By Simon Miraudo
August 12, 2012
Will Ferrell stars as congressman Cam Brady in The Campaign, yet another oddball character to join his esteemed rogue's gallery of supremely confident idiots. He's come a long way since cheerleading with Cheri Oteri and crooning as Robert Goulet on Saturday Night Live. After cameoing in films such as Austin Powers and popping up in the occasional comedy, he broke out in the early 2000s, produced a bunch of hits with director Adam McKay, and is now one of the biggest movie stars in the world. To pay tribute to the gut-buster, here are our picks for the top 10 Will Ferrell performances. And yes, we left off Land of the Lost, because we know how much you all hate it. Dammit, that movie is funny!
10. The Other Guys
Ferrell, bizarrely, is outgunned by co-star Mark Wahlberg in this buddy-cop comedy, but he's still hilarious as the reformed-pimp turned straight-laced officer Allen Gamble. Sadly, not even the deadpan Ferrell can convince us that he doesn't find his wife (Eva Mendes) devastatingly attractive.
I make no apologies for finding this movie - based on a SNL sketch - amusing. It holds up! OK, maybe it doesn't. We'll always have a soft spot in our hearts for the ever-partying Butabi brothers. Anyway, where is Chris Kattan at these days?
8. Old School
Ferrell officially broke out from the constraints of television in Todd Phillips' pre-Hangover raunch fest, Old School. As Frank the Tank, he became the poster boy for wild, streak-happy manchildren everywhere.
Sensitive, unhinged Brennan Huff doesn't take well to sharing a house with new brother Dale. Thankfully, the comic duo of Ferrell and John C. Reilly jibe much better. A series of increasingly ridiculous sketches, McKay's Step Brothers is perhaps one of less appreciated Ferrell flicks, but it has its fair share of ingenious moments. We particularly like the bit where Brennan dresses like a Nazi.
Here he stars as nemesis of Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), Jacobim Mugatu, keyboard tie designer turned fashion terrorist... ok, we're going to stop there. We're laughing too hard at that picture.
In a surprise uncredited cameo akin to Kevin Spacey's late appearance as John Doe in Se7en (kinda), Ferrell plays king of the wedding crashers, Chaz. Having now turned to funeral crashing to hook up with even more desperate chicks, Chaz is easily Ferrell's least likable - yet still stunningly funny - character. OK, he's still pretty likable. What can we say? We really like Will Ferrell.
We'll leave it to Susan (Amy Adams) to describe why Ricky Bobby is such a champion: "Well, Ricky Bobby is not a thinker. Ricky Bobby is a driver. He is a doer. And that's what you need to do. You don't need to think. You need to drive. You need speed. You need to go out there, and you need to rev your engine. You need to fire it up. You need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra! And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years. And it is good. And you use it. And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then you win, Ricky. You WIN! And you don't win for anybody else. You win for you, you know why? Because a man takes what he wants. He takes it all. And you're a man, aren't you? Aren't you?" Yes, he is.
A slightly more dramatic turn from Ferrell in Marc Forster's Stranger Than Fiction, playing an ordinary IRS man who wakes to discover his life is being narrated by an author (Emma Thompson); one who's plotting his death no less. With some nice moments opposite love interest Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stranger Than Fiction is a lovely, and ultimately powerful, film about changing for the better, aided by Ferrell's buttoned-down performance.
Ferrell gives a tour de force performance as Buddy the Elf, furiously eating as much candy as humanly (or Elfinly) possible and inspiring the world to believe in Santa once again. Only an actor as unflinching, unblinking, self-effacing, and sweet as Ferrell could pull this off. Still his biggest box office hit.
"Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era." Seriously, what else could we have picked for number one? Maybe you haven't heard: Ron Burgundy is kind of a big deal.