4. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Nice enough, due largely in part to his utter cluelessness. But arm him with a triton, and things begin to get dicey for Brick Tamland.
5. Dan In Real Life (2007)
Dan Burns is just a sad sack just trying to get through the summer without acting on his obvious attraction to his brother’s girlfriend (Juliet Binoche). Yes, they may have broken up, and yes, his bro (Dane Cook) probably takes the prize for Biggest Jerk of All Jerks, but haven’t you heard of a two-week grace period?
6. Date Night (2010)
If Phil Foster isn’t considerate enough to invest in a reservation at a hip Manhattan restaurant, these two are going through more than just a rut in their marriage.
7. Get Smart (2008)
Maxwell Smart is an agent in limbo. His strong desire to climb the ranks and become a “real spy,” yet penchant for clumsiness, makes him a questionable coworker to get involved with in the first place (just ask 99).
8. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Cal Weaver is enough of a jerk to take his (hot) wife for granted and sip his beverage through a straw when in the presence of Ryan Gosling. After a makeover and series of important dating tips give him an ego boost, he commits the all too common crime of bedding a woman and never calling her again. Poor Marissa Tomei.
9. Bewitched (2005)
Uncle Arthur’s love of pranks and vendetta against Endora does little to endear him to viewers or make this messy adaption work.
10. Evan Almighty (2007)
Evan Baxter exhibits some positive change, moving away from his pretentious, obnoxious ways in Bruce Almighty, but we all know how terrible he can be.
11. Knocked Up (2007)
Playing himself, Carell never quite recovers from an initial misunderstanding during his very quick cameo. “Don’t be an asshole, Steve!” Katherine Heigl yells along the red carpet. Walking away from a pregnant woman? That’s cold.
12. Despicable Me (2010)
Gru may eventually develop a softer side, but the whole “super villain” title causes him to fall on the jerk side of this particular scale.
13. The Way Way Back (2013)
Trent is condescending, sarcastic, and arrogant. In addition to cheating on his loving girlfriend he calls her sweet son “a three,” which is just asking for loads of therapy bills down the road.
From our highly scientific findings, Carell is at his best when he goes all out–be it as the earnest sweetheart, or the dude you can’t wait to punch in the face. For the most part, playing understated, less-than-fully-realized characters doesn’t utilize his best strengths, or require what audience members seem to really want from him: waxing faces, suicide attempts, and beards.
[Photo Credit: DreamWorks SKG; Universal Pictures]