back to article Will Ferrell is Hollywood's most over-rated overpaid star

Will Ferrell has landed Forbes' "Most Overpaid Star" honour, topping a list of names who sometimes "cost more than their box office worth". Ferrell's elevation to fiscal fame and shame is partly as a result of this summer's Land of the Lost crash and burn, which saw the movie cost $100m and recoup just $65m at the box office. …


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  1. Haku

    Is he funny?

    Does anyone actually laugh to his sense of humour? I'm struggling to understand why people like the "look I just told a joke, you must laugh now" type of humour where they practically dictate the 'joke' to you.

    Although I find his sense of humour somewhat grating, when he's not trying to be funny he can actually act very well as I did enjoy the film Stranger Than Fiction.

  2. Mike Moyle
    Thumb Down

    Be fair...!

    How about a similar study of most overpaid writer/director, etc.

    I mean, if Samuel L. Jackson is going to get tarred with the "overpaid" brush because he was in a dead-toad-sucking bomb like "Frank Miller's 'The Spirit'", doesn't Miller deserve to share the award?

  3. Havin_it
    Thumb Down

    Two oxymorons back-to-back!

    "Transformers thesp" / "thesp Shia LaBoeuf". You must be smoking the good stuff.

    Seriously, this list is toilet paper. Dunno about anyone else, but I went to see Trannies *despite* that ADHD little wankstain, not because of him. I went to see it because I wanted to see big robots beating each other up and destroying major metropolitan landmarks; any human involvement in such proceedings is every bit as much of a peripheral annoyance and unwelcome distraction as it was in the original toons. The effects team are the ones who earned my money on that one.

    If that odious one-trick [shouting and looking hunted - okay, maybe that's 2] pony ever makes me enjoy a film as much as Ferrell and his tremendous supporting cast made me enjoy Anchorman, I'll be flabbergasted. Particularly due to how unlikely I now am to have actually sat through anything involving him.

    Not denying Ferrell has made some turkeys, btw. Any actor is only as good as their material and everything else that goes into a film, which is exactly why this list is such crap.

  4. Martin 6 Silver badge

    @Be fair..

    Directors don't get paid much unless they are sure fire blockbuster products.

    And I don't think they pay writers at all.

    Interesting that even the worst actor still has an ROI that would be a dream for anybody investing in real industry.

  5. ThomasF
    Big Brother

    Leave Frank The Tank Alone

    Just for the part in that movie (Old School) alone he is a "Movie Star". As to being Over Paid Over Laid and Over There. I saw him get blown away in an TV episode of "The Guardian" Which shows he can act when he wants to.

    Is Woody ( the child taker) Allan on the list?

  6. Graham Bartlett


    To be fair to Ewan McGregor, since he was in the Star Wars films he's mostly done low-budget arthouse stuff, which is never likely to take megabucks. And he's mostly done good work, regardless of the dollar take.

    It's a bit different from Will Ferrell, whose films are aimed square at the mass market, particularly the teen audience. But even a mass teen audience jaded from High School Musical and Hannah Montana is smart enough to see that Will Ferrell sucks. The mystery is not that his films don't make much profit, but that anyone goes to see them at all.

  7. Sampler

    Well I for one

    Can't stand the schmuck - don't know who he's blowing for these movies but his knees must be sore.

    Hopefully that'll be him off my tellybox

  8. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    at last, it's official

    Not that I care that much whether or not I'm in agreement with the "official narrative" or anything, but it sure is nice to know that I'm not the only one who just isn't into Will Ferrell. Not only is he just not that funny, but he's always annoyed the shit out of me somehow. He's one of the reasons I gave up on SNL long ago; he's like a cut-rate Chevy Chase imitation.

    I don't know how this guy got to be such a big star; he's like those other "stars" who just don't have anything going on, and are often flat-out annoying, but which the networks and studios insist on trying to shove down our throats -- like Reese Witherspoon, or Ben Affleck, or the entire cast of "Friends" -- they're dismal, they're boring, they're annoying, they're forgettable, but they're frickin' _everywhere_.

  9. Mike Flugennock

    @Mike Moyle, re: Samuel L. Jackson

    Actually, Samuel L. Jackson was excellent in "Pulp Fiction". Granted, "Snakes On A Plane" was an epic FAIL, but I can't really blame Jackson for that.

    But, still...for most overrated/overpaid director, it's got to be Michael Bay, hands down -- with George Lucas running a respectable second place.

