For years moviegoers, critics, theorists, philosophers, and the occasional cat have pondered and debated one of life's great unanswered questions: is Mark Wahlberg a unexpectedly brilliant actor who occasionally ends up in bad movies (Max Payne, The Truth About Charlie, Shooter) or a terrible actor who inexplicably has the good fortune to find himself in great films (The Departed, Boogie Nights, Three Kings)?
The 41-year-old star can be an easy punching bag (metaphorically, as actually trying to punch him would end so poorly for you) thanks to his Marky Mark days, the fact that Entourage is based on his life, and his dopey Bah-stin tough guy demeanor (Andy Samberg's "Say hi to your mother for me" did for Wahlberg what Tina Fey did for Sarah Palin...no favors) but here's the thing about Wahlberg: when you're not laughing at him, you're laughing with him. See: The Other Guys, Ted, Date Night, and his latest movie, Michael Bay's juiced-up action comedy Pain & Gain, which plays up the whole meat head act.
The guy actually has good comedic presence and timing and is legitimately funny. Only, sometimes he's really not supposed to be. For every time he's effective in a drama (his brilliant, foul-mouthed, and intentionally funny turn as a cop in The Departed rightfully earned him in Oscar nomination) there's those movie moments when he's so stunningly bad or just blank that you wonder if all those "Good Vibrations" rattled something loose upstairs.
In honor of Pain & Gain, which actually plays up Wahlberg's strengths (his comedy muscles and his actual muscles), here are times when the actor made us crack up when we weren't supposed to.
The Happening just so happens to be the most unintentionally hilarious movie of the past decade. In fact, it's nearly impossible to narrow down which scene had us catching our breath from laughing so hard about a movie about killer wind. Singing The Doobie Brothers' "Old Black Water" to a perfect stranger as a way to prove you're not crazy? Running yourself over with a lawn mower? Comedy gold, all of it. But nothing tops when Wahlberg's character Elliot unconvincingly tries to assure the crazy old bat he and his family are staying with that they're not trying to kill her in her sleep? Was this actually meant to be taken seriously? What? No!
You know what? I can't pick just one moment from The Happening, that's impossible, especially considering there's also a scene in which Wahlberg literally TRIES TO REASON WITH a plastic tree. Say hi to your mother for me, plant.
It takes some real nerve to kick someone out of the band that they started (you hear that, Timothy Olyphant?!) but the way that Wahlberg's Chris shouts it out in a moment of utter betrayal in Rock Star will make you scream and shout...with laughter. There's plenty of unintentional humor to go around in this 2001 flick (the bad hair, the bad clothes, the bad music, the bad melodrama) but seriously try to keep it together at the :45 mark.
Wait, were we supposed to be freaked out by Wahlberg as stalker beau David in this scene from Fear when he pounds on his chest like King Kong? Because the carving 'Nicole 4-eva' on his chest was much, much worse if we're talking in terms of chest-related scares. This, on the other hand, was just damn funny. Here's the very NSFW moment:
Who's supposed to laugh during the harrowing family drama The Fighter? NAHT YOU.
Bonus unintentionally hilarious (hilariously sexy, that is!) Wahlberg moment:
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
More: The 20 Hottest Shirtless Muscle Men in Movies Michael Bay's 'Pain & Gain' and 9 Other Movies Inspired By Horrific EventsMark Wahlberg and The Rock Will Pump You Up in 'Pain & Gain' Poster
From Our Partners:Eva Longoria Bikinis on Spring Break (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
There ain't much of one. In a nutshell a group of spun-out druggies living in the drab sun-baked land of the mini mall known as North Los Angeles Valley are focused on one thing and one thing only--getting and using drugs--and we get to tag along with them for three wasted sleepless days. There's Ross (Jason Schwartzman) a college dropout pining over a girl who dumped him and the only one of the gang you think might have some redeeming quality--until he handcuffs his stripper girlfriend spread-eagled to the bed naked duct-tapes her eyes and mouth and leaves her with a thrash metal CD--skipping--on the player for three days. (All that ruckus of course raises the suspicions of a butch biker broad--Deborah Harry in a cameo--who runs a phone sex line out of her apartment next door.) In exchange for dope Ross runs errands for a big badass Jesse James type known as the Cook (Mickey Rourke) 'cause he brews the crystal in a squalid motel room he shares with sweet misguided stripper Nikki (Brittany Murphy). The Cook provides drugs to dealer Spider Mike (John Leguizamo) a seriously paranoid hopped-up speed freak and his mossy-teethed tweaker girlfriend Cookie (Mena Suvari) who use and sell the Cook's drugs to hangers-on like the absurdly pimply faced Frisbee (Patrick Fugit) in between sex sessions and flip-outs involving guns spray paint and socks.
Every last person in this ensemble seems to relish getting down and dirty--and by dirty we mean fetid. Murphy and Rourke are particular standouts: with big kohl-smudged eyes and wide friendly smile she's sweetly innocent bobbling aournd in her f***-me Daisy Dukes and high-heeled boots; he's terrifying and larger than life in torn jeans tucked into white shitkickers a ponytail and a Stetson but he actually pulls the heartstrings when he muses about watching puppies be put to death as a boy and defends two chola mini-mart clerks from an abusive gangster. Watching Schwartzman's Ross whom you expect to like as the film's hero perform what amounts to torture on his girlfriend so casually and with such good intentions is more shocking than any of the film's drug scenes or seedy imagery and Ross becomes all the more menacing in his regular-Joe ways. Props to Suvari for letting the world watch her strain so vigorously on the can and to Leguizamo for giving his all in his few scenes whether threatening his pseudo-friends with a gun shooting up crank or jacking off. Peter Stormare and Alexis Arquette give lively performances as a sort of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-meets-COPS pair of vice guys hot on Spider's trail; look out also for former Judas Priest singer Rob Halford porn star Ron Jeremy and Eric Roberts.
With its over-the-top caricatures hyper-frenetic camerawork and creatively near pornographic animation segments this movie looks an awful lot like a music video and with good reason: Director Jonas Akerlund is best known for his controversial Prodigy "Smack My Bitch Up" video and Madonna's "Music." He is unafraid to put this sordid bunch right up in your face flinging the greasy underbelly of the So Cal meth scene sunny side up and zooming in with the cameras up close and personal to a point that's almost unbearably uncomfortable. Akerlund's techniques are sometimes overdone like the bone-crunching sounds and wildly rolling eyeballs that herald each and every high and sometimes screamingly funny like Ross's daydream of a Patton-like Cook pontificating about the female vagina in front of an American flag. A well-done score by former Smashing Pumpkins' singer Billy Corgan moves the film fluidly from calm states of relative normalcy to paranoid herky-jerky scenes of jabbering addicts flying right off the mental deep end. These people are shallow vile and irredeemable and Akerlund's brilliance lies in making you feel for them in spite of themselves.