It’s not hard to nail down the best Ryan Reynolds movies. Actually, it’s pretty easy. There’s 2002’s Van Wilder, the silly college-campus comedy that established him as a uniquely snarky and funny actor who also happened to be really fit and handsome, and then there’s last year’s mega-blockbuster Deadpool, which took those same qualities, and—along with a some great action, one-liners, and swordplay—cranked them way past eleven.
But Reynolds has logged a lot of excellent, funny, and largely overlooked performances in between, whether in a rom-com, a stoner flick, or even a B-movie action sequel. So, as his new film Life hits theaters this weekend, we wanted to take this opportunity to draw attention to some of his other fine work. And for more great celebrity coverage, don’t miss our collection of the most beautiful women aging in reverse.
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
While this isn’t a “Ryan Reynolds movie” per sé, he does show up in one hilarious, pivotal scene, in which he plays an unnamed surgeon who mistakes Harold and Kumar as actual doctors. He then ushers them into an operating room, where they have to perform immediate, life-saving surgery on a patient. Watching Reynolds keep a straight face (with an ever-so-slight twinkle in his eye) through such ridiculous material (“Marijuana? But we don’t have any marijuana.”) is Reynolds in top form.
In The Proposal, Reynolds plays an assistant, Andrew Paxton. His boss, the publishing executive Margaret Tate, (Sandra Bullock, who received a Golden Globe nod for this role) faces deportation to Canada, so she coerces Andrew to green-card marry her. Though a very predictable rom-com, Reynolds deploys his now-trademark snark to elevate what could’ve been an utter snooze-fest.
Hit men. Bounty hunters. Corrupt cops. High rollers in high-rises. Smokin’ Aces is a riotous, fast-paced crime film with an impressively stacked cast, which includes Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Taraji P. Henderson, Chris Pine, and Ray Liotta. Reynolds plays the “good guy,” so to speak—an FBI agent who, blind to the corruption in his agency, is actually trying to do his job. He’s the film’s moral compass, and this is the first time Reynolds proves that he can hold his own.
Crass and immature to the point of near-reprehensibility, Waiting… is a cult classic comedy about, well, waiting tables. For anyone who’s worked in the service industry, it is essential viewing; few things capture the day-in-and-day-out of the restaurant industry like Shenaniganz (the fictional restaurant the characters work at) does. Reynolds is perfect as Monty, the coolest waiter around—or, as deplorably described in the film, “like being the smartest kid with Down syndrome.” If nothing else, Waiting… will inspire you to leave a better tip.
Reynolds plays Hannibal King, a super-jacked, super-snarky vampire hunter, in the final installment of the Blade series. While the merits of Trinity are certainly up for debate, Reynolds’ performance is not. He handles cracking wise and kicking ass with equal dexterity in what it far and away the best part of the film. Plus, this is the first movie that showed off Reynolds’s godlike physique. If that doesn’t inspire you to hit the gym, check out 11 ways that will.
Reynolds has done his fair share of sappy rom-coms—and for the most part, they’re a dime a dozen. Definitely, Maybe stands out, though, because of Reynolds’s likable performance, and because it was a rom-com that wasn’t totally predictable. In the film, he tells his daughter the stories of three women from his past, and wants her to guess which is her mom. What would normally come across as weird and sleazy—a dude telling his daughter about his womanizing youth—actually works.
Just Friends is Reynolds’ biggest hit. Literally. For the first part of the film, Reynolds dons a fat suit as high-schooler Chris Brander, the chubby best friend of the hot girl. Of course, he’s hopelessly in love with her—and she’s not interested. Ten years go by, and Chris becomes handsome, rich, and successful (so Reynolds doesn’t have to act too hard). When he’s forced to visit his hometown again, all manner of funky and flirty hijinks ensue. Yes, it’s an undeniably stupid film with a flimsy plot, but the jokes—especially the ones involving his little brother, a deranged Anna Faris, and a douchey Chris Klein—all land perfectly. Frankly, we’re not sure why this film isn’t in the pantheon of Christmas classics.
Perhaps the most forgotten and misunderstood of Reynolds’s films, Chaos Theory is a frank assessment of how devastating life’s curve balls can be. Reynolds plays Frank Allen, a time management lecturer. One day, his wife pushes his alarm back, so he’ll have some extra time to sleep. But because this is a movie, everything—and we mean everything—about their lives quickly falls to pieces. Reynolds balances sincerity and humor with aplomb; this is the first film that really showed off his dramatic chops. But it wasn’t totally devoid of humor: during a bar scene, Frank reveals that his penis is named “the truth”—as in, “You can’t handle…”
For more amazing advice for living smarter, looking better, feeling younger, and playing harder, follow us on Facebook now!