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Will Power: Every Will Ferrell Movie, Ranked

From ‘Anchorman’ to ‘Zoolander,’ we rate every one of the star’s off-the-wall performances

Will Ferrell

When you think about it, Will Ferrell is an unlikely movie star. Once upon a time, during his Saturday Night Live days, he was a classic scene-stealer: He'd show up in someone else's film, playing an incompetent henchman, or a dumb jock, or Jesus — and methodically make off with the picture. Then, almost overnight, he became a superstar in his own right, going from comic-relief sidekicks and wild-card cameos to headlining a number of comedies that became monumental blockbusters. His talents, of course, are considerable: With his beefy presence and his seemingly supernatural ability to randomly switch between mousy and blowhard, he is an intrepid, unpredictable screen presence.

That has served Ferrell well; occasionally, however, it's allowed him to coast, too. He's made his share of classics, but he's also racked up an unfortunate number of films where the biggest joke is merely the sight of him in a goofy wig or weird outfit. Regardless, he is one of the biggest comic actors of our time, and, as this ranked list of his big-screen role s proves, is one of the most prolific as well. On the eve of his latest movie Get Hard, we present the good, the bad and the fugly of Will Ferrell's big-screen career — ranked for your pleasure.


‘Boat Trip’ (2002)

Ferrell thankfully didn't have a big part in this, a strong contender for one of the worst movies of all time. It stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Horatio Sanz as two straight men who decide to go on a cruise to find lonely ladies to hook up with – but wind up getting booked on a gay cruise instead. Deeply offensive on every level, and dreadfully unfunny to boot.


‘Men Seeking Women’ (1997)

The mid-Nineties were a dark time when the cinematic landscape was littered with quirky indie dramedies about desperate losers trying to find true love. Here, a trio of best buds who've known each other all their lives decide that the best way to find Ms. Right is to set a challenge: The first one to find their dreamgirl gets $6,000. It's a silly premise, given a mostly straight treatment, and Ferrell doesn't really get to use any of his talents. Better things were on the horizon. Much better.


‘The Suburbans’ (1999)

Hey, remember when that I-Heart-the-1980s revival was in full swing? This attempt to mock (and simultaneously ride the wave of) Reagan-era nostalgia featured Ferrell as the bass player for a one-hit-wonder Eighties band that reunite at a member's wedding. Nostalgia, however, isn't a word you'll hear from his fans when this movie comes up; despite having played at the Sundance Film Festival, there's a reason this satire has been largely forgotten. The comedian essentially plays second fiddle to Bridgette Wilson Sampras' totally awesome braids, Jennifer Love Hewitt's metallic blue lipstick and some of the worst Flock-of-Seagulls style hair imaginable. Even the sound and fury he unleashes on MTV's Kurt Loder can't hold a candle to later Ferrell blow-ups. It's as bland as its name.


‘The Producers’ (2005)

In this botched attempt to channel the magic of the hit Broadway musical (which itself was once a classic Mel Brooks movie), Ferrell plays Franz Liebkind, the Fuhrer-loving playwright enlisted to write the musical "Springtime for Hitler." The part calls for broad, shticky overacting — you know, the kind Ferrell can usually do in his sleep. But amid the shrill mess of this movie, his performance just feels like overkill.


‘Bewitched’ (2005)

This adaptation of the hit TV show – in truth, a movie about characters doing a TV adaptation of the hit TV show – was not one of director Nora Ephron's better efforts. The problem: A crippling disconnect between Ferrell's egomaniacal movie star character and Nicole Kidman's oddly lifeless turn as a real witch trying to put the supernatural world behind her. There are two different movies here, and they're never reconciled.


‘Drowning Mona’ (2000)

Ferrell didn't have a particularly big part in this dreadfully dull, convoluted, dark pseudo-comedy in which Bette Midler plays a shrew whose mysterious death is investigated in elaborate flashbacks. But it's nice to have him around – his quietly goofy presence, aided by a hilariously bad combover – lends some levity to this bland movie.


‘Casa de Mi Padre’ (2012)

On paper, it seemed perfect, and perfectly bizarre: Will Ferrell starring in a subtitled, over-the-top spoof of Mexican telenovela fare. As the dim-bulb heir to a ranch who finds himself locking horns with his slick brother (Diego Luna), Ferrell is fearless as usual. But the film's comedy manages to be surprisingly obvious, and the concept is a lot funnier than the execution. Dios mio.


‘Superstar’ (1999)

Molly Shannon's Catholic schoolgirl character from Saturday Night Live, Mary Katherine Gallagher, is a character almost as delusional as the ones Ferrell himself would later play. Here, he plays the popular boy at school that our heroine covets (he also shows up briefly as — wait for it — Jesus Christ). But this irritating comedy, one of many lame feature-length adaptations of SNL characters in the Nineties, feels especially strained and annoyingly long.Still, if you've ever wondered what Ferrell looked like as a vision of the Prince of Peace, have at it.


‘A Night at the Roxbury’ (1998)

Question: Were the Butabis – those tacky, disco-dancing losers characters played by Ferrell and Chris Kattan on SNL – ever actually funny? The jury's out on that one, but apparently someone considered them funny enough to give them their own feature. The result was another middling skit idea stretched out to excruciating length; at the very least, it reminded you that Ferrell looked great in a shiny suit.


