When Comics take on more serious roles...the good the bad and the hideous!

I love Robin Williams. I think he is a brilliant actor. He makes my sides burst constantly, his hilarity never ends! As a graduate of Juilliard, he is a great actor, IMHO of course. His comic acumen traslates wonderfully into the more serious, dark charactors like the ones in, ** Insomnia, One Hour Photo** and others, were brilliantly played and orchestrated.

Now, Jim Carey on the other hand… Loved him in classics like “Dumb and Dumber”, “Me, Myself and Irene”, he was fabulous. But when he tried to go onto more serious roles like the Truman Show [which was a great film] just not meant for Jim, he sort of tanked in my opinion. He was in another one, Paradise, or something like that, where I just didn’t care for his acting. He, I would think, is much better suited taking comic roles than more serious commentary.

Who else can you think of where theyare better playing comics than Mr./Mrs. Serious.?

A second vote for Robin Williams here. I just saw the trailer for House of D. It was awful .

Will Ferrell, I think, given his performance in Stranger Than Fiction, could do great things as a non-comic actor. Even though it was a comedy, there were glimmerings of more there from him.

Ditto Steve Carrel, based on his performance in *Little Miss Sunshine *.

I disagree about Jim Carey, I think he was outstanding in Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine OT Spotless Mind

Stephen Fry, while he’s as best known for stuff like Fry&Laurie & Blackadder etc., was great in Peter’s Friends.

I disagree with Jim Carrey. I think he was great in The Truman Show, and I can’t think of who else would have done better with the role. And are you thinking of “The Majestic”? He was great there too. On preview, I agree with MrDibble about Will Ferrell as well.

I don’t think Bill Murray translates really well into completely serious things. He’s one of my favorite actors (Groundhog Day, and bit parts in Little Shop of Horrors and Coffee and Cigarettes), but he’s better when he keeps it light.

“Serious” might not be the word, but Eddie Izzard’s turn as an assassin with plucked eyebrows in The Avengers really summed up the film’s problems.

At the other end of the competence spectrum, I’ve always enjoyed Richard Belzer’s “John Munch” character.

Johnny Depp is good in comedic and serious roles, often at the same time (Nightmare before Chirstmas vs. Edward Scissorhands).

And here I thought this thread was going to be about comics as in Harvey Comics’ “Richie Rich” vs. Art Spiegelman’s “Maus”.

I thought Jim Carrey was outstanding in both The Truman Show and in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His true gift is still physical comedy, though; I don’t think he’ll be able to pull off the complete transition that, say, Tom Hanks did. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that he started off in movies like Bachelor Party and Big and TV shows like Bosom Buddies before doing memorable dramatic turns in Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, etc.). But when he would host SNL every now and again (back when I still watched the program) I’d suddenly remember, hey, this guy can be pretty funny!

I’ve can’t think of a dramatic role that Danny DeVito has carried himself particularly well in, though…

Well, there’s Hugh Laurie, who for years was known mostly as a comic actor. He’s brilliant as Dr. House.

For all his dramatic action figure work, Arnold does good comedy–Kindergarten Cop & Twins.

Can I just say I was shocked the other day when watching Stuart Little with my daughter when I took a closer look at Daddy Little?

He was also one of the bad guys in the live action version of 101 Dalmations. I was watching it with my son and trying to puzzle where I’d seen him before.

A second on Bill Murray. When he does serious stuff like The Razors Edge, you find yourself constantly waiting for the punchline. And it gets annoying because it never comes. His comedy style is so dry that it’s indistinguishable from his serious acting.

Neil Flynn, the guy who plays the Janitor on Scrubs…

I don’t know a whole lot about the actor or where he started out, but he was on NYPD Blue a week or so ago

And he wasn’t bad in the role at all. He wasn’t really any more impressive than any of the guests, but I don’t think he was bad

But my sister and I were watching it and CRACKING UP the whole time. I guess it’s sort of the nature of his character on Scrubs- hilarious, but sort of deadpan- that made it hard to take him seriously when he was being dramatic. It was really hard to separate his character on NYPD Blue from The Janitor.

