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The Frat Pack: Pledging to Make Audiences Laugh

April 7th, 2008 2:00pm EDT
Will FerrellA majority of comedic films released over the past 10 years have fallen into either one of two categories: stupid with borderline inappropriate humor or stupid with completely inappropriate humor. Occasionally, a comedy comes along that doesn't quite fit either of these descriptions (i.e., Wedding Crashers, which is completely inappropriate but far from stupid). But these films are few and far between.

However, it is important to note that the word "stupid" is not meant to have a negative connotation here. True, it is sometimes more satisfying to watch a comedy based entirely on witty remarks and biting retorts, but stupid humor, when in the hands of the right people, is absolutely hilarious.

Ben StillerAnd who exactly are "the right people?" A group of seven actors - Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Steve Carell - who have dominated the comedy genre since the start of the decade. The "frat pack" was so named by USA Today in 2004 as a reference to the film Old School, in which Ferrell, Vaughn and Luke Wilson start a fraternity. Though not the first movie featuring more than one member of the frat pack, "Old School" was truly the defining breakout film that set the stage for many more collaborations between these actors.

Steve CarellAnd what glorious collaborations they were! It's been awhile since so many movies have consistently produced not only memorable moments, but memorable quotes as well. Even though the "frat pack" seems to be segueing slowly into retirement while the "JV Squad" - Judd Apatow and company - are stepping up to fill their shoes, it will definitely be a long time before the "frat pack" film legacy is forgotten. With quotes like these, how could it be?

10. "Rule Number 5, you're an idiot." -John Beckwith (Owen Wilson), to Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn), in Wedding Crashers.

Quite possibly the most offensive of all the frat pack movies, "Wedding Crashers" is chock full of quotes much racier than this, but that doesn't make this one any less amusing. Indeed, a majority of what makes "Wedding Crashers" so entertaining is the clever incorporation of the "rules," and this one that John makes up is possibly the most ridiculous one of all.

Wedding Crashers

9. "You're my boy, Blue!" -Frank "The Tank" (Will Ferrell), in Old School.

The original frat pack film that started it all, "Old School" is a hilarious study in male bonding and cheating the system. Frank, as the most confused character in the movie, provides a majority of the laughs in his attempts to impress both the pledges and his fellow founding members. The quote above is no exception.

Old School

8. "I love lamp." -Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Before Steve Carell was a legitimate leading man, he started to make his mark in Hollywood by playing silly supporting roles. Brick Tamland, the mentally retarded weatherman with an IQ of 48, says a lot of funny things in "Anchorman," but none of them stack up to this one: it's so famous it even has its own shirt on snorgtees.com!



7. "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!" -Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn), in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.

There's something really funny about throwing a wrench top speed at someone's forehead. And there's something even funnier about following said throw with a heartless and blunt statement of truth.

Dodgeball

6. "What IS this? A center for ants?" -Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), to Mugatu (Will Ferrell), in Zoolander.

Does anyone play a loveable idiot better than Ben Stiller? Honestly? Steve Carell, maybe (think The 40-Year-Old Virgin), though Stiller definitely has him beat on the idiot part.

Zoolander

5. "We're going streaking!" -Frank "The Tank" (Will Ferrell), in "Old School."

The idea of grown men running naked through the streets in a collective drunken fit of inspiration is funny enough as it is. When it's Will Ferrell's saggy, hairy naked body, it's even funnier. When it turns out to be Will Ferrell's saggy, hairy naked body by itself, it's just downright uproarious.

4. "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood...NOBODY!" -White Goodman (Ben Stiller), to Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn), in "Dodgeball."

See #6 above, and drop the "loveable" part.

3. "I can dere-lick my OWN balls, thank you very much!" -Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), to Hansel (Owen Wilson), in "Zoolander."

As the writer, director, and star of the film, it's safe to say that "Zoolander" is Stiller's baby, and his endearment is evident in the way he plays the starring role. While not Oscar potential by any stretch of the imagination, Stiller embodies every aspect of the role perfectly, including the way he delivers zingers such as this.

2. "MOM! The meatloaf!! F---!" -Chazz Reinhold (Will Ferrell), in "Wedding Crashers."

Will Ferrell's comedy has three basic parts: his complete immodesty regarding his less-than-perfect body, his ability to play an idiotic and chauvinistic pig (such as Blades of Glory and "Anchorman"), and his yelling, as he does when he says this line. Would it be a funny quote if Ferrell didn't yell it? Probably...but there's no way it would be as high as #2 on this list.

1. "You stay classy, San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy?" -Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), in "Anchorman."

Ben Stiller, a seasoned pro at playing stupid characters, might be able to pull off a line as ridiculous as this. Yet there's something about the way Ferrell incorporates Burgundy's macho attitude into an obvious moronic sentence that just makes it 10 times better.

Story By Allisyn Keyser
Starpulse contributing writer


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