Will Ferrell's endearing, off-kilter acting style seems to have spawned its own genre: call it, simply, the Will Ferrell Movie. While I find too-similar routines obnoxious in some actors, Ferrell movies are often so easily digestible that I crave them when I need a lighthearted film fix. In honor of Ferrell's latest triumph, Blades of Glory, I thought I'd pay tribute to the man in this week's Movie Night.
On the surface, this "dude buddy" kind of movie sounds kind of repellent, but whether it's the clever script or Ferrell's inoffensive demeanor, I absolutely love Old School. Frustrated by the realities of adulthood, three buddies in their 30s (including a priceless Vince Vaughn) create their own fraternity, partially to keep from being evicted by the ornery dean. What's funny is that these aging college friends are still desperately trying to "fight the man" when they are at a point where they could easily be "the man." It's silly, ridiculous, and easy to watch.
For my other favorite Ferrell movies,
What I like most about watching Will Ferrell is how honest and childlike he seems, and in Elf, his enthusiasm is infectious. Ferrell plays Buddy, a man raised by Santa's elves who strikes out to find his real father in Manhattan. Zooey Deschanel is great as the department-store elf who befriends the awkward Buddy. No matter what time of year it is, you will find yourself filled with good cheer after this film.
Sure, I'm as sick of guys quoting this movie as the next girl, but it doesn't dampen my enjoyment of the film itself, which I think is surprisingly funny. Sure, Anchorman lacks focus — about halfway through, it feels like actors are making things up as they go along — but Ferrell's regal newsman and his bumbling crew (Paul Rudd, Steve Carell) make it worth watching, even repeatedly.