Fame is a tricky beast. Once everyone gets used to seeing your face everywhere, that newfound notoriety makes people forget your early work. It sucks for you because you want your audience to recognize the effort you’ve made to get where you are. The audience gets a treat from their forgetfulness however: DVD night at home becomes a game of, “He was in THIS?!”
If anyone out there hasn’t caught on yet, I’m talking about and to Seth Rogen. That dude is everywhere and it isn’t just because his new flick “Funny People” comes out today. For the past two years, it’s been hard to hit the theater and not see Rogen, in either a starring role or in one of his myriad co-starring roles and cameos. He’s been lurking about the silver screen for close to a decade, frequently in peculiar places. Here are five random Seth Rogen appearances in film. I guarantee you say “Seriously, he was in that?” at least once.
"You, Me, and Dupree"
It’s hard to divorce Seth Rogen from the warm and likable comedies that made him famous, particularly “Knocked Up.” That’s why it’s so strange to see him in a movie as off-putting and charmless as “You, Me, and Dupree”. Not only that, but the usual slacker charm of Rogen’s popular identity is missing from the fratboy proxy Neil that he plays. Watching him try and empathize with newlywed Matt Dillon is almost unsettling. Though not nearly as unsettling as the next pick...
Rogen’s small-but-significant turn as Ricky Danforth in “Donnie Darko” is easily the most bizarre on this list. It is notable for being his first big screen credit alone, but his few minutes of screen time are most memorable for how much they contrast his typical movie persona. Rather than the affable, sarcastic dude the world knows and loves, Seth Rogen plays a cold, creepy bully. His only speaking line in the whole movie is to remind female lead Jena Malone that her stepfather tried to stab her mom to death. That’s right, folks. Evil Seth Rogen!
Eager Cameraman is by no means the most memorable character in “Anchorman”. In fact, the only time’s he’s on-screen, Rogen just sort of melts into the background because he’s surrounded by the bombastic personalities of the movie’s starring cast. But there he is. Rogen’s role in “Anchorman” is a prophecy. It’s like he’s looking directly at Will Ferrell and the rest of the cast and saying, "yeah, that’s right. In five years, I will be the star." The prophecy is fulfilled in the next entry on the list.
By the time “Step Brothers” hit last summer, Rogen was a bonafide star. His cameo here though is a bonafide coming of age moment. He plays the potential employer of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, interviewing the moronic bros for a gig at a sporting goods store. The scene works as a metaphorical changing of the guard, the latest elder statesman of comedies -- Ferrell -- acknowledging that his prodigy is more than ready for the big leagues. It’s also especially random, since it’s mostly just Seth Rogen being farted at for thirty seconds straight.
"The 40 Year Old Virgin"
Go ahead and say it: Seth Rogen’s performance in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” isn’t random at all. He was one of the movie’s stars! Au contraire, mon frère. Despite Rogen’s history with Judd Apatow on the excellent “Freaks and Geeks,” the man hadn’t done any screen work that indicated he could carry as memorable and convincing a performance as he does with the character Cal. He comes off as less of a newbie and more of an old hat, a seasoned character actor ready to play the seemingly-gruff-but-sweet pal of the hapless protagonist. Rogen came out of nowhere in this movie, and his fans haven't looked at him the same way since.