Should Colin Farrell Give Up Drama For Comedy?

By Colin Greten

Seven Psychopaths” written and directed by Martin McDonagh premieres today with a strong ensemble cast including Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Abbie Cornish. This will be Colin Farrell’s second starring role in a film with McDonagh and first since he won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical Golden Globe for the crime dramedy “In Bruges.” “Seven Psychopaths” is already garnering a lot of buzz with critics, who almost unanimously enjoying its blend of crime and comedy. So it’s really time to consider, is Colin Farrell better suited for comedy rather than drama?

Colin Farrell has always been a different type of movie star. He has consistently received starring roles in films and yet does not have one film that truly defines his career. He has taken roles to boost his resume as a serious actor and, at the same time, been involved in some box office disasters. However, when looking through his previous films one thing sticks out about Farrell; his comedic roles generally result in better responses from critics and viewers, and for the most part higher box office success.

Although Farrell had been funny in previous roles (especially as Bulls-eye in “Daredevil”), he was never supposed to be funny until “In Bruges.” That film is not purely comedic, as its humor is a bit dark; however, it showed that Farrell could be really funny when asked to be. The film starts out slow but, thanks to great performances by both Farrell and fellow Irishman Brendan Gleeson, gained widespread acclaim.

A few years later Farrell was cast “Horrible Bosses” as the coked-out, balding, bloated, and complete douche (for lack of a better word), Bobby Pellitt. Farrell is only in a few scenes of the film and is almost unrecognizable yet is utterly hilarious and perhaps even underutilized. The film was a rousing success grossing well over $100 million in US theaters despite a mere $35 million production budget, and even has a sequel in development.

That same year, Farrell starred as the wickedly funny, yet evil vampire who lives next door in “Fright Night.” Although the film did not blow anyone away with ticket sales, it was well-received by both critics and viewers. Now that’s three recent films in which Farrell played an at least somewhat comedic roles and each was successful in a sense. Can the same be said for his more dramatic roles?

This past summer, Colin Farrell starred in a remake of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s classic action film, “Total Recall” which despite a large budget—approximately $125 million—failed to reach audiences at all, grossing fewer than $60 million in the US. This is not the only time this has happened in his career. Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” is one of the biggest flops of all time. The same can be said for films like “Pride and Glory,” and “Miami Vice,” high expectations resulting in utter disappointment. While every Hollywood star has their fair share of flops, it is odd that Colin Farrell is perhaps more “hit and miss” with his dramatic roles than anyone in the industry.
Martin McDonagh originally gave Farrell a chance to show his range as a comedic actor in a somewhat dramatic film. Seven Psychopaths gives Colin Farrell another chance to do so, and already looks like it will be a success. Hopefully this will result in an abundance of comedic roles for Farrell, who as we now know, is pretty funny. It is probably too soon to say, but who knows maybe we’ll be seeing more of this:

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