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The Ben Stiller Bio

The Ben Stiller Review – MovieActors.com

by Nate Lee

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BEST FILMS:

The Royal Tenenbaums

He can do more than the simple-minded neurotics and this proves it. Here he is a complex, intelligent and, of course, angry neurotic, and an integral part of a terrific film.

There's Something About Mary

The one that started it all. We can be thankful that Ben Stiller begged the Farrelly Brothers for the chance to do this role, and they gave it to him: and it launched a career of such roles.
Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Tropic Thunder (Tugg Speedman, an action star with a declining career)
Keeping the Faith (a rabbi, opposite Edward Norton's priest)
Dodgeball (narcissistic villain opposite Vince Vaughn)
Reality Bites (workaholic showbiz exec)
Flirting with Disaster (so good they're remaking it only 11 years later)
Zero Effect (assistant to Bill Pullman as a brilliant but paranoid detective)
Your Friends and Neighbors
The Heartbreak Kid (hilarious Farrelly Bros. remake of the Neil Simon/Charles Grodin classic)
Blockbusters:
Dodgeball (the bad guy)
Zoolander (the good guy and model citizen)
Mystery Men (not a super-hero)
Not Quite Complete (But Still Funny) Losers:
There's Something About Mary (unworthy of Cameron Diaz and knows it)
Meet the Parents (De Niro just makes him nervous; we can understand that)
Meet the Fockers (closer to home, he becomes more of a loser)
Night at the Museum (loser who takes a night watchman job)
Along Came Polly (unworthy of Jennifer Aniston)
The Heartbreak Kid
Great Directing, Too:
Reality Bites (great performances from Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke)
The Cable Guy (well done, though Carrey wasn't right for the lead)
Zoolander
The Real Ben Stiller:
Pick any of the not quite complete losers

It's a tough one. Ben hides behind a lot of characters, but the neurotic self-loathing is certainly not far from the surface. He also seems more adept at getting over obstacles, but who knows? There may be plenty of ones he's put in his own way.
Acting Style:
Generation X's answer to Woody Allen. Only Ben is not a quiet neurotic loser, he's often a loud, complaining, obnoxious, angry neurotic loser. Still very, very, funny, though. And his acting is smart and much more precise than his fellow Frat Packers. Like his pal Will Ferrell, Ben has a stable of characters that he has created and a few real-life characters that he impersonates, all with great attention to detail.

The Hollywood child – of Stiller and Meara fame – is savvy about the biz, so it won't take him long to realize that his complete loser characters aren't making as much money as his just neurotic super-sensitive roles. Then, we'll see more interesting work along the lines of "Meet the Parents" and "The Heartbreak Kid."
Bits and Quirks:
Great anger. The hunched-over stare where his thick brows almost become one. The instant explosion from pent-up frustration. The point mixed with holding the brow. A variety of sad faces, too, mostly with the furrowed brow. The funny walk with his arms out too far from his body. Watch the clever imitation of him by his supposed son in "Meet the Fockers" to see all of them together.
If you like Ben Stiller You probably didn't like:
Permanent Midnight (even though it's a quality film and he does a great job in it, it's just too far afield from the genre he's created for himself)
Hot Pursuit (with his dad)
That's Adequate (the title almost says it all, again with the family)
Highway to Hell (now we know why he doesn't work with Stiller and Meara anymore)
Fresh Horses (earlier in his career, he was not the best at choosing movies)
Envy (even paired with Jack Black, it was a deadly sin)
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Great Scenes:
There's Something About Mary

> Getting his penis stuck in his zipper
> Fighting with the dog
> Crying when he thinks he's lost Mary.

Dodgeball

> The final scene after the credits where he returns to his original "form"
> The final competition stand-off with Vince Vaughn
> Purposely burning himself with the food.

Meet the Parents

> Terrific mining of the comic potential of embarrassment throughout
> The dinner table discussion on milking animals
> Spilling the urn of ashes
> Backing up the septic tank
> The lie-detector test with De Niro.

Meet the Fockers

> Teaching the baby a bad word
> the speech after De Niro's drugs him with sodium pentothal.

Zoolander

> The fashion show where he is programmed to kill.

Night at the Museum

> Fighting with the monkey
> The original discovery that everything comes alive.

The Heartbreak Kid

> Driving down to Mexico with his new bride
> Trying to get back over the border repeatedly
> Sneaking into his beloved's house.
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