One of the reasons to see “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard,” is for the cameo from Will Ferrell, who also produced the new movie through his company, Gary Sanchez Productions. Typically, uncredited appearances like this are also not promoted so they can be a surprise to the audience. Yet Ferrell’s scene, in which he falls to his death from an airplane while wearing an Abe Lincoln costume and fighting off sex toys, can currently be seen on FunnyorDie.com, where it’s been viewed more than 130,000 times.
Hilarious as it is on its own, you might rather skip the sneak peek and watch the scene in the context of the movie. That is, if you think such a cameo makes a movie better as a whole. There are certainly some people out there who find a sudden appearance from a big star to be an unnecessary distraction.
“The Goods” is Ferrell’s fourth film in which he has an uncredited cameo, so we decided to take a look at those past three appearances as well as two pre-fame bit parts -- that feel like cameos in retrospect -- in order to gauge if he can improve upon or distract from a story with just a few minutes of screen time. After looking at each cameo, let us know which is your favorite and whether or not it made the respective movie better.
Mustafa in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”
Two years into his run on “Saturday Night Live,” before he’d made a real name for himself, Ferrell showed up as Dr. Evil’s fez-wearing henchman Mustafa. His time in the movie is short, as Evil burns him alive for causing Mr. Bigglesworth’s -- the megalomaniac's cat -- hair to fall out during a cryogenic freeze. He stole his scene well, mostly with off-screen whining. It was enough that, despite the fact he seems to be killed in the first “Austin Powers” movie, his character is revived for the sequel, “The Spy Who Shagged Me.”
Bob Woodward in “Dick”
In another early minor role that doesn’t technically constitute a cameo, Ferrell played Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward in this underrated and very funny take on the Watergate scandal. He’s joined by another “SNL” vet, Bruce McCulloch (better known for “Kids in the Hall”), as his Washington Post partner Carl Bernstein, and together they’re easily the most memorable part of the already enjoyable film.
Michael, Brian’s Boyfriend, in “Boat Trip”
There’s very little that could have saved this movie about two straight guys who mistakenly wind up on a cruise for gay men. Not even Will Ferrell could help with his tiny, surprisingly subdued performance as Michael, the travel agent who books the trip. I can appreciate that Ferrell doesn’t ham it up too much, even after you find out he’s the boyfriend of Artie Lange, but he’s just not funny in the role and he brings nothing else of merit to this generally lame movie.
Big Earl in “Starsky & Hutch”
Many people were in agreement that Ferrell’s cameo in this TV adaptation was the highlight of the movie. But that really wasn’t much praise considering the disappointing mediocrity of Todd Phillips’ follow-up to “Old School.” Yes, Ferrell is pretty funny as Big Earl, the fashionable convict with a belly button fetish and a thing for dragons. It’s just unfortunate that he does indeed provide one of the few notable moments in an otherwise forgettable work.
Chazz Reinhold in “Wedding Crashers”
This is probably Ferrell’s most surprising, and most welcome, cameo. It comes near the end of a hilarious movie, catching audiences completely by surprise (at least during opening weekend, before people were talking about the film), and it actually turns out to be a pretty integral role. As legendary wedding crasher-turned-funeral crasher Chazz Reinhold, Ferrell adds to the movie without being too much of a ham and without seeming like too much of a cliché, despite the familiarity of his still-lives-at-home-with-his-mom loser.