Phil, Stu, and Alan in 'The Hangover'
As the Wolf Pack returns for a third chapter in the Hangover series, we are begged by director Todd Phillips to climb on board for another set of adventures, to root for the trio in their misguided forays through alcoholism. But if we didn't realize this in the first two installments, we're bound to meet a harsh truth in Part III: these guys are horrible. Sure, we're supposed to root for them, but Phil, Stu, and (most of all) Alan are genuinely despicable human beings. So why, then, does The Hangover feel that it can get away with selling them as heroes? Simple: that's the Hollywood way...
John Beckwith in 'Wedding Crashers'
New Line Cinema
The 2005 comedy had us pulling for Owen Wilson in his pursuit of the heart of Rachel McAdams... even though he was the sort of fellow who'd lie his way into other people's weddings, con an engaged woman into falling for him under the falsest of pretenses, and go so far as to poison her fiancé in order to steal some alone time with her. And he's the hero.
Farmer Ted in 'Sixteen Candles'
What, we're supposed to sympathize with Anthony Michael Hall's character in the John Hughes comedy just because he's shrimpy and earnest? How about we consider fact that he's a borderline sexual deviant: he makes a tireless pursuit for the underwear of his female peers, eventually finding himself in the arms of a blackout drunk schoolmate (pawned off on him by her own boyfriend while that saint skips off for a fling with another gal entirely), and proceeds to take full advantage with her while driving around town under the influence and without a license. A real underdog.
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Jim in 'American Pie'
It's not only the depravity embodied by Jim Levenstein that's a problem — sure, he's no worse than your average high school student, seeking sexual gratification by any means necessary — but also his complete unawareness of his own evils. In American Pie 2, the perverse young man tells his future wife Michelle that he's "not like other guys," suggesting a kinder, more sensitive nature. Well, this is the same kid who spent his entire senior year trying to have sex with anyone, regardless of emotional connection. So yeah, Jim, you are like other guys.
C.C. Baxter in 'The Apartment'
Sure, Jack Lemmon's humble hero in The Apartment is hardly the worst member of Billy Wilder's society. But this is a guy who willingly abets the chauvinistic debauchery of the lot of his coworkers by giving them all a pen for which to patronize their adulterous behaviors. You can make the argument that he's just watching his own back, but after a certain point, you'd think this jag would at least weigh a little thing called morality into the equation.
Cameron James in '10 Things I Hate About You'
I can already feel the scathing hate from Joseph Gordon-Levitt fans everywhere. But how good a guy was his 10 Things I Hate About You character, really? He constantly harassed Heath Ledger, the midst of his own perils dealing with a drunk, disorderly, and in danger of concussion Julia Stiles. He lashed out at Alex Mack simply because she wasn't interested in him. And worst of all, the only real reason he was so nobly in love with her: she was good-looking. Take your burning, pining, and perishing elsewhere.
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Bad Will Hunting in 'Good Will Hunting'
Sure, he had a hard childhood. No one will deny him that. But the people who have been there for him — his pal Chuckie, his girlfriend Skylar, his therapist Robin Williams... I mean, Sean — are the ones receiving the brunt of his temper. Will flips out on his Harvard-educated lady friend, growing violent over his own insecurities. He constantly disregards and shelves the needs, wants, and aspirations of his friends, treating them like set pieces. And to be such a jackass to Prof. Lambeau, the man who is putting everything into turning his life around? You could have gone to jail, Will!
Skolnick in 'Revenge of the Nerds'
20th Century Fox
Yes, it's a screwball comedy. Yes, it's set at a college where a power hungry football coach has free range of the facilities, forcing whichever students he finds socially unfit to sleep in the gym as opposed to the dorms. But it's hard to get past so-called hero Lewis Skolnick's shockingly deceptive meandering into the pants of the loathsome campus popular girl, tricking her into having sex with him by disguising himself to be her boyfriend. True, all parties involved are jerks, but that's just criminal.
Edward Cullen in 'The Twilight Saga'
Perhaps the worst hero of them all: an emotionally manipulative, self-aggrandizing demon who terrifies his "beloved" Bella Swan into sticking with him through all of his horrors with threats of his own demise. That's some sharply cruel stuff. No wonder these two didn't make it...