Friday Face/Off: Ryan Reynolds

Tash (Definitely, no Maybe about it)

You know what this is about? This is about The Change-Up, isn’t it? Yeah, OK, so The Change-Up isn’t going to be great, that’s fine, that’s what’s happened. But come on, that’s not enough of a reason to write off a genuinely talented, charismatic and interesting performer, is it? Ryan Reynolds may not have the greatest eye for projects, but he’s a solid, funny, charming sort who has – actually – proven that he’s got acting chops to back up those ridiculous arms. Not that his arms are important. Or his torso. I mean, he does have a torso, but I can’t say I’ve noticed it. Does he have a torso? I can’t even…

Caroline: (Green Lanturd)

Oh, I see where this is going. I say “Acting chops? What chops? The only chops I see on Ryan Reynolds are the ones around his enormous face.” And then Tash will say “Uh, what about BURIED?” And I will quickly remind her that playing with a zippo while you piss sweat does not grant Ryan Reynolds automatic use of the term “acting”.

As far as “talented” and “interesting” goes: where exactly are we getting this from? Just what has Ryan Reynolds ever done that makes him so goddamn relevant? And furthermore, WHY is he EVERYWHERE? His entire career has consisted of bumming around playing the same character in basically everything. I know there are a few one-trick ponies in Hollywood, but they mostly get by because it’s a good trick. I’m sorry, but being the perfect midpoint between Joey and Chandler does not count as a ‘trick’.
Take a glimpse at Ryan Reynolds’ CV and you’ll quickly establish that the man will do anything as long as his character gets a few funny-ish lines. I think his biggest hit to date was Van Wilder, which had Tara Reid in it, for fuck sake. Tara Reid. Of disgusting fame.


So is this about you hating Ryan Reynolds’ face? An enormous face means more room for ACTING, Caroline, you think Helena Bonham Carter would be where she is today without her helipad of a face? Of course not. It’s all very well and good for you to skip over Buried – but Buried (of 86% fresh rating fame) was an awesome film that hinged on a brilliant performance, and not only that, but a performance entirely INSIDE A WOODEN BOX OF DEATH. No wonder he had to take some time off and fuck about with The Green Lantern, he was probably still all traumatised by the LYING IN THE BOX OF DEATH for hours upon hours upon hours. And obviously Van Wilder was the most dreadful thing to ever happen. But do we judge Gary Oldman on Lost In Space? No.


Of course we don’t judge Gary Oldman on Lost in Space. We don’t judge Meryl Streep or Jack Nicholson on Heartburn, either. And we try to not think about Emma Thompson being in the fundamentally un-cute Nanny McPhee. But Ryan Reynolds simply hasn’t earned the credibility to have an entire career made up of shit films. And they’re just so shit. Definitely Maybe. Just Friends. Least forgivably, Fireflies in the Garden. It’s different when Cher or Tina Fey choose to elevate pissy little projects with their godlike presence. They’ve earned it, and you know they’re having a good time, so your cool with it. But Ryan Reynolds isn’t being ironic, or having fun, or taking it easy. This is his whole career. This is it for him. His whole place in pop-culture is being in terrible films, that then get a worldwide release. That we then have to hear about, and eventually see, because we review movies and that’s our job. Simply because there’s this imaginary kudos that comes with Ryan Reynolds just being Ryan Reynolds. The least likeable “likeable” actor ever. And I’m sick of having to take it. I’m sick of being told that he is sexy and talented and somehow worthy of attention. I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.


I’m not saying that he’s been in lots of great films. I’m not saying that, because, sadly, he hasn’t. BUT what he does do is lift up dreadful films from total disaster into relative success. He sacrifices himself so that other films may prosper. And that’s noble, in its own way. Wolverine: Origins? He was the best thing in it (come on Deadpool 2014!). Blade: Trinity? He was the only one keeping the whole thing tongue-in-cheek. The Proposal?! He and Sandra Bullock actually made a terrible script watchable, simply by being their lovely selves.


Oh come on, people a hell of a lot more talented than Reynolds have been pulling the whole “hey, I’m a nice guy, therefor I should be famous” trick. Remember Sean William Scott in Role Models? Wasn’t he good in it? Wasn’t he doing exactly what Ryan Reynolds does except WAY BETTER and ACTUALLY FUNNY? That movie should have been his comeback, but it wasn’t, because Ryan Reynolds was taking up all the pop-culture.


Are we watching the same person? Ryan Reynolds’ comic timing is so on the money it’s actually painful for me to watch. Even back in the fresh (massive)-faced days of Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place, he was quite clearly the child-man who understood how funnies work. If you’re going to critique Ryan Reynolds, go for his dreadful taste in scripts, his dull choice in wives, and his questionable partnership with Jason Segel – don’t go for his funny, you maniac! And Sean William Scott?! Oh please, you have a go at Ryan for a less-than-stellar back catalogue and then get Sean William “DUDE I JUST DID A POO LOL” Scott involved?


I don’t really know why I brought up Sean William Scott, I just really liked him in Role Models. He should have gotten more credit for Role Models.

Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place was a pretty good show, I’ll give you that. It was well written, cannily judged, and was absolutely the only thing Reynolds has been good in. But it was a medium budget, somewhat forgettable sitcom. What I don’t understand is why Ryan Reynolds went from a medium budget, somewhat forgettable TV actor, to worldwide film star – someone who regularly appears on the red carpet and marries famous actresses and is in Armani ads. It’s undeserved. I also think you’re overestimating his comedy value greatly. He performs a lesser version of what Paul Rudd or Jason Bateman do: quick throwaway comment, raised eyebrow, smirk. That’s it. Acting school DONE. The key difference being that Rudd and Bateman actually make me laugh. Maybe that’s because they have a better eye for projects, maybe it’s because they’re given better roles (the Change-Up excluded, obvo) or maybe it’s just because Reynolds isn’t very good at his job. Argue the case for Reynolds so-called sexiness all you want, but have you ever found him truly “funny”, or just casually amusing? In that kind of annoying, talks-too-quickly, Vince Vaughn-ey way?


Let’s not bring Vince Vaughn into this.


At least he didn’t marry Scarlett “go on, use my camera-phone” Johansson.


Yeah, fair play.

All The Things You Said:

@thommoj03 – best sticking to comedies due to his quick wit but with this wit he will be deadly as Deadpool

@dvbs_microviews – anyone who can survive a vampire pedigree automatically becomes history’s greatest person.

@FilmLandEmpire – Green Lantern, The Change Up, M&S adverts… Ryan Reynolds, what happened?

and finally,

@jadedlens – AB-fucken-tastic. BOOM.

Who says the art of debate is dead?

By Natasha Hodgson and Caroline O’Donoghue

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