I feel the need to say something that we’ve all been thinking for quite some time: Ryan Reynolds is the anti-Dane Cook.
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. It’s a revelation I had a while ago that came to the front of my mind after seeing Reynolds in Chaos Theory. It seems pretty obvious that where one is a talented comedic and dramatic actor the other is a one-note comedian that can’t translate stand up success to the box office.
Apparently it will come as a shock to some, though. I came across a phenomenon on the internet that compares the two actors as if they are one and the same. Thankfully, this only seems to extend to their physical appearance (which is baffling to me as they look as alike as Bea Arthur and Dick Cheney), but there are more than a few people out there who enjoy the comedy of both men and consider them in the same league. This is also baffling to me. Some even consider their comedy to be in the same style. Even more baffling. As far as I’m concerned, these men are polar opposites.
Let’s look some facts that seem unnaturally couched in my own opinions:
Reynolds came into full view in Van Wilder, a role that solidified his career without overpowering it. He’s moved beyond that pitch-perfect comedic role as a college golden boy to act in serious work like Chaos Theory and The Nines, action-dramas like Smokin’ Aces and Blade: Trinity and Romantic Comedies like Just Friends and Definitely, Maybe. In doing so, he’s displayed range and solid acting talent.
Dane Cook entered the public eye doing stand up comedy on Comedy Central Presents while appearing in a dozen forgettable movies that you’d be surprised to hear he was in. He recently made the leap into the leading man role with flops like Employee of the Month and Good Luck Chuck and proved that he can’t act beside real actors in flicks like Mr. Brooks and Dan in Real Life. All the while, he’s made more money doing stand up for his “Tourgasm” series and “Vicious Circle”.
Reynolds plays a leading man with ease, shifting effortlessly between comedy and drama and between scruffy or clean-cut. Like Van Wilder, he seems like the type of guy who would compliment your mother’s outfit at family dinner (and mean it), but would also buy your first round of Patron later that evening while telling you a hilarious story about the time he and his friend tried to do a back flip over a beach bonfire drunk and ended up in the emergency room.
Cook seems lost in leading roles, unable to carry an entire film by himself and completely incapable of flipping his sarcastic-asshole switch to the “off” position long enough to cry on camera. He’s like your college friend who never grew up. If you invited him to family dinner, he seems like the type that would inquire as to whether your mother enjoyed anal sex, insult your father’s cardiac transplant scar and then insist that you play Designated Driver so that he could get Jaeger-bombed.
Reynolds is your college friend that everyone respected but who wasn’t too cool to just hang out.
Cook is your college friend that still thinks it’s funny to throw “The Shocker” into party photos.
If they were cast in a war movie, Reynolds would be the young lieutenant that leads his pals into a bloody battle with honor. Cook would be the guy that gets everyone shot.
As if by fate, Hollywood saw fit for their paths to cross in Waiting…which does two things for its onlookers. One, it puts them on screen together – opposite personalities and trajectories passing each other in the night. And two, it displays perfectly how different they are.
Reynolds plays a likable main character that wants everyone to have a good time and manages to keep the gross-out stuff as classy as possible. Cook plays a side character whose main interests are spitting in people’s food and lusting after a jail-bait hostess with reckless abandon. They play these roles so accurately, that one has trouble discerning their abilities from their actual lives.
Of course I don’t know either person, so I’m judging based off of their public personas and their work. Still, I can’t help feeling that Dane Cook is the type that would light a fart in a public place to get attention, and Ryan Reynolds would laugh softly but shake his head knowing he has a real audition to get to in the morning.
If life were a movie, the two men could not exist without each other. One representing all that is good with the world and the other representing all that is unwashed, unfunny and venereal diseased – they would be forever locked in battle. Luckily, this is not the case, as one will continue to rise as a talent and, if he chooses his roles correctly, could wind up with an Oscar for Best Support Actor within five years and the other will become “VH1’s I love the 2000s” fodder, trying to wash dishes at the Laugh Factory for a five minute slot during open mic night.
Perhaps the best proof I have is my old friend math (we go way back). While Cook has one movie in post-production and two in development, Reynolds has one coming out this weekend (albeit in limited release), another being released this year, one in post-production, and two filming currently (including X-Men Origins: Wolverine where he plays Deadpool).
Without gaining traction in upcoming films, Cook will most likely fade out of the major motion picture world and back to the grind making millions on college campuses. This is good news for fans that dislike seeing his face on advertisements everywhere. On the flip side, Reynolds will keep gaining momentum and roles as a serious performer. Yet another example of how these two are as opposite as can be.