Is Jack Black's career tanking?

IIRC his last few films have not done well; Gulliver’s Travels was widely panned. I saw it and it just wasn’t that good (despite the impressive sfx). Has he done anything good since School of Rock? Is he a one-trick pony? Is he, even now, in a Hollywood death spiral?

His last four films were Kung Fu Panda (made $631 on a $130M budget), Tropic Thunder (made $188M on a $100-$150M budget), Year One (made $62M on a $60M budget), and Gulliver’s Travels (made $152M on a $112M budget), and both Kung Fu Panda and Tropic Thunder were popular, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t continue to get work.

Well, he was one of the weakest parts of Tropic Thunder. I’m not saying he’s washed up or anything but I didn’t hear anyone raving about Tropic Thunder because they really liked Jack Black in it.

Dear God let’s hope so.

Jack Black is, in some ways, a one trick pony. Yes, he sucked in Tropic Thunder.

He might be interesting to watch in a serious movie about an overweight, dorky guy with an over-the-top obnoxious persona to compensate for some kind of loneliness inside.

Oddly enough, if Black were to take on a serious fitness regimen and lose 60 or so pounds, he would be able to reinvent his career in the Ryan Reynolds direction, as Black, despite being overweight and generally unkempt, is actually quite handsome in the traditional sense, possessing a nearly-perfect “averaged” face. Average as in extremely harmonious facial proportions, not as in “average looking.” His facial looks have been compared to Emile Hirsch.

I don’t think he sucked in Tropic Thunder because I feel he was well cast in the role. I don’t think he’s got a lot of range but he’s lucky that his range fits into a very popular area. I see him as being like Will Ferrell or Arnold Schwarzenegger - he may never get respect as an actor but he should be able to keep making profitable movies.

Kung Fu Panda doesn’t count, because voice-over work doesn’t count. After all, anyone looking at the box office receipts from the last *Shrek *movie might be led to think that Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers still have careers.

Black’s explored that route with movies like Shallow Hal and The Holiday. But I think he wisely realized it was not his forte. There are other actors who would be stronger than him as a romantic comedy lead so he would have struggled in that. He’s better off playing to his strengths as a comic lead.

He was great in *Kung Fu Panda *and was fairly interesting in King Kong. Both of which were probably attributable to other members of the film-making teams than himself. Other than that, he’s been a waste of time.

I’d say his strength isn’t as a comic lead, but as comic support. He’s just not got enough going on to really carry a movie by himself, and I say that as someone who generally likes him.

Personally, I can take him or leave him. But the numbers don’t lie. Gulliver’s Travels, Year One, Nacho Libre, Orange County, School of Rock - movies with Black in the lead role - have all made a profit. There is an audience out there for his movies. As far as I can tell, The Pick of Destiny is the only movie where he’s been the lead that has failed to make a profit - and that was one where I feel he was actually stretching himself.

Sorry, I wasn’t saying that was what he needed to do to be successful. I was saying that’s what he needed to do to be good. He’s an excellent supporting comic actor. He’s a very underwhelming comic lead.

Of course, successful pretty much always trumps good, so I doubt that he’s going to run out of movie offers any time soon.

I just rewatched *High Fidelity *for the first time since it was released. I had all but forgotten Jack Black was in it, and kind of gronaed when he appeared on screen. I like the guy, but his shtick gets old fast. But he was tolerable and amusing in the film, because he’s got a supporting role and isn’t on screen all the time.

I think the manic man-child thing has worn out its welcome with adults. School of Rock came out and Tenacious D released the song *Tribute *around the same time, IIRC, or at least within a year of each other. At that time, I knew a lot of people that quite liked the guy, myself included. Now, I think that’s mostly gone, but children ADORE him, for all the reasons adults don’t like him. I think that’s the direction he should look in the future, to movies for kids.

I thought he was reasonably good in Margot at the Wedding, playing a more realistic (and depressed) version of his usual idiot manchild. He didn’t seem like he was acting in a different movie than Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, anyway.

Looking at the careers of Vince Vaughan or Seth Rogen, he’s probably made better choices, or the best choices he had. The number of non-awful comedies that come out of Hollywood is pretty tiny, in my estimation.

Another problem for Jack is that he now has competition in the “idiot man-child” realm from Zach Galifianakis.

Bit of a nitpick, but I swear I saw Tenacious D on Saturday Night Live while in early high school, so around 1998 or so. Pretty sure they played Wonderboy. My google-fu is failing me right now.

I liked him in King Kong, which is the only non-comedy I’ve heard of him doing. I think he should do more of that, as the “funny guy” in films that aren’t comedies.

Agree his current shtick has probably taken him about as far as its going to.

Nevermind. Looks like they performed most of their popular songs for several years before releasing their first album in 2001. Carry on.

I’m not sure what you are nitpicking, so I’ll tell you what Google finds for me: School of Rock was released in 2003. The album that contains both Tribute and Wonderboy was released in 2001, but Wonderboy (the second single) was not released as a single until September of 2002. Tenacious D was the musical guest on SNL for the first time in December of 2006. I find that they appeared as an uncredited music guest on May 2nd of 1998, as in your recollection, but they were as yet unknown enough to be uncredited; the songs performed (they did not include Wonderboy) were “The History of Tenacious D” and “Double Team”. They did have a cameo in the 1999 Foo Fighters video “Learn to Fly”, so they certainly were not completely unknown at the time. However, all this information does back up what I said about both the release date of *School of Rock *and that of “Tribute”, so I am not sure what the nitpick relates to.

Captain C, I did not see your note until after I posted. Looks like we are in agreement; carry on, indeed.