Nice Guy Typecasting: Other Than His Role in ‘Bridesmaids,’ I’ve Never Really Seen Actor Chris O’Dowd Play a “Nice Guy.”
Most of the following originally appeared in an assessment of actor Chris O’Dowd’s movie career I wrote in 2016, but that post was getting way too long, so I’m breaking that content off and placing it here.
This post updated in December 2018.
I enjoyed O’Dowd’s turn as Nathan Rhodes in 2011’s ‘Bridesmaids’ film (I saw it for the first time on cable television in 2015).
I have no desire to watch O’Dowd’s performances in other movies as a sexist jerk who makes rape jokes or who abuses animals (but I have unfortunately seen a few of his other movies).
O’Dowd was asked in an interview (that I linked to in a previous post on this blog) about playing jerks in movies after having played the nice guy cop in ‘Bridesmaids.’
The interviewer said O’Dowd laughed about it and made fun of women who liked that Rhodes character by saying something like women viewers wouldn’t like him anymore, not after they saw any of the creeps he was going to play for several movies in a row after ‘Bridesmaids.’
How dense and unappreciative of O’Dowd.
I really think O’Dowd squandered the good will he earned with a female fan base from ‘Bridesmaids’ by going on to play perverts, cads, and jerks in post-‘Bridesmaids’ movies.
O’Dowd’s real life actions, comments, and his behavior on Twitter also turned me off to this guy or following his career, something I explained in this post.
Many reviews keep referring to O’Dowd as a nice guy in real life (no, he’s really not that nice in real life), and they keep saying he continually plays nice guys in movies – again, wrong. He’s actually played more jerks than “nice guys.”
NICE GUY TYPECASTING
Other than ‘Bridesmaids,’ I’ve never really seen O’Dowd play a “nice guy.”
O’Dowd’s character from ‘Thor: Dark World’ (I can’t even remember the character’s name without Googling it) was somewhat nice, I suppose, but that character was on screen so briefly and was so un-defined that he came across as more bland than ‘nice.’
The same can be said for O’Dowd’s role of “Alex” from the horrible and depressing ‘Friends With Kids’ atheist- propaganda- masquerading- as- a- rom- com. He was more bland and un-defined in that film than he was “nice.”
O’Dowd was in some movie some time around 2014 or so where he played a butcher who was married to a woman who kept having affairs on his character. The movie’s main character was a priest. From what I read of reviews of that film (the title of which escapes me), his character was a jerk, angry, and hostile – not the definition of “nice guy.”
So really, other than the cop in Bridesmaids, he’s not had a string of “nice guy” roles, so I’m puzzled that the Madison Movie reviewer, as mentioned in this previous post, or other reviewers think O’Dowd has this long movie resume’ consisting of “Nice Guy” parts. He doesn’t.
It’s just that his depiction of the Nice Cop from ‘Bridesmaids’ was such a stand-out performance (in that he was pretty convincing as being really that nice in that role) that people tend to associate him with that movie and think of him in terms of “nice guy.” (I know I did, and I think that turned out to be a mistake.)
And other than ‘Bridesmaids,’ and maybe ‘Thor 2,’ I don’t think his other movies have been widely viewed. Most people have probably either seen him in ‘Bridesmaids,’ or ‘Thor: Dark World,’ and British audiences would know him from “The IT Crowd.”
I doubt large numbers of Americans saw him in films such as “The Sapphires” or “This Is 40.”
Another point to the writer of the Madison Movie review: if you loved the Rhodes character from ‘Bridesmaids,’ like I did, you’re not going to find it “hilarious” to see “Rhodes” making obscene jokes or acting sexist and using phrases such as “premature ejaculation.” Sorry, but no.
Jerk Guy Typecasting – December 2018 Edit
I just read some movie reviews today for a movie O’Dowd was in called “Love After Love.” I believe this movie was released to theaters in 2018.
In this film, according to reviewers, O’Dowd’s character, Nicholas, is (and I am quoting from one review I saw), an “unrepentant prick.”
