie character Jack Slater, but he’s even better as “Arnold Schwarzenegger,” the star of the new, explosion-filled movie version of Hamlet.
Throwing a muscly action star into a scenario where they’re forced to interact with a horde of adorable children doesn’t always work out so great (lest we forget the horrors of Mr. Nanny), but Ivan Reitman’s Kindergarten Cop was pretty damn great. Again, Schwarzenegger’s commitment is what sells the comedy – could anyone else have turned the line “It’s not a tumor” into an iconic quote?
Reitman’s first movie with Schwarzenegger, 1988’s Twins, is a pretty messed-up story about eugenics – but it also gave us Arnold’s greatest comedic role. Pairing him with the diminutive Danny DeVito was a stroke of genius. Hell, even the poster was funny. And Schwarzenegger nailed the transition from cocky strongman to lovable goofball, portraying Julius Benedict as a big kid who isn’t even aware of how his hulking physique will be perceived.
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