Dynamic duos (and a trio or two)
In the 20 years since Will Ferrell headlined his first movie (A Night at the Roxbury), he has teamed up with Oscar winners, action stars, and the biggest names in comedy. Now, with the Dec. 25 release of Holmes & Watson, the Saturday Night Live alum is returning to one of his most successful partnerships, and the onscreen reunion of Ferrell and John C. Reilly made it the perfect time to rank Ferrell’s film pairings. To set the rules ahead of time, don’t expect to see Anchorman or Elf on the list, since we only considered projects that weren’t solely built around Ferrell.
Honorable mention: Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson and/or Ben Stiller
This trio doesn’t officially make the list because their multiple appearances together have either been in brief cameos (Starsky & Hutch, Wedding Crashers) or the Zoolander franchise, which is more of a Wilson-Stiller team-up.
15. Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman in Bewitched (2005)
For their re-imagining of the classic television show, Kidman and Ferrell won the Razzie for Worst Screen Couple, and the distinction was well earned. Here’s a brief glimpse at their tepid rapport: “I’m a witch,” Kidman confesses, to which Ferrell responds, “Guess what? I’m a Clippers fan.” If only they’d cast a spell for better chemistry!
14. Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson in Semi-Pro (2008)
Ferrell and Harrelson are far from a slam-dunk together in this throwback basketball comedy. While the performances are fine, there’s not one standout scene between the two stars.
13. Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall in Kicking & Screaming (2005)
Hot take: Ferrell and Mike Ditka were the better duo in the first of Ferrell’s four sports comedies.
12. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis in The Campaign (2012)
Pairing these two comedy stars was a no-brainer, and there are some ridiculous laughs to be had (Ferrell punching a baby!) — but not enough, considering the pedigrees of Ferrell and Galifianakis.
11. Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart in Get Hard (2015)
Another match of two of Hollywood’s biggest comedic stars that resulted in disappointment. Again, some outrageous gags slightly help raise the material and chemistry.
10. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in Daddy's Home (2015)
After proving to be surprisingly great comedy partners in The Other Guys (still to come on the list), Wahlberg and Ferrell reunited in Daddy’s Home but failed to deliver equally hilarious results. And yet, Ferrell still seems to get the best out of Wahlberg in a comedic setting.
9. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
The third collaboration between Ferrell and Wahlberg improved on Daddy’s Home by making the characters friends instead of rivals, providing them with common enemies (Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as their dads) and better banter.
8. Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon in Superstar (1999)
A year after playing love interests in A Night at the Roxbury, the SNL castmates ran it back in this film based on one of Shannon’s signature characters, Mary Katherine Gallagher, from the sketch series. Unlike the rest of the films on this list, Ferrell is the clear No. 2 here, with Shannon taking the spotlight. Their screen time together is split between Ferrell as popular high-schooler Sky Carrigan and Ferrell as Jesus. If we’re ranking the film’s chemistry, it would go (3) Mary and Sky, (2) Mary and Jesus, (1) Mary and the tree she makes out with.
7. Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn in Old School (2003)
The sole trio on the list is only down this far because we needed more of them together. Any time Ferrell, Vaughn, and Wilson are all on screen, it’s dynamite — but unfortunately a lot of their stuff is either separate or with just two of them. Ferrell and Vaughn’s interactions are especially good, so much so that we’re still waiting for them to reunite for a new movie.
6. Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)
It still gets the people going. Ferrell carries most of the comedic weight in this partnership while getting to play the bad boy, which was a nice change of pace that led to great back-and-forth between him and Heder.
5. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in The House (2017)
In one of the few times Ferrell has been paired with a female lead on his own comedic level, he and Poehler proved to be a winning combo, whether they were smothering parents, intimidating debt collectors, ruthless casino managers, or panicked setters of Jeremy Renner on fire. Plus, The House has the crucial endorsement from noted film reviewer Chance the Rapper.
4. Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan in A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
So I’m sitting there waiting to watch a movie. And these guys who were on the screen turn around and hilariously bob their heads like this. And who do you think those guys were? Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan. The Saturday Night Live men, I swear to God, I was like, “Will and Chris!”
3. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys (2010)
Who knew Wahlberg had this in him? The action star had shown small comedic flashes, but Ferrell and director Adam McKay let this peacock fly and unleashed a hilarious side of Wahlberg that had yet to be seen. He’s especially great at being annoyed and disgusted at Ferrell, who is equally great at annoying him. They somehow even managed to make us forget how funny Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson were in the film’s opening moments.
2. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Well, I hope they’ll settle for second. In their first film together, Ferrell and Reilly shaked and baked their way to an iconic comedy pairing, going together like cocaine and waffles.
1. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers (2008)
The only duo that could top Ferrell and Reilly is Ferrell and Reilly. Once again teaming up with director Adam McKay, Ferrell and Reilly went from rivals to best friends as they memorably fought on the lawn, built a dangerous makeshift bunk bed, sat down for dual interviews, and sang together at the f‑‑‑ing Catalina Wine Mixer.