Pop-Ed: Top 10 Buddy Comedy Pairings

daniel cohen looks at his favorite tag teams of comedy …

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The Buddy Comedy — a time honored tradition. While not as prevalent as it was back in the 80’s and 90’s, we’ll still get the occasional two man comedy show. They can be best friends, brothers, and sometimes they’ll even hate each other. But whether it’s cracking jokes, or fighting with one another, there’s nothing funnier then when two actors have that magical chemistry together. And with The Internship playing, in which Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are paired once again, how can we not look back at the Best Buddy Comedy Pairings of yesteryear. And before we get started, just a little FYI … I’m not judging these films on which one is better, but what movie has the funnier pairing. And with that little caveat out of the way, hold onto your funny bone — it’s my Top 10 Best Buddy Comedy Pairings!

Honorable Mention:

Jon Favreau (Mike) & Vince Vaughn (Trent) — Swingers (1996):

These beautiful babies just didn’t quite make the cut. While Favreau and Vaughn certainly have great chemistry, this was more of a one man show. Mike just wasn’t that interesting, whereas Trent really carried the duo. And even though the Sega Genesis NHL hockey scene is one of my favorites, even that had a third man — Sue, played by Patrick Van Horn. Sorry, Swingers … maybe next time.

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10. Jonah Hill (Schmidt) & Channing Tatum (Jenko) – 21 Jump Street (2012):

Yeah, kicking it off with a very recent one. When I first saw 21 Jump Street, I really liked it. When I saw it a second time, I loved it even more. And what I noticed the second time around was just how much chemistry these two actors really had, despite being very different actors. And you really do buy into their friendship. Jonah Hill is being Jonah Hill, but he just seems funnier here for some reason. And for everyone who wants to jump on the ‘I hate Channing Tatum’ band wagon, I think you need to watch this movie. Tatum is hysterical in this film. A lot of his delivery is like a jock version of Napoleon Dynamite, but much funnier. These guys have great one-liners all around, but the scene where they go on drugs left me in stitches. Tatum falling into the drum cymbals is comedy gold.

9. Bob Hoskins (Eddie Valiant) & Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit) – Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988):

While not the funniest pairing, this team still deserves a spot. Hoskins has great chemistry … with nothing. Yeah, Hoskins is basically acting against thin air. The voice of Roger Rabbit, Charlie Fleischer, was on set delivering lines in costume, but Hoskins as hard boiled detective Eddie Valiant had the real challenge. He certainly does a better job acting opposite animated characters than the actors in the Star Wars prequels did. That’s probably because not only did the Prequel actors have to act with pretend CG characters, but also in front of a green screen every day. At least Hoskins was on a set. But Hoskins and Fleischer really is a fantastic pairing, with glorious moments all throughout this film. Valiant treats this rabbit like shit, but eventually the crazy bastard grows on him. Out of all their scenes together, I’m partial to when he shoves Roger down the sink water to hide him from the weasels. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my favorite movies, and this pairing is a big reason why.

8. Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly) & Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) – Back to the Future Trilogy:

This is sort of going along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And while maybe not a comedy pairing per se, these guys obviously have chemistry oozing out of the screen. I just had to include them on this list. Marty even interacts with Doc from two different time periods. While all three films have oodles of great Marty/Doc moments, it’s the third entry that ironically gives us the best pure chemistry between the two. You got Marty frantically trying to wake up a passed out Doc after one shot of whiskey, they get their picture taken at the clock tower, and they even get to use each other’s catch phrases with Marty saying ‘Great Scott,’ and Doc going ‘I know, this is heavy.’ Beautiful.

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7. Mark Wahlberg (John Bennett) & Seth MacFarlane (Ted) – Ted (2012):

Another film from last year making the list, but deservedly so. Whether they’re bonding over Flash Gordon, trying to guess white trash names, singing the thunder song, or talking shit about the fish at the aquarium, there is no denying one of the best bromances in film history. And even though using the exact voice of Peter Griffin was jarring at first, MacFarlane really makes it work. I think what works best about this pairing though is that had Ted just been a regular guy, and not a teddy bear, it still would have been a great pairing. Ted is simply just a hilarious written character who happens to be a teddy bear. And kudos to Mark Wahlberg for giving one of his best performances to date.

6. Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.) & Keanu Reeves (Ted Logan) – Bill & Ted Series:

‘Excellent!’ ‘Sixty-Nine, dude!’ ‘Bogus!’ ‘We are … Wyld Stallyns!’ How can you not love Bill & Ted? And this is why comedy just isn’t what it used to be. Come on … you can’t tell me the Hangover guys, or the douche-bags from Wedding Crashers are funnier than these two air guitar playing air heads. I’m not having it. When have we seen comedic characters like these recently? They are so well defined, and infinitely fun to watch. What other movie can claim the line, ‘Sounds good, Mr. The Kid,’ when meeting Billy the Kid? They melvin the Grim Reaper for crying out loud! The only reason why they aren’t higher on this list is because both characters are basically the same person. I’m getting nervous we haven’t heard anything about that supposed third Bill & Ted movie. Seeing these guys again as middle-aged men … I’m in.

5. Wesley Snipes (Sidney Deane) & Woody Harrelson (Billy Hoyle) – White Men Can’t Jump (1992):

White Men Can’t Jump is an absolute classic. It’s sad that it’s been kind of forgotten about. But Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson playing two very talented street yard basketball players is comedy at it’s finest. And this pairing really is kind of the seeds of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys, which was in consideration for my list. These two guys don’t really like each other, and even meet after Hoyle hustles Sidney in a fantastic opening scene. There aren’t any big time memorable moments in this film, but these guys are just consistently funny all the way through as they drive the absolute shit out of each other for almost two hours. If you haven’t seen this one, check it out. You’ll thank me later.

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4. Chris Farley (Tommy) & David Spade (Richard) – Tommy Boy (1995):

Let’s take the loud mouth fat guy and pair him with the snarky skinny guy … a dream comedy team was born. Chris Farley and David Spade go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s a shame we couldn’t see more due to Chris Farley’s untimely death. I even like Black Sheep for crying out loud, just because of them. But I must have seen Tommy Boy like 50 times, and it never gets old. I could literally rattle off 30 gut-busting scenes where these guys are on screen together, but I think we all know what the quintessential moment is…

3. Jim Carrey (Lloyd Christmas) & Jeff Daniels (Harry Dunne) – Dumb & Dumber (1994):

The true testament to this pairing is that these guys could be in any mundane conversation, and you’ll still be chuckling. There isn’t one moment in this entire movie where I’m not at least smiling when Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are on screen together. Whether it’s driving around in the ‘shaggin’ wagon,’ or talking about their worm store, Lloyd and Harry were sent directly from comedy heaven. But in the plethora of hilarity that these guys create just by looking at the camera, the fact that they invent their own game of tag with rules such as ‘anti-quitsies,’ ‘double stamps,’ and even the controversial ‘triple stamp,’ tells you everything you need to know about their friendship. Yeah, they’re dumb, but we loved the hell out of them anyway. And that’s why the end to Dumb & Dumber is one of the saddest endings in the history of movies. We desperately wanted to see a great ending for these two bozos. I guess the silver lining is that they are too stupid to even realize how depressing their ending really is. And finally, 20 years later, we’ll be seeing these guys on screen again next year … hopefully.

2. Jeff Bridges (Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski) & John Goodman (Walter Sobchak) – The Big Lebowski (1998):

You could argue it’s sort of a trio with Steve Buscemi’s Donny, but The Dude and Walter definitely had more screen time together. I will never forget the first time I saw The Big Lebowski. I thought I was going to get a permanent smile like the Joker from laughing so hard. And sort of like with Swingers, where Walter is the Trent of the pairing, just funny line after funny line, The Dude is the perfect foil to this character. I have no idea why these guys are friends. The Dude looks like he’s going to have a stroke every time he’s with Walter. Walter is basically George Costanza and Sonny Corleone rolled into one glorious creation, and John Goodman gives a performance for the ages. And much like with Dumb & Dumber, just watching these guys on camera makes you giggle. Their high points though are even funnier then Lloyd and Harry. The Big Lebowski … if you can’t find humor in this film, I can’t help you.

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1. Mike Myers (Wayne Campbell) & Dana Carvey (Garth Algar) – Wayne’s World (1992):

At the end of the day, this is basically Bill & Ted, but perfected. Wayne’s World actually is my favorite comedy, and it’s because of the chemistry between these two brilliant comedians. I’m sure I’ve said it before in other articles, but for me, Dana Carvey’s Garth Algar is the single funniest comedic performance in all of cinema. But Mike Myers is no slouch either. These two play brilliantly off each other. Wayne is the born leader, who has his nervous sidekick that worships the ground he walks on. Garth is the reason why there is a ‘Wayne’s World.’ And in a time where so many TV shows want to do the whole ‘Let’s talk to the camera’ thing, Wayne’s World wrote the book on it, and the book should have remained closed. There are times where I hope for a Wayne’s World 3, but when the two reunited a few years ago at the MTV Movie Awards, it was a little strange. Dana Carvey is almost 60 for crying out loud. Wayne’s World 2 is a solid sequel, and we should probably just leave it at that. But I’m going to end this countdown with the only way I know how…

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.