  10. Mike Flugennock

    @Haku, 19th November 2009 16:47 GMT

    Actually, that's long been a big problem with American comedy. It's always seemed a bit boorish and crass compared to British comedy (spoken while kneeling at my altar to Monty Python). Being American, I grew up with the likes of Ernie Kovacs, Jackie Gleason, Green Acres, Gilligan's Island and the like. The first time I saw Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, it was like the scales fell from my eyes, seeing what really good comedy should be, and I just couldn't stand to watch American comedy much after that.

    Of course, we do have the Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks, and the first six seasons of SNL, but they're the exceptions that prove the rule.

  11. transientcylon

    Anchorman was when it went downhill

    His style of humor can only be endured for so long. I hated Anchorman, nothing but a bunch of overpaid celebrities acting like idiots with hardly any plot or good jokes. I'd rather watch a Godzilla movie in all honesty.

  12. Kevin 6

    Will Ferrell...

    I'll be honest I I would never pay 1 penny to see anything he is in, watch it for free, or even if someone paid me for that matter I wouldn't watch the drivel he puts out. I find his "jokes" (if you can call them that) to be so stupid and have never laughed once when he was on Saturday Night Live (I actually stopped watching the show due to him alone and never watched it since). And most of the people I know feel the same way about him.

  13. JShel

    @ is he funny

    Unfortunately, that type of humor is very American. Over here many of the people need to be told what to feel or think, so they can fit in as a regular guy. Saddest comment I ever heard was from someone at a party saying that she liked the laugh track on sit-coms because then she knew when to laugh. Really.. someone did say that.

    It is also why you will always export plenty of comedies here, because the rest of us (or should that be U.S.) enjoy laughs from a clever set-up, or witty banter, which more a staple of the Brit comedies.

  14. theSensibleGeek

    @ Mike Moyle

    To be fair, the methods describe that they used each actor's last THREE films. If all of an actor's last 3 films sucked, it's either that actor's fault, or they really ought to be more selective of which roles they opt to take on...

  15. Steve Sutton


    Nope, he's not funny, and this research is just another no-shit-sherlock moment

  16. MacRat


    "Does anyone actually laugh to his sense of humour?"


  17. Anonymous Coward

    Not funny?

    No one remembers Anchorman? Talladega Nights? Old School?

    OK, American humour might not quite be in the same bracket as our beloved Monty Python or even like modern offerings from Simon Pegg but the above films made me laugh like a girl.

    "Yes, and there was a man on fire and I think Brick killed someone with a trident..."

    If you ask me Adam Sandler should be at the top of this list based on nothing more scientific than me thinking he's a boring formulaic slabbering arsehole. All his films follow the same routine:

    Adam appears.

    Adam is a little 'special' in one form or another.

    The whole world conspires against Adam for something.

    Adam meets a girl who likes him and can see past the badly scripted retardation.

    Adam shouts a lot and maybe sings.

    Adam get the girl and he and all his friend from every other film he's ever done ride off into the sunset.


    (Beerfest and Super Troopers are also highly recommended)

  18. Youngone Silver badge


    I liked this bit: "We then looked at each movie's estimated budget (not including marketing costs, which are susceptible to accounting chicanery),

    The whole industry is susceptible to that. Ever heard the term "Hollywood Accounting" I don't believe a word of it.

  19. Unlimited

    Plot and Previews

    Yes. I never make my viewing decisions based on the previews, reviews and synopsis of the plot. I only ever decide to go to a movie / or buy a dvd based on who is in it. Shia LaBeouf is a lock. Shia LaBeouf is in it? I'm there! Where do I sign up in advance for the special collectors edition DVD? Take my money away!

  20. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Sounds fair to me

    Will Ferrell makes me vomit blood.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His movies maybe crap but..

    Anyone who's seen Will Ferrel's Saturday Night Live performances or his G.W. Bush impressions would know the man for a genius.

    During the Bush vs Gore election, Will Ferrel's depiction of an incompetent Bush turning the US into an Escape from New York style wasteland was one of the funniest sketches I've ever seen. The only downside was how close to reality the prediction was.

    SNL has done some brilliant parodies of Bush Snr, Palin, Joe Biden, Obama and Gore, but Ferrell's Bill Clinton and Dubbya are masterpieces.

    If you still doubt me, take a look at his James Lipton sketches or the classic Blue Oyster Cult as they recorded Don't Fear the Reaper.. "I have a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.."

  22. Will Ferell

    Screw you all

    It's not as easy as it looks.

