From Zoolander to Anchorman to Step Brothers to The Other Guys, Will Ferrell is the king of Hollywood comedy. Coming up through Saturday Night Live, Ferrell was part of the ‘Frat Pack’ of the mid-00s alongside the likes of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. He’s still churning out the classics, and his latest film EVERYTHING MUST GO also shows him stretching his acting muscles and well as his comedy skills, and is being dubbed the best performance of his career. Which gives us the perfect chance to look of the top ten crazy characters that Ferrell has given us.
George W Bush – Saturday Night Live
Before he became a movie star, Ferrell made his name on the US TV comedy institution that is Saturday Night Live. Ferrell spent seven years on the show, during which he appeared in some classic sketches (just Google “Will Ferrell cowbell” for instance), but his greatest turn was his take on then-president George W Bush. He even returned to the ‘character’ when the real Bush stepped down, in the HBO special You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night With George W Bush.
Mustafa – Austin Powers
When still best known as a Saturday Night Live cast member, Ferrell made an extended cameo in fellow SNL alumni Mike Myer’s James Bond spoof. Ferrell gave a scene stealing turn as the fez wearing assassin Mustafa. He even popped up again in the second Austin Powers movie.
Mugatu – Zoolander
Another supporting role for Ferrell, as he appeared in Ben Stiller’s star-making male model comedy. Ferrell was hilarious as evil fashion mogul Mugatu, who tries to brainwash Derek Zoolander into killing the Prime Minster of Malaysia when he hears Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Ferrell also sported a great blonde perm and goatee combo in the movie.
Frank The Tank – Old School
In Hangover director Todd Philips breakthrough film, Ferrell starred alongside fellow ‘Frat Pack’ members Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson as three thirty-something guys who try to relive their college days. Ferrell stole the show as loveable loser Frank, in one memorable scene running naked down the street at night, asking passers-by if KFC is still open.
Ron Burgundy – Anchorman
The film that made Ferrell a mega-star, and also put Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell on the map. Pompous 70s newsreader Ron Burgundy is the quintessential Ferrell role. We could just start quoting the film here, to be honest. But we won’t. Ok then, Milk was a bad choice. And you ate a whole wheel of cheese? I’m not even mad, that’s amazing. Sorry.
Buddy – Elf
Whereas Ferrell definitely has a reputation from playing hilariously arrogant idiots, Elf proves he can be genuinely sweet and lovable. A regular human raised by Lapland Elves, Ferrell’s Buddy comes to New York to find his real dad. The set up could have lead to a horribly mawkish syrupy movie with someone else in the lead (*cough* Adam Sandler *cough*), but with Ferrell it’s a genuinely lovely film.
Ricky Bobby – Talladega Nights
Apparently, after the success of Anchorman, this film only required a six word pitch to get green lighted: “Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver.” Ferrell is at his brash, obnoxious best as the titular race-car driver. The film also features his first teaming with John C Reilly, and a brilliant performance by Sasha Baron Cohen as as his flamboyant French rival.
Chazz Reinhold – The Wedding Crashers
Ferrell only had a cameo in this Owen Wilson / Vince Vaughn buddy comedy – but what a cameo it is. Wilson and Vaughn play ‘Wedding Crashers’: guys who turn up at weddings un-invited to pick up girls. Towards the end of the film, Vaughn goes to meet their mentor, played by an uncredited Ferrell, who’s crossed over at the dark side, now crashing funerals to hit on grieving widows!
Allen Gamble – The Other Guys
When the two best cops on the force (played by none other than Samuel L Jackson and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) meet a sticky end, it is up to nerdy accountant Ferrell and disgraced former-street cop Mark Wahlberg, the ‘other guys’ of the title, to stop Steve Coogan’s dastardly villain. Ferrell is typically hilarious as the pencil pusher far out of his depth.
Nick Porter – Everything Must Go
In his latest film Ferrell plays Nick Porter a man who sells “salesmanship” for a living, but the days of being on top of his game are long gone. After delivering an inspiring presentation to his sales staff, Nick is summarily fired for falling off the wagon one last time. He returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their suburban home and dumped all his possessions out on the front yard. Faced with his life imploding, Nick puts it all on the line – or more accurately, on the lawn. Ferrell is superb in a role that demands more than just his comedic talents, yet is still as funny as his greatest hits.
Everything Must Go
is on DVD/Blu Ray 31st October 2011