A good duo is one of the most difficult things to sustain in any movie. You’ve to manage to find two characters that play well off of each other while at the same time standing out on their own. Both characters have to be memorable enough that they aren’t simply absorbed into the mix, yet still able to work with the other in a way that makes them more memorable when together. With that being said, here are my Top 5.
Movie Duo #5: Woody and Buzz – Toy Story
The backbone behind one of Pixar’s most beloved movies, Woody and Buzz were a new take on a classic paradigm country vs. city. Woody the old cowboy who’s a staple of his world and the traditions there in makes the perfect foil to Buzz Lightyear the astronaut/cop that’s the new hot toy this year. Woody’s knowing snark plays perfectly off of Buzz’s ignorance of the fact that he’s just a toy. At the end however, they finally become friends and hence a new chapter to their duo begins.
Moive Duo #4: Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker – Rush Hour
Both of these actors have large film lists behind them and both in different fields. Chris Tucker a known comedic actor of the Chris Rock school of acting and Jackie Chan is one of the biggest names in martial arts movies. This is an example of two different styles of acting coming together to mest perfectly. Chris Tucker’s loud and in your face style of comedy provide the perfect counter point to Jackie Chan’s stoic faced physical humor. While at the same time Jackie Chan’s fast paced and professional Kung Fu are underscored by Chris Tucker’s Indiana Jones type fighting style of just making it up as you go. Also, who can forget the famous line, ‘Do you understand the words that’re coming out of my mouth”.
Movie Duo #3: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence – Bad Boys
One of most audiences’ go-to-action movies and one that has been referenced in countless other films, Bad Boys stands out as a film that not only manages to deliver a massive amount of action but also interesting characters. Will Smith, who’s variation of roles and talent speak for themselves, play perfectly with Martin Lawrence and his talents as an actor of several syndicated shows. Both play the young impulsive detective roles well while their contrasting lifestyles create a beautiful counter point for them to play against each other leading to an amazing mix of comedy and action fueled by both situations and the actors themselves. The bond they have as partners and as friends is something really awesome to see.
Movie Duo #2: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd – Back to the Future
Famed as one of the most successful time travel series of all time next to Doctor Who the stars of the Movie Fox and Lloyd play Marty McFly and Doc Brown the young underachiever and the crazy old scientist roles perfectly. The give and take between Marty struggling to come to grips with their situation while Brown mentally races ahead to see the different possibilities creates some truly memorable moments. These two played well enough to merit several sequels as well as earning a place as cultural references for years to come.
Movie Duo #1: Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn – Wedding Crashers and The Internship
These two are comedy gold together. In both movies these two work and play well with each other. Vince Vaughn as the straight faced line man who’s charm and wit make it impossible not to find him funny. And Owen Wilson, who’s physical comedy and sardonic wit always seem to provide the perfect counter point to their situations. The two play very dynamic roles. In Wedding Crashers, successful businessmen who scam their way into bed with women using the emotional vulnerability of someone else’s wedding. And as down on their luck salesmen who manage an internship at one of the biggest technology firms in the world in The Internship. Both of these actors bring a lot of heart to the roles they play and it shows. They manage to bring the moral of the stories without making it seem heavy handed. While still managing to keep the films light, even when what’s happening on screen is emotionally charged.
The art of the movie duo is a difficult thing to pull off, but when done well both parties bring something to the mix that highlights what the other is good at while being highlighted in turn. They create interactions that hadn’t been thought of before. This leads to works that stick in the mind and become cherished memories not just for the person watching but for the actors and actresses themselves. It makes audiences want to see not just more of them but also lets them see things through multiple points of view. Which only enhances the story as a whole.