Will Ferrell has established himself as one of the funniest actors in Hollywood history during the past two decades. Ferrell has a long list of credits to his name, including appearances in numerous films, television shows, and online videos.
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To celebrate the arrival of Downhill in theaters, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the comedian’s funniest films from the past decade.
10. Semi-Pro (2008)
Semi-Pro, Will Ferrell’s worst-ever film, was released in early 2008. One-hit wonder Jackie Moon (Ferrell) is at the center of the story, as he struggles to navigate the tumultuous post-merger landscape after purchasing a fledgling American Basketball Association (ABA) during a time when that league was being amalgamated with the National Basketball Association (NBA). The second film is a complete failure, just like the team featured in it.
One of the most memorable scenes from this film is the poker game, which begins with Ferrell and his friends swapping mild insults until one character labels another a “jive turkey.” What follows is one of Will Ferrell’s funniest and most tense moments. Sadly, this one scene was all that was funny in the rest of the film.
9. Kicking & Screaming (2005)
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, when you can’t get to the remote control to change the channel, you end up watching Kicking & Screaming. That doesn’t mean it’s a fantastic or even decent film, just that it’s watchable. Aside from Anchorman and Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell starred in this and a few other forgettable films. Putting Bewitched on this list would have been a waste of a good movie. Until we went through Ferrell’s filmography, we didn’t even know it existed.
As Phil Weston, Ferrell portrays an ordinary man dealing with the mental and physical scars left by Buck Weston, his overbearing father (Robert Duvall). When Phil grew up, he thought he would finally be able to escape his father’s agony, but after his father treated his own grandchild as a bench warmer on his minor soccer team, Phil coached a team of his own, including his own son.
It’s a “paint by numbers” film, but it doesn’t diminish the trademark Will Ferrell meltdowns that viewers have come to anticipate and enjoy from the comedic superstar. One of the best scenes in the film is when Will Ferrell flips out on former Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka, referring to him as “Juice Box” in a hilarious incident. At this point, Ferrell’s character gets so irrational and power-hungry that he degrades into one of football’s best players and coaches of all time. He walks off the field and is never seen again (at least in the movie).
8. The Other Guys (2010)
The Other Guys, a 2010 buddy cop film starring Will Ferrell, continuing Ferrell’s impressive streak of box office smashes. When two investigators from different backgrounds and personalities are forced to work together to discover a large financial scheme, the film is co-starring Mark Wahlberg.
A huge hit at the box office, Will Ferrell’s The Other Guys grossed over $170 million worldwide, yet it’s one of those parts in his filmography that we tend to overlook. As far as the rest of the film goes, Ferrell’s character Detective Allen “Gator” Gamble, a mild-mannered and novice forensic accountant, is concerned, but when Wahlberg’s Detective Terry Hoitz seeks to put him in check, he ditches all niceties, likening himself to a Lion and Gamble as Tuna.’ In one of the movie’s funniest parts, Gamble recounts in great detail how he intends to defeat, kill, and devour the lion in order to win the game.
7. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
After the success of Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Ferrell gave fans a more subtle and toned down performance in the 2006 dark comedy Stranger Than Fiction. Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an IRS agent who begins to hear the voice of author Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) narrating his life in this odd drama.
Stranger Than Fiction may lack the quotable lines and humorous scenarios that Ferrell provided audiences in his prior efforts, but it does prove that Ferrell can do more than simply put on a wig, spout weird lines, and behave like a crazy guy. While it would be difficult to find someone with better comedic timing in the role of a darker character, seeing Ferrell flip out when he finds that a narrator is telling his story is nothing short of hilarious. Stranger Than Fiction was nominated for a Golden Globe for supporting actor in a musical or comedy for Ferrell, despite the fact that it didn’t perform as well at the box office as some of Ferrell’s earlier films.
6. Zoolander (2001)
The only reason Zoolander isn’t higher on my list is because Will Ferrell’s villainous Jacobim Mugatu and his scheme to have Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia aren’t featured enough.
This Ben Still-directed film satirizes the fashion industry while Ferrell was still a cast member of Saturday Night Live. In this feature film, it’s plain to see that Ferrell would go on to become a comic superstar, and even before he was delivering us memorable lines like “I feel like I’m on crazy pills” in his starring roles, he still offered us the legendary line.
5. Step Brothers (2008)
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly reunited for another summer blockbuster in 2008 with Step Brothers, their follow-up to Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, which starred them in some “Shake and Bake” action. Is it any surprise that a movie about two men who live at home after their parents get married is no less raunchy than Talladega Nights? This film is both crazy and completely illogical at the same time.
There are a lot of moments where it feels like Ferrell and Reilly are just playing off each other in a frantic improv exercise, and it works well for the most part. “Did we just become best friends?” and the music video unveiling are only a few examples of the most memorable scenes in this regard.
4. Talladega Nights (2006)
While some of Will Ferrell’s other characters were excellent (more on that later), others were significant failures for the established comedic star following the success of Anchorman. In 2006, Ferrell and Adam McKay collaborated on Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which became a massive summer blockbuster.
When Talladega Nights premiered in the summer of 2006, people rapidly realized that Ferrell was not as crazy as they had previously imagined he was. Revolving around a NASCAR driver who’s had a rough year, the film focuses on the protagonist’s journey to reclaim his life and his racing career.
Every time Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly) walk on the track or in front of a microphone, the iconic “Shake and Bake” statement comes back to haunt them. Ferrell and Reilly’s on-screen chemistry was one of the first, but it wouldn’t be the last.
3. Anchorman (2004)
In Anchorman, Will Ferrell returned to the big screen as San Diego anchorman Ron Burgundy and didn’t waste any time getting back into the game.
Acting and attitude of the actor portraying Burgundy outshine the character’s hair, mustache, and attire. At every turn in this role, Ferrell shines, from “Jazz Flute” to scuffles with the rival news stations.
People are still quoting lines like “Great Knights of Columbus that hurt,” “I’m in a glass case of passion,” and “It’s so damn hot. “Milk was a poor decision.”
2. Old School (2003)
Not only did Elf bring millions of moviegoers to the theater during the holidays, Will Ferrell had a great year in 2003. Ferrell introduced the world to Frank Ricard, or “Frank The Tank,” a mild-mannered recently married man whose life spirals out of control when he reunites with old acquaintances who have formed a fraternity.
Ricard’s death has given us some of the most memorable Will Ferrell lines that are still chanted at college parties today. Ferrell’s infamous “We’re going streaking!” statement soon established him as a force to be reckoned with.
1. Elf (2003)
When compiling a top-ten list of Will Ferrell comedies, it would be impossible to leave out Elf. A year after leaving Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell found success as a leading man in this festive comedy when it was released in 2003.
You won’t find a greater Will Ferrell performance anywhere else in this film. I’m sorry, but your odor stinks!” “You smell like steak and cheese, you don’t smell like Santa” phrase to the scene where Buddy goes to the mailroom, Ferrell shines throughout.
These scenes and the remainder of the film are impossible to fathom without Ferrell. He has a unique ability to handle the frenzied character of a human raised as an elf.
That’s all there is to it. These are some of the funniest (and not-so-funny) Will Ferrell movies of all time. Downhill’s inclusion on this list is uncertain. We’ll have to see what happens.
After graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport, Philip moved to St. Louis, where he currently resides. In his spare time, Philip can be found chasing his three children, asking his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or talking about professional wrestling with his wife. Perhaps, if everything goes his way, he will say that For Love of the Game is the greatest baseball movie of all time.