Few movie stars have had a more unlikely rise than Seth Rogen. The Canadian actor has proven over his years as a mainstream star that he can be genuinely hilarious, but it turns out that he can also really act.
He’s taken on plenty of challenging roles over the course of his career, as well as some that really steer into the everyman qualities that make him so appealing. These movies showcase the full range Rogen is capable of, and are also five great movies worth checking out this October.
Rogen has always had incredibly solid chops as an actor, but he’s never gotten to flex them as much as he does in The Fabelmans. The film, which loosely chronicles Spielberg’s own adolescence, carefully tracks his mother as she slowly falls in love with his father’s best friend, who is portrayed by Rogen.
Rogen plays that role perfectly. He’s so lovable that you immediately understand why someone might fall in love with him, and Spielberg is eager to prove that this guy is not the villain, even though he split the director’s parents up.
Perhaps the prototypical Rogen movie, Knocked Up follows him as he is forced to grow up after a one-night stand turns into a longer-term commitment when the woman he hooked up with winds up pregnant. Knocked Up is about growing up, but it’s also about realizing that there are more important things in your life than your own happiness. It doesn’t hurt that the movie is also exceptionally funny.
Rogen proved definitively that he could carry a comedy here. He’s the perfect combination of hapless, stupid, and charming, and he’s one of the keys to the film’s success.
The most serious of all of Judd Apatow’s peak-era comedies, Funny People stars Adam Sandler as a hugely successful standup comedian who discovers that he’s been diagnosed with a fatal illness. That discovery leads him to mentor a younger comedian, played by Rogen, and the two of them begin to bond as they tour together.
Funny People is, like many Apatow movies, about discovering what’s truly important to you, and it was also one of Rogen’s first chances to take on a part that had elements of both comedy and drama. He and Sandler both pull the act off beautifully.
Sometimes, what you really want is a great comedy, and that’s exactly what Long Shot is. Telling the story of a secretary of state with presidential ambitions who hires a highly principled, left-leaning speech writer, the movie is way funnier than it has any right to be, and also manages to come across as mostly politically coherent.
Long Shot is not set in our universe, exactly, but it manages to be politically connected enough to not feel totally alien. More than anything, though, the movie comes down to the excellent chemistry between Charlize Theron and Rogen in the two lead roles, and they totally sell it.
Buoyed by a great cast and filled with great gags, Neighbors is probably one of the best comedies Rogen has ever been in. The premise is remarkably simple: What if a young family moved in next to a frat house, and many, many conflicts ensued from there. What makes the movie great, though, is just how much comedy it manages to wring out of every scenario.
Rogen, Sac Efron, Rose Byrne, and Dave Franco are all wonderful here, as is a sharp script that gives each of them plenty to do. Rogen is much more versatile than some give him credit for, but sometimes, it’s great to just watch him be funny.
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