8 Milestones in the Evolution of Vince Vaughn

Return to Paradise (1998)

My God, this movie is depressing. For those who have forgotten, Vince Vaughn used to make films with plots that involved the threats of execution from a Malaysian drug bust. In Paradise, Vaughn must make the decision to return to Malaysia to face jail time in order to save the life of his friend (Joaquin Phoenix), who was arrested and faces execution. Not exactly Dodgeball. For five years, Vaughn would go on to make drama after drama including the now infamous scene-by-scene remake of Psycho.

Domestic Disturbance (2001)

The movie that ended Vince Vaughn's career -- at least the dramatic one. Vaughn stars opposite John Travolta (this, perhaps, should have been a red flag) as an evil stepfather (another red flag!) in the long-forgotten thriller. This was also the infamous film that had Vaughn involved in a bar fight with a local North Carolina man. If that local North Carolina man was yelling, "Why won't you do comedy? You'd be so much better at comedy!" as he traded blows with Vaughn, we all owe this man our gratitude.

Wedding Crashers (2005)

I got dumped right before I saw Wedding Crashers for the first time. I saw it three more times at the theater, not because it was just that good, but because Vince Vaughn was just so much fun to be around. The guy always looked like he was having the time of his life in this film. Expanding on the comedic work that he had already done in Old School and Dodgeball, he put everything together for this box office smash. The story of two pick-up artists who, of course, crash weddings grossed $285 million worldwide. Vaughn would re-team with director David Dobkin a few years later for the not-anywhere-near-as-good-successful Fred Claus.

The Break-Up (2006)

The problem with being one of the "It" comedy stars is that you are offered a lot of money to do a lot of crap, and Vaughn is no exception -- Couples Retreat, Four Christmases, and Fred Claus would all qualify. On the other hand, The Break-Up is a good example how Vaughn's dramatic side can enhance his comedic roles, bringing them more depth. Sure, The Break-Up has funny moments, but that's not what drives the film. For anyone who has ever had to co-habitate with an ex, The Break-Up doesn't shy away from the realities of the situation. This is almost a drama with some funny moments, and a lesser actor wouldn't have been able to convincingly pull that off. Though, not really the same type of film, the tone of The Break-Up is a similar one to what you will find with Vaughn in his new release, The Dilemma.

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  • Scraps says:

    Little known fact: The original plot to 'Return to Paradise' had the characters facing jail time for running a bootleg operation out of Malaysia selling laser disc transfers of the Star Wars movies on DVD.

  • Nathen says:

    They forgot about Vince Vaughn's incredible performance in A Cool Dry Place. Granted not a box office smash but a heck of an acting job by Vince.

  • Brian says:

    He's bankable? That's news to me. He was in a couple of big hits in 2005 and 2006 and he's been in a lot of misses since. It usually takes Hollywood five or six years to realize that an actor got lucky by being in hits, but didn't have anything to do with the success of the movies. I think Vaughn's time is almost up.

  • Dave M says:

    How is Old School not on this list? After Swingers, its probably the most important movie of his career. It brought him back to comedy and gave him his first hit in years.
    Without the success of Old School, Wedding Crashers never gets made.

  • MJS says:

    Note on Vince (Vincent) Vaughn's performance in "Rudy". He is not only "Prick VonAsshole", his character is Jamie O'Hare who at the end of the movie insists on an un-called for offensive play so that Rudy can get in the game. After throwing for an 'unnecessary' TD to put the game out of reach for the opposition, Vaughn's character, # 44 (O'Hare) runs up to # 45 (Ruettiger), and says: "That was for you." This allows Rudy to get on the field, the scorecard and get carried off the field into N.D. sports history. Prick VonAsshole, as Vince Vaughn so often went on to play, has a heart after all.