Movie Editorial: The Unfortunate Demise of the Likable Vince Vaughn
I like Vince Vaughn and I want him to succeed. I want to like his movies, like I once did when I, and so many others, fell for his charm in 1996’s Swingers. Though he was around before then in bit parts, Swingers put him on the map. His manic, trash talking, good guy/bad guy persona has been his calling card ever since. He followed that up with diverse roles in films that I’ve seen such as Return to Paradise, Clay Pigeons and Psycho. (I left out J3: Lost World on purpose). At that point in time he was becoming a bonafide star.
Unfortunately, with stardom comes more challenging career choices. Projects are thrown at you and it can be difficult not to get pigeonholed into certain roles, especially when trapped in the Tinseltown machine. Vaughn is the quintessential guys sidekick. Dopey enough to be relatable but fun enough to still pull the girls. He was a “puffy motherfucker” as referred to by HBO’s ‘Entourage’ and it was all good. Ultimately, he’s a guy most men would like to “kick it” with, to have a drink and banter.
With popularity, Vaughn became somewhat ubiquitous. He was churning out multiple roles every year a decade ago and always seemed to be the same guy. From Old School to Dodgeball to bit parts in Anchorman and Zoolander, he was becoming a little too outlandish. His Vince-ness reached a crescendo in 2005’s seminal Wedding Crashers. If he wasn’t a star before, he was locked in then and he was expected to be “that dude”.
Since then, however, his career has been in a nosedive. The Break-Up was borderline tolerable at best, but Couples Retreat or Fred Claus anyone? I thought so. More of the same came (in all likelihood – though they are films I haven’t seen) in The Watch, The Dilemma, The Internship and finally, the newly released Delivery Man. None of these films seemed to carry the charm of some of Vaughn’s earlier efforts, and no, I don’t feel as though I have to see them to make that claim.
But ultimately, that’s kind of the point -17 years ago we found him, 10 years ago, we still loved him, but nowadays he’s bordering on irrelevance. I don’t want to see the films I mentioned and that says it all. I used to want to spend time with the guy who had the whip-smart quips and who’d seemingly never grow up, but now – ehh, not so much. The top user list on his IMDB page is an article titled “Celebrities that I dislike.” Ouch.
This happens to a lot, if not most, actors who have had success, so I get it, but I don’t have to like it. I’m still hopeful for a career renaissance but it’s hard to envision given his upcoming slate including Anchorman 2 and Daddy’s Home, both opposite Will Ferrell. The man will still get to make movies, but these eyes may never return. I’m thankful that we’ll always have Swingers though. That was money.