5 Movies That Make Us Forget Chevy Chase Is An Asshole

5 Movies That Make Us Forget Chevy Chase Is An Asshole

It’s not enough that Chevy Chase can be a total a-hole in real life. He also likes to remind us of that fact by playing them on TV (in shows like Community) and in movies (he steals his wife’s novel in Funny Farm and pretends he wrote it), too. But on rare occasions, Chase appears in movies where he’s downright… likable? 

Here are five times that on-screen Chase nearly made us forget what a dick he could be in real life…

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Foul Play

Part of Chase’s early appeal is that he knew to undercut the snide smartass business with his gift for uncoordinated physical comedy. His cocky come-ons to Goldie Hawn make him seem like a jerk, but his propensity to spill every drink on the bar or walk straight off a pier make all that bluster just a cover for the lovable klutz hiding below the surface. This was Chase’s first movie and probably his most charming. 

Three Amigos

Chase’s turn as Dusty Bottoms is not his funniest on film, but he’s at least affably befuddled here. Critic Nathan Rabin applauds Chase for never looking happier while convincing us that he’s a “genial, charming idiot.” (Only with Chase is this considered a personality upgrade.) Three Amigos proved that Chase didn’t need to play the cool guy to get laughs. 

Hot Tub Time Machine

On a less dark timeline, Chase could have spent the third act of his career playing characters like the Repairman, a comedy elder statesman that Roger Ebert described as the kind of role that “George Burns used to play, when you needed a guy who just looked like he knew the secrets of the universe.” Chase doesn’t get more likable than this. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Clark Griswold comes close in earlier Vacation films, a guy who just wants the best for his wife and kids. But when he threatens lovable John Candy with a gun (even if it’s a B.B. gun) at Wally World, can we truly say he’s not an asshole or hasn't lost sight of his typically nice guy ways? The edges soften a bit by Christmas Vacation — sure, Clark’s angry aside about wanting to chew out his boss for not giving out holiday bonuses leads to Cousin Eddie kidnapping said boss, but that’s not really on Clark. As always, his biggest fault is wanting something wonderful for his family, and who can blame a guy for that? 

Love, Gilda

Unexpectedly, Chase’s least asshole role is as… himself? In this love letter to the late Gilda Radner, contemporary comics join her SNL castmates to pay tribute to her greatness. “Chase speaks fondly about their time together on Saturday Night Live,” says Slash Film, “sharing reminiscences of a comedy legend who wasn’t necessarily recognized for her brilliance during her lifetime.”

There’s none of the usual Chase mugging for the camera — for once, he abandons the shtick and reveals an actual human being. 

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