Same, sort of, for Zach Braff. I thought he was okay in Garden State, but it still seemed like J.D. from Scrubs playing someone else. Most people I’ve talked to think he was fabulous and excellent and so on, but… I think comedy is probably his strong point.

I don’t know if this counts, but, continuing with the Scrubs theme, the guy who plays Dr. Kelso was the judge in the movie I Am Sam. He had a very small role, but he was the only one out of the lot who seemed like… just the judge, rather than Dr. Kelso in a robe.

(bolding mine)

Bwaahhhh? :confused: Are you thinking of Sleepy Hollow, maybe?

I really like and admire Jim Carrey in his serious roles, and loathe him in his “funny” ones. But it’s because he does that style of humor I dislike - broad, broad, broader than my ass broad. shudder I will grant that he does it WELL, but for me, the better you do broad comedy, the more I dislike it.

I’m actually warming up to Bill Murray as he gets better serious roles. I didn’t really like Lost in Translation, but I thought he was good in it. Yes, I know I should like his humor because it’s dry, but to me his dryness is so dry it’s become broad again, if that makes any sense at all.

Robin Williams, just to prove that every rule is made to be broken, I love both in his broad comedy, his dramatic roles and his plain weird ones that defy description. Love, love, love him. He’s never hit a wrong note with me. And I’m so glad I was never his teacher!

I would agree that he is a skilled and versatile actor, but I don’t really get what you’re trying to say. Johnny Depp wasn’t in the Nightmare before Christmas. Were you simply confused? Or were you comparing his performance in Edward Scissorhands to someone’s voice-acting in Nightmare?

Another vote for Jim Carrey, who was quite good in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine….
Bill Murray does well in dramatic turns, too.
Did anyone see Robin Williams in the recent DVD The Night Listener? He did a nice job in a very non-comedic role.

I’m in-between on Bill Murray. I loved him in “Translation,” but he was absolutely awful in “The Razor’s Edge” (this is the Somerset Maughm “Lost in Tibet” movie that Bill was able to get financed because they wanted him so badly in “Ghostbusters.”)

The movie’s interesting to see, but Bill sucks the air from every scene he’s in, especially when he’s trying to be all spiritual and s***. When he walks, he acts like his arms don’t know what his body’s doing, which is funny to see in a comedy, but not here.

I’ll have to watch “Translation” again to see if the movie shot around these deficiencies.

BTW, I loved him in “Groundhog Day”, which was a nice mix of comedy and drama. The IMDB noted that the scriptwriters decided to cut out some of the nasty stuff his character did for awhile, like killing and raping the townspeople (hey, if you knew it all gets reset the next day, wouldn’t you try a little pillaging?

Ryan Reynolds isn’t a stand-up comic, but he is definitely known for his acting in goofy teen comedies like Van Wilder. That said, he impressed the hell out of me as a serious, competent FBI agent in Smokin’ Aces. I’d love to see him play the superhero The Flash in a movie, which would be a drama for the most part, but the lead character is known for his droll, sarcastic, occasionally-immature humor.

I’ll agree on Jim Carrey (who I greatly prefer in serious roles) and Bill Murray (who is fantastic in almost everything), and I think Steve Carell has a lot to offer in the future in both comedic and dramatic parts.

Back to Scrubs, John C. McGinley is hilarious on the show as the acerbic Dr. Cox, but he can switch to serious quite adeptly during the show’s dramatic moments. He is also very good in serious movies, including Platoon. There’s a fantastic movie called Article 99, a hospital drama with an amazing cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Ray Liotta, John C. McGinley, and Forest Whittaker, among others.

You realize, don’t you, that you initialized the two shortest words in this very long film title? That is all.

Avengers was crap, and it was one of Izzard’s first real film roles - and it was only barely a role, as he didn’t even have a speaking part (his only line, a single word, was dubbed.) He was brilliant as Charlie Chaplin in The Cat’s Meow. Frequently, Izzard has been the best part of an otherwise garbage movie - All The Queen’s Men, Circus, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, The Secret Agent, Velvet Goldmine. He was terrific on stage in the drama A Day In The Death of Joe Egg (for which he won a Drama Desk award) and is now filming a dramatic series that’s supposed to debut in March on F/X.