Furthermore, many reviewers said O’Dowd’s character is so verbally abusive to people, so selfish and mean-spirited in this particular film, they felt uncomfortable watching him and had no empathy for his character, and one or two film critics said they felt relieved when the movie ended, so that they wouldn’t have to watch O’Dowd’s character for one more minute.
Reviewers also said there was a “quasi-incestuous vibe” going on between O’Dowd’s Nicholas character and Nicholas’ mother.
You can read more about that “Love After Love” movie and the O’Dowd character in this post on my blog, under the “Love After Love” heading.
In yet other films, O’Dowd has played a jerk to a chubby co-worker, tried to rape a woman character in that same movie – according to one commentator, (that was in “Cuban Fury”) – and in a horribly titled “Frankie Go Boom,” O’Dowd, if I recall correctly, plays a drug-addicted son who allows his family’s pet pig to drown, and he is constantly bullying his adult kid brother in the movie.
In “Miss Peregrine’s” movie, O’Dowd plays an indifferent, selfish father.
You can read more about these other jerks O’Dowd has played by visiting this other post on this blog.
In light of the fact that O’Dowd has played a bullying, cruel, verbally abusive jerk in 3, 4, or 5 films by this stage (as of December 2018), why on earth do so many people, and entertainment reporters, keep talking about his “nice guy typecasting?”
By this stage, O’Dowd has played far more jack-holes and unlikable douche bags than he has good guys, so please, movie critics, journalists, and talking heads in the media, stop referring to his movie roles as “nice guys.” The nice cop in “Bridesmaids” is the only nice guy he’s ever really played to this point.
I wish actors wouldn’t knock type-casting.
I sometimes read about actors getting bored playing the same type of character over and over, but if it’s something the public would prefer to see you do, and you’re good at it, then go for it. Keep doing it.
Actress Marilyn Monroe got tired of movie critics and the public viewing her as a funny, ditzy blond, and they did so because she usually played ditzy women in her comedies.
Towards the end of Monroe’s life, she became even more serious about acting and took acting classes.
Monroe wanted to take on more serious roles and started turning down scripts she felt beneath her. She wanted to ditch comedy and do drama.
Here’s the thing, though – Monroe EXCELLED at playing sweet, funny, ditzy women.
She was talented at it, and very watchable. The public loved her when she was in her “Marilyn” character in movies.
I don’t think Monroe appreciated how very good she was at playing the daffy women she did. And that was what the public wanted to see her as, at least publicly – and there’s really nothing wrong with that.
Monroe may have felt the public or the critics didn’t appreciate her as she truly was, or that she could play serious parts, but you know, I don’t think she appreciated how funny she could be. She seemed to take her talent at comedy for granted.
I’d say some of this holds true for O’Dowd.
I cannot figure out how someone who is capable of playing such a sweet, unassuming character such as Rhodes from ‘Bridesmaids’ feels compelled, or driven, to play sexist, smarmy, or obscene characters in other movies.
As much as I like actress Marilyn Monroe, I would have had no desire to see her go against her type (sweet, funny, ditzy blond) and play serious parts.
I suspect there are a lot of women such as myself who would prefer to see O’Dowd continue on in similar roles as the Nathan Rhodes character.
By playing these trash-talking, sleazy, sexist characters in other movies, O’Dowd has rather sullied the Rhodes character for me, and Rhodes was probably one of my favorite aspects of the ‘Bridesmaids’ film.
Among other things (which I may post about later – here is one other post – and here is the other post), O’Dowd’s willingness to play creeps and jerks in other movies also makes me wonder if he’s not as nice in real life as the guy he was playing on the screen in ‘Bridesmaids’.
O’Dowd should stick to playing friendly, genuine, considerate, non-vulgar characters. -Especially if he hopes to attract or keep any kind of female fan base among movie goers. But I think O’Dowd has already blown that.
I surmise in another post that I don’t think O’Dowd keeps playing deviants and perverts because he has no choice because he needs the paycheck.
There has to be something else going on, but lack of money can’t be one of the reasons he’s so terrible at picking decent film roles.