The Six Best Anna Faris Scenes, In Movies Ranging From Great to Unwatchable

The best work from our favorite star of terrible comedies.

By Andrew Osborne

Despite some questionable career choices, Anna Faris may wind up following in the A-list footsteps of Cameron Diaz (the very actress she parodied in Lost In Translation with such dead-on, guilt-inducing precision). Why? Because the goofy blonde star of this week's rom-com What's My Number? has great moments in great movies, and even when the movies are bad, she's still pretty great in them. Consider the evidence:

 

1. Cindy's explosive sex in Scary Movie (2000)

After watching Faris blasted to the ceiling by a geyser of man jam in Scary Movie, your first thought probably wasn't, "Now there's a promising talent." On the other hand, by pushing the gross-out envelope way beyond Cameron Diaz's "hair gel" scene in There's Something About Mary, Faris proved she was pretty much game for anything. She also established herself as "one of the guys" in comedy's boys' club (long before Bridesmaids helped to cement equal-opportunity raunch in the mainstream). Dumb as the Scary Movie franchise was, Faris always managed to rise above her surroundings.

 

2. Kelly's annoying karaoke in Lost In Translation (2003)

A supporting role in Sofia Coppola's critically-acclaimed blockbuster gave Faris both indie cred and mainstream respectability. As a Diaz-type movie star in Tokyo, the actress hinted at a range beyond the dopey persona of Scary Movie. Her deliberately unlikable Lost In Translation character is no rocket scientist, but she's bright, sparkly, and aggressively charismatic. Yet the harder she works the "fun" in a hotel karaoke bar, the more we'd rather sneak off with the moody cool kids played by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. It's a complex performance delivered without vanity.

 

3. LaShawn's double date in Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Faris displayed her range again as LaShawn Malone, a chatty ranch wife stuck with a husband who wouldn't listen to her "if he was going deaf tomorrow." Nearly unrecognizable beneath her puffy bouffant and down-home accent, the actress doesn't play for laughs (despite the broadly drawn nature of the role). At the same time, she provides a welcome bit of levity in the midst of Ang Lee's earnest social drama, all while hinting at the frustration beneath her character's cheery façade.

 

4. Jane zones out in Smiley Face (2007)

While Faris has the chops for drama, she clearly feels most at home in off-kilter dark comedies like Gregg Araki's stoner classic, about a ne'er-do-well actress whose life spins out of control when she ingests a baker's dozen of pot-infused cupcakes. The comedienne brings likable conviction and deadpan insanity to the one-joke premise (she's sooo stoned!), even when she's just staring into space, marveling at the wonders of lasagna like a sexy Garfield.

 

5. Shelley soaps up a car in The House Bunny (2008)

And, yes, in addition to all her other virtues, Anna Faris is also sexy, even when when playing a character who uses a scary demon voice to help her remember things. Playing a "bunny out of water" in her first major bid for above-the-title stardom, the actress mines her own sexiness for laughs while soaping a car in this high-concept vehicle about a sheltered Playboy Playmate who winds up living with a group of nerdy sorority girls. Some starlets build whole careers out of tight bodies and hot-pink bikinis (c.f. Simpson, Jessica), but Faris has a way of simultaneously exploiting and subverting her own sex appeal.

 

6. Controversy mounts in Observe and Report (2009)

On the other hand, it's possible Faris may simply be too idiosyncratic for Diaz-style A-list status, and will have to "settle" for a career in offbeat projects like Observe and Report. In one much-discussed scene from that film, her drunk, apparently unconscious character is mounted by Seth Rogen's security guard; she then yells, "Why are you stopping, motherfucker?" when he pauses to consider if his behavior constitutes date rape. It's a morally queasy moment, and many criticized the film and Faris for appearing in it. What's Your Number? is much safer material. But if it bombs, and Faris winds up with a career of edgy indie fare rather than romantic comedies and CGI action spectaculars, would that really be such a bad thing?

 

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Commentarium (28 Comments)

Sep 29 11 - 12:19am
nope

Where's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? Funniest movie she was ever in.

Sep 29 11 - 1:20am
m-m-m

agreed

Sep 29 11 - 7:17pm
agreed

double agreed

Sep 30 11 - 9:47am
Moops

Steve!

Sep 29 11 - 12:30am
NuckingFuts

Observe and Report is a very overlooked and underrated movie.

Sep 29 11 - 11:03am
Ahhhh

She's so ridiculously talented. 75% of those movies would've been nothing without her. Definitely an underrated comic actress.

Sep 29 11 - 12:16pm
Jennifer

Sorry. Anna Faris does one performance, and slight variations off it.

Oct 02 11 - 7:45pm
blogger

No, you're thinking of Will Ferrel. And, on another note what about her sex monologue in Waiting. Awesome!

Oct 07 11 - 2:03am
Jennifer

Damn, you're right. Sooooo easy to confuse Will and Anna.

Sep 29 11 - 12:20pm
JL

I like her, but if my three-year-old asks to watch Yogi Bear one more time, I refuse to be held accountable for my actions.

Sep 29 11 - 12:40pm
fishstix

Seriously, how on earth did you miss her in 'Just Friends'...she was frickin' hilarious!
Go see it now!

Oct 06 11 - 4:51pm
dkm

Seriously, that was the best comedic performance of the year. And a great movie, to boot.

Sep 29 11 - 2:35pm
agreed

Holy shit! She stole the show show in 'Just Friends'. That should absolutely be on this list.

Oct 06 11 - 4:51pm
dkm

See above.

Sep 29 11 - 3:23pm
panajane

Triple agreed: Just Friends was hilarious, mostly because of her, although Ryan Whatshisname wasn't too bad in it either.

Oct 06 11 - 4:52pm
dkm

I keep agreeing.

Sep 29 11 - 3:34pm
Rutherford B. Hayes

May.

Oct 03 11 - 7:58pm
Jeff C

Seconded!

Oct 07 11 - 2:04am
dkm

Agreed! Again.

Nov 15 11 - 2:34am
Alvarex

Yep

Sep 30 11 - 7:16am
Rev

Love, love, LOVE Anna Faris! Funny and sexy, she my IT girl!

Oct 07 11 - 2:04am
dkm

Well, dammit, I just can't argue with dat!

Sep 30 11 - 9:47am
Moops

She is the expert at playing the hot clumsy chick (thanks to Mindy Kaling, I am now aware of this cliche....)

Oct 04 11 - 5:08am
Lawrence

What a huge forehead.

Oct 07 11 - 2:05am
dkm

Better than foreskin.

Oct 04 11 - 3:25pm
Weary

You're right about Brokeback Mountain, actually. That movie needed a bit of leavening right at about the time she showed up, and she did provide it

Oct 09 11 - 9:23pm
EH

How can you leave out Just Friends??? She was CLASSIC in that movie!!

Oct 10 11 - 11:22pm
Maggie McGuire

What, no May? Her friendly, predatory lesbian character was amazing!