‘Land of the Lost’ (2009)

This attempt to turn the iconic Sid & Marty Kroft TV series into a goofy, CGI comedy-adventure is a very, very strange beast – possibly one of the most surreal of Ferrell's movies. Alas, a convoluted plot and tepid humor bring it down – save for one brilliant sequence where Ferrell and companion Danny McBride consume a "celebratory drink" that turns out to be a powerful hallucinogenic.


‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’ (1999)

Ferrell reprised his role as Mustafa, the hapless, fez-bedecked Dr. Evil henchman, for this sequel to the 1997 Mike Myers hit. The film was nowhere near as funny as the original – it mostly retread the same gags, to lesser effect. And one of those déjà vu moments involved Mustafa's chief comic bit, which had been so inspired in the original film – not dying and politely calling for help after some elaborate set piece designed to kill him. The second time was not the charm here.


‘The Wendell Baker Story’ (2005)

Directed by Luke Wilson and his brother Andrew, this middling comedy about an unlucky con-man who lands in jail then tries to get his life back together aims for an ambling, laid-back atmosphere; it winds up achieving mostly dreariness. (Hey, at least he didn't try to ape Wes Anderson.) Ferrell has a very brief part in the film as a sucker-punching grocery store employee – not that anyone would have noticed, since practically nobody saw this thing.


‘Curious George’ (2006)

The idea of Ferrell voicing the owner of kidlit's favorite mischief-making monkey — the gentle, paternal Man in the Yellow Hat — seems like an inspired idea. And this animated movie about the misadventures of Curious George and his exasperated human certainly does right by the material, moving things along at a nice clip while still capturing the flavor of Margaret and Hans Augusto Rey's beloved books. But you could have hired virtually any other actor to give the exact same down-the-middle reading as Ferrell gives here; it's functional enough, yet feels like a missed opportunity.


‘Semi-Pro’ (2008)

Though billed as another raucous spoof, this film is perched halfway between Ferrell's comic portraits of grossly funny alpha-masculinity and something more earnest. Here, he plays a Seventies funk one-hit-wonder who buys his own ailing basketball team. It's more in the vein of The Bad News Bears than Talladega Nights, but it's not nearly as likable as the former or as funny as the latter; most of the film's humor comes from the sight of Will Ferrell in an afro. Which is good for a giggle once, but, you know…for a whole movie?


‘The Internship’ (2013)

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson couldn't quite reclaim their Wedding Crashers magic with this mild comedy about two down-on-their-luck salesmen who compete for an intern position at Google against a bunch of much-younger, better-qualified candidates. Ferrell, however, had a funny bit as a tattooed, sex-crazed mattress salesman who wouldn't stop telling Wilson's character about the wonders of "the back door."


‘Kicking & Screaming’ (2005)

Ferrell made for an engaging protagonist here, playing a weakling who takes on the job of coaching a kids' soccer team and finds himself slowly turning into his domineering, take-no-prisoners father (played by the Great Santini himself, Robert Duvall). The movie disappointed many who had expected a more typically broad Ferrell comedy. At its best, the film has a gentle humor that, tempered with moments of occasional sentimentality, feels surprisingly honest. At its worst, it's a clichéd rise-of-the-underdog sports-movie mess.


‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard’ (2009)

This proudly offensive black comedy follows a group of freelance car salesmen, led by Jeremy Piven, who hire themselves out to struggling auto dealerships and turn them around. Will Ferrell has a brief, but very funny scene in a flashback — decked out in an Abraham Lincoln outfit, plummeting from the sky to his death alongside a collection of dildos. (Long story.)


‘Starsky & Hutch’ (2004)

"Alright guys, I'm not gonna lie to you. This is gonna get kinda weird…" Ferrell's bit part as Big Earl — a perverted inmate who makes our heroes do some weirdly humiliating things in exchange for information — is a high-point of this affable, if ho-hum comic take on the classic TV series, starring regular Ferrell collaborators Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as the iconic cops. His particular dose of weird is more than welcome; you wish he was in this more.


‘Everything Must Go’ (2010)

In this somewhat more serious turn, Ferrell plays an alcoholic sales rep whose wife locks him out of the house and throws all of his belongings on the lawn. So he camps out there, and mopes about his sorry life to his neighbors. Adapted from a Raymond Carver short story, this is a promising set-up – but the film can't always find the requisite dramatic energy to keep us interested, and invested. Ferrell tries very hard, but the depth required for this character study to work just isn't there. File this under "noble failure."


‘The Campaign’ (2012)

Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis — it's a comic match made in heaven, right? Everything was in place for a sharp political comedy with this film, which seemed like it might match Ferrell's broad comic stylings with his younger co-star's equally idiosyncratic manchild schtick. The man who spent season impersonating a White House-dwelling boob on TV here plays a smug, long-serving North Carolina congressman forced into a race with a not-very-bright challenger, courtesy of the Hangover star. But the satire fizzled amid the convoluted plot, and much of the humor fell flat. This was not a good strategy.


‘The Ladies Man’ (2000)

Yet another movie adaptation of a popular Saturday Night Live character – this time, it's Leon Phelps, the cheesy love-advice guru played by Tim Meadows. But this one makes the most of its no-holds-barred prurience, and it's surprisingly risqué stuff for an SNL flick. Ferrell shines as an Olympic wrestler and offended husband who's after our smooth-talking hero.