You may know him as the former fiancee of Alanis Morissette, the current beau of Scarlett Johansson, or the most lovable Canadian actor since the ascendancy of Michael J. Fox. You've experienced Ryan Reynolds' greatness, but have you sat down to ponder the most inspirational performances of this legendary actor's career?
No worries. I've done the thinking for you. Prepare to pump up your Netflix queue with some Ryan Reynolds quality.
Did it really take this long for a movie about waitstaff spitting in your food to come out? This movie is for restaurant workers what Office Space was to the cubicle set. Ryan plays the alpha male at Shenaniganz, your typical casual-dining chain restaurant. He's pretty much Van Wilder with slightly less charisma, drive, and benevolence. Separating his ordinary (for him) performance from extraordinary status was that little "extra." His performance earns him a rating of 7 provinces out of a possible 13.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
From the director of Dude, Where's My Car? (so you know it's going to be good), Harold and Kumar do exactly what the title suggests. A simple concept with fantastic execution that grows on you with each viewing. R and R does a funny cameo in this one but is outshone by Neil Patrick Harris' recurring cameo. NPH would never do that. Would he? He did. This gets 8 provinces.
Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place
This short-lived TV series is also exactly what the title suggests ... a sitcom about two guys (one of whom is Reynolds), a girl, and a pizza place. In this one, he plays a med student named Berg. Here's where I first saw his distinct comic mannerisms. He carried a show that was always in a state of flux and fighting to stay on the air. For those reasons, I give him 8 provinces. No wait, 9. I'm throwing in Manitoba.
Here, Ryan disposes with the smirk and makes the transition to leading man in a romantic comedy. He plays the father of a little girl struggling with her parents' divorce. To help her deal with the divorce, he tells her the story of the three loves of his life, one of whom is her mother. She and the audience get to figure out which one her mom is. The movie is beautifully written (including a rare non-formulaic plot in a boy-meets-girl story) and Reynolds is very believable in this grown-up role. As a bonus, all five main characters are likable people. No demonization necessary. 10 provinces.
His masterwork. This is Ryan Reynolds' Citizen Kane. Except it's not overrated. Sorry, Orson. Ryan plays the title character, who is in his seventh year at Coolidge College, still looking for that "dare to be great" moment. He is the big man on campus who's always there with a snarky remark but who is also always there for the little guy. Reynolds' comic brilliance, complete with wry facial expressions, appropriate pauses, and smooth one-liners, radiates throughout the movie. A perfect 13 provinces.
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