Josh Duhamel, Zach Galifianakis, Harrison Ford, and other contemporary examples of onscreen manhood

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated November 12, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST
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We see them everywhere, and we recognize them even without binoculars. They’re breeds of male characters in contemporary American comedies, and they’re popping up at such an alarming rate that you’d think no other men existed. Here’s a handy reference chart, suitable for laminating and carrying to the next com — rom or otherwise.

THE DUDE WHO WON’T COMMIT
Characteristics
Maybe he rides a motorcycle, like Josh Duhamel in Life as We Know It. He probably wears a ratty T-shirt. He’s cute. He belches.

Habitat
Chick-oriented rom-coms in which he loosens up a pretty, tightly wound working woman.

Others Of His Species
Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth. Any man cast opposite Jennifer Aniston.

THE BABY MAN
Characteristics
He’s got a flabby belly, like Zach Galifianakis in Due Date, or he’s a skinny noodle à la Michael Cera in Juno. He’s a boy who can drink and vote.

Habitat
Gen-X/Y buddy comedies, Judd Apatow comedies, first-time Sundance comedies.

Others Of His Species
Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Jonah Hill, pre-Social Network Jesse Eisenberg.

THE POMPOUS OLDER GUY
Characteristics
He wears a suit, like Harrison Ford in Morning Glory. He’s got a nice office and/or a younger girlfriend.

Habitat
Comedies about journalists, comedies about bankers.

Others Of His Species
John Travolta in Old Dogs. Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets. Anything with Alec Baldwin.

THE EVIL GUY WHO’S SECRETLY NICE
Characteristics
He’s got an exaggerated big head, like the guy in Megamind, or an exaggerated big nose, like the guy in Despicable Me. All he needs is love to change his evil ways.

Habitat
Animated movies in which little kids are sweet and trusting.

Others Of His Species
Carl the old guy in Up. Frank Morgan in The Wizard of Oz.

THE WOODY
Characteristics
Neurotic, Woody Allen-ish mannerisms, like those of Josh Brolin in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, earnestly adopted by handsome actors.

Habitat
Woody Allen movies. Also, curdled Neil LaBute comedies.

Others Of His Species
Ben Stiller in the entirety of his oeuvre. Colin Farrell in In Bruges.

THE JACKASS
Characteristics
Willingness to court broken bones and other bodily harm, like Johnny Knoxville in Jackass 3D, in service of demented male slapstick.

Habitat
Road-trip comedies, drug-trip comedies, Three Stooges comedies, Farrelly brothers comedies.

Others Of His Species
Jackie Chan, Jim Carrey, Chevy Chase, Leslie Nielsen.

Due Date

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  • Movie
mpaa
director
  • Todd Phillips

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