Love him or hate him, Ben Stiller has had an enormous impact on comedy over the past two decades. In honor of his latest film and one of his best performances in Noah Baumbach‘s Greenberg, here are the Top Ten Ben Stiller roles.
Honorable Mentions: Tony Wonder – Arrested Development, Jerry – Your Friends & Neighbors and Rabbi Jake Schram – Keeping The Faith
10. Hal L. – Happy Gilmore (1996)
“You can trouble me for a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up. Now, you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep. Check out the name tag. You’re in my world now, grandma.” That’s all that needs to be said for this hilarious cameo.
9. Mel Coplin – Flirting With Disaster (1996)
David O. Russell’s sophomore effort delivers a great screenplay for Stiller to work off of. As the laughs ramp up in the this dark comedy, Stiller is able to carry us through gracefully.
8. Steve Arlo – Zero Effect (1998)
The best part of this understated performance is the lack of comedic setup. Stiller’s Arlo is the straight man here, the enigmatic assistant to Bill Pullman’s eccentric Daryl Zero. It’ll make you want to see Stiller play the bad guy in a big budget action thriller. Dare to dream.
7. Tony Perkis – Heavyweights (1995)
Speaking of playing the bad guy. Stiller’s Tony Perkis might be the performer at his most comfortable: completely over-the-top with no reign tight enough to hold him down. It’s amazing any of the fatties in this film got out alive.
6. White Goodman – Dodgeball (2004)
…or should I say Whit Goodman? Stiller brings the funny (and an incredible mustache) in this ridiculously stupid pseudo-sports flick. As White so eloquently puts it: “Nobody makes me bleed my own blood!”
5. Gaylord ‘Greg’ Focker – Meet The Parents (2000)
Stiller proves he doesn’t have to be an absurd character to be hilarious in Jay Roach’s slick comedy on relationships. Paired perfectly against Robert De Niro, this is one of Stiller’s most acclaimed, revered performances.
4. Tugg Speedman – Tropic Thunder (2008)
“Here we go again… again!” Stiller’s tongue-in-cheek portrayal of action hero turned full retard, Speedman is outright hysterical. Stiller also gets points for his directing, part of which earned Robert Downey Jr. a supporting actor Oscar nod.
3. Derek Zoolander – Zoolander (2001)
Due to a release so soon after 9/11, Stiller’s absurd and hilarious role as Derek Zoolander was not immediately recognized. Thanks to DVD, the film has wildly caught on with a sequel on the way.
2. Chas Tenenbaum – The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
In his most subdued comedic performance, Stiller teams with Wes Anderson as a safety-obsessed father with his own daddy issues. Continually funny and sometimes heartbreaking, this is one of his most memorable roles.
1. Ted – There’s Something About Mary (1998)
Stiller’s hilarious breakout spawned an ongoing generation of crude romantic comedies. Carefully walking each side of the spectrum, Stiller’s performance is a excellent precursor to the rest of his successful career.
What are your favorite Ben Stiller roles? Would Greenberg make the list for you?
Film Society of Lincoln Center To commemorate her passing, free screenings of Chantal Akerman‘s Jeanne Dielman (on 35mm) and her self-portrait Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman will screen for free on Friday. Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s The Boys from Fengkuei will play on Friday night, with Hou making an appearance. Museum of the Moving Image Frederick Wiseman‘s […]
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