  23. windywoo
    Paris Hilton

    Stranger than Fiction

    Melinda and Melinda. Two movies off the top of my head where Will Ferrell has played it relatively straight and turned in good performance. Neither of those particularly set the box office on fire, but if Transformers 2 is the yardstick by which success is measured, who really gives a shit about Box Office takings? A movie for monkeys made by one of the biggest apes in Hollywood. His movies have all the subtlety of a lobotomy without anaesthetic. His cinematic skills are those of a porn director.

  24. Goat Jam

    The future is Pixar

    The sooner Hollywood does away with its ludicrous star system the better. Generally speaking, the more "star studded" a movie it is, the crappier it will be. Some of the best movies out there are made by producers/directors who eschew the "big name lure" for simply casting a competent actor who does charge outrageous amounts.

    Even "Troy" might have been OK without Brad Pitt stinkin' up the joint just to make the film more attractive to the "female demographic".

  25. Adam Williamson 1

    Mike Flugennock

    You're falling into a bit of a trap, there.

    Americans think British comedy is good because they see _all_ American comedy but only _good_ British comedy (because American networks only buy shows that have already succeeded - really, really succeeded - in Britain).

    Many Britons think American comedy is good for the same reason. They got The Simpsons and Family Guy and Curb Your Enthusiasm and, yes, Friends (sure it's a high-gloss American sitcom, but it's a *good* high-gloss American sitcom). They never got Reba or Brothers or Over To You.

    Americans don't get the shit British comedies. If you were forced to watch the last decade worth of ITV bombs your opinion of British comedy would instantly be revised to a more realistic level.

    I've lived in both the U.K. and North America (I live in Canada, but we get all the U.S. TV...) and really, TV's pretty similar everywhere. There's quite a lot of good shows and metric tons of shite, in both places.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The world loves a negative

    No one cares who the top 10 are at the other end of the spectrum. We like to look at failures and laugh at them.

    Then again I'm guessing the likes of Russel Brand have been left out as they haven't made enough films to qualify

  27. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    @ Goat Jam

    "Even "Troy" might have been OK without Brad Pitt stinkin' up the joint just to make the film more attractive to the "female demographic".

    Really - it wouldn't. Pitts made it worse, but there is no way that the film could have been anywhere near "OK" without a complete re-write. Maybe something approaching the original story (y'know, the one by Homer?). Little things like making Patroclus Achilles' cousin to make the film acceptable to middle America? Look, I'm not asking for Brokeback Mountain here, but FFS, that was an essential part of the original story!

  28. Mike Flugennock

    @Adam Williamson, 20th November 2009 07:02 GMT

    Point well taken.

    Along with Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and Red Dwarf, we've also gotten something called "Are You Being Served", which is more along the lines of a traditional sitcom, though it still has a lot of the kinds of situations you'd never see attempted in American sitcoms (ironically, one of my favorite Monty Python sketches is a parody of American sitcoms circa late '60s/early '70s, the infamous "Attila The Hun Show").

    We also get Benny Hill over here of course, which is pretty much the antithesis of Python, but which I found myself enjoying very much in spite of myself.

    Comedy Central carried The League of Gentlemen for a bit back in the late '90s; I thought they were absolutely pants-pissing funny, and thought for sure they'd be the next Python -- and then they were gone. Damn, were they good. Having had to go on unemployment for a while about ten years or so ago, I totally dug their "Job Centre" sketch.

    We're also getting Top Gear over here now, thanks to the BBC America channel on our satellite, but I'm not sure if that really counts as comedy.

    I know a lot of you guys rag on Rick Gervaise over there, but I thought the British version of The Office was absolutely frickin' brilliant. Gervaise as the Boss was devestating; he reminded me of the Boss in the BOFH stories. The American version is feeble by comparison; it just doesn't have the same edge to it. (This is why I can't see why people over here think Norman Lear is so great; everything of his that got any notice was stolen from the British and watered down)

    That said, I don't doubt there's a lot of crap on TV over there; I've often heard British Reg readers mentioning a woman named Catherine Tate in terms of disparagement, often in the same breath with the catch phrase, "Am I Bovvered?"

    Pint of lager icon, because -- if I'm counting forward from Eastern Standard correctly -- it's getting to be lunchtime in London right about now.

  29. Mike Moyle

    Re: Re: Be fair...

    @theSensibleGeek; -- Well, "The Spirit" was three-movies-worth of bad -- does that count?

    @Mike Flugennock -- I'm not blaming Jackson for the suckishnes of The Spirit -- I generally like his work. I just think that it's unfair for him to get slagged off for not being enough to draw people in to see that abomination. There's only so much that one man can do, after all!

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