Walt Disney once said, “Getting old is inevitable, but growing up is optional.” The idea of entertaining the inner child is one that’s been floating around for decades, but it’s also been a gold mine for the movie industry, especially for comedic purposes. No matter who plays the role, there’s always something funny about seeing established adult actors acting like rowdy kids.
Scenes of adults giving up their pride and dignity to do something childish are fertile ground for comedic possibilities, whether engaging in some school-level activity or simply bickering about something stupid. The fact that no one is safe from letting the child inside play never fails to display both a hilarious and human element that connects with the audience.
ten Rampage (2011)
Rent on AppleTV
Based on the game god of carnage from Yazmina Reza, this dark comedy flick features a star-studded cast depicting two pairs of parents trying to come to terms with each other after their children get into a violent fight. But as tempers rise between the four adults, their masks of civility begin to fall, and a polite negotiation in an apartment soon turns into a fight in a playground.
The screenplay itself is a serving of absurd black humor on its own, but the film takes it a step further by incorporating Academy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actors into its cast. While John C. Reily’s styles certainly include childish action, seeing decorated actors like Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet, and Jodie Foster scream, scream, and fight like ten-year-olds is ingeniously funny.
9 Fat Bully (1996)
Stream to Amazon Prime Video
In many movies, old grudges cause even the most adjusted and established people to do crazy things. big bully casts Rick Moranis and Tom Arnold as two old classmates who find themselves locked in an old cycle when nerdy David meets his former antagonist, Roscoe “The Fang”, 26 years later. Needless to say, the results are filled with as much tension as comedy.
Similar to movies like you again, the film plays with the idea of unearthing the past. Although both parties involved are mature adults with jobs, families, etc., a schoolyard feud causes them to forget the years that have passed between them and revert to a childlike state. Fortunately, the past is buried and the two walk away as new friends instead of enemies.
8 The bench warmers (2006)
Stream on HBO Max
Still on the topic of bullies and nerds, Bench heaters follows a trio of baseball-loving geeky adults who were never picked to play as kids. After watching a group of kids get bullied on a baseball diamond, the three friends compete against local little league teams to earn new respect, an elaborate baseball stadium, and the opportunity to play.
Aside from the baseball themes and motifs, the biggest selling point is the performances of the film’s main cast. Jon Herder, Rob Schnieder and David Spade are absolutely hysterical as the titular Benchwarmers, each bringing a different flavor of nerdiness to the table. Essentially behaving like school kids in larger bodies, the three capture the roles well and act as the movie’s lovable underdogs.
7 The Adults (2010)
Stream on Hulu
Adam Sandler is definitely an actor in Hollywood who knows how to unleash his inner child. The man has practically built his career on over-the-top roles where he throws all maturity out the window, but it’s when he teams up with friends Kevin James, David Spade, Chris Rock and Dan Schnieder that he really unleashes the madness. .
the The adults the films feature a group of high school friends who reunite after their lives have separated them from each other. As they return to their high school mentalities, the humor is sometimes more heartwarming than humiliating. That being said, watching the protagonists behave like their arrogant and sometimes dimwitted high school selves is still full of heartbreaking humor.
6 Billy Madison (1995)
Rent on AppleTV
Before being out on the lake with his buddies or trying to steal uncut gemstones, Sandler went back to school in his production of Billy Madison. In order to save his father’s Fortune 500 company, his infant son must complete the 12 years of school he missed to prove his skill at running the company. Naturally, watching Sandler behave like a K-12 kid is central to the production.
As the titular Billy Madison, Sandler stands out among the elementary students like a sore thumb, but also matches their energy (and immaturity) to a huge degree. Moreover, the pleasure clearly felt by Sandler and his young peers is clearly present on screen.
5 Stepbrothers (2008)
Stream on Peacock
The term “man-child” is a great descriptor for the characters of Will Ferrell and John C. Reily in this cult classic. Watching grown men behave like Brennan and Dale is both comedic and cringe-inducing as the two 40-year-olds act like they’re still in elementary school, with their favorite toys, their cabin in the trees and their infamous homemade bunk bed.
The film is practically a staple of the comedy genre, armed to the teeth with its many amusing scenes, quotes, sequences and recognizable settings. Exaggerating a bit, the words “Catalina Wine Mixer” will never be the same for moviegoers.
4 Toys (1992)
Stream on History/A&E
When a character owns a successful toy business, some degree of childishness is not only expected but required. For example, Robin Williams as Leslie Zevo in Toys. Williams has never been one to shy away from his childish side, and his portrayal of the quirky toymaker perfectly complements his profession and personality.
A kind of initiation comedy but for an adult, the plot concerns a brilliant but childish toymaker who must save his father’s company from his military uncle who wants to use the factory to make war games and toys. army-based violent toys. Williams delivers an on-point performance with more than enough childish fun, even after Leslie has to take his place at the helm of the company.
3 Hook (1991)
Stream on Netflix
The characters don’t get any more childlike than Peter Pan, and once again Robin Williams takes over with his patent eccentricities and over-the-top personality to play a grown-up version of “the boy who never grew up.” As contradictory as it may seem, William’s performance after transitioning from Peter Banning to Peter Pan truly unleashes his inner child.
When Peter finds his thoughts happy, Pan is truly unleashed, and his joy and pleasure are positively palpable. Williams only underscores the portrayal with her laughter and maniacal energy, giving audiences a happy, flighty version of the character that no one will forget.
2 Mary Poppins (1964)
Stream on Disney+
Disney is a pro when it comes to nurturing an audience’s inner child, and the studio has released a handful of films with adults behaving like children, for better or for worse. But easily one of the most successful films to adapt this premise has to be Walt’s Magnum Opus, Mary Poppins. It’s an overload of fantasy and magic that even the most stoic viewers can appreciate, and it can bring out the childish side of anyone.
Uncle Albert hosts tea parties on the ceiling, an avalanche of chimney sweeps dance across the rooftops, Dick Van Dyke dances with animated penguins in one of Dick Van Dyke’s finest films, and a group of elderly bankers leave their bank to go rob a kite, the list goes on. Call it Disney magic or Mary Poppins working its classic charm, but it definitely continues to enchant and delight viewers of all ages.
1 The Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Rent on AppleTV
If there’s one character who’s built an entire existence on maintaining a childlike personality, it’s Pee-Wee Herman. Paul Rueben’s iconic character is practically a living cartoon character, and all of his eccentricities add up to a brilliantly comedic display of childlike joy that can’t be denied.
In his first original film, Pee-Wee deals with all the childish clichés, such as his large toy collection, his favorite sugary breakfast cereal, the fear of clowns, and his beloved screaming bike. His titular adventure takes him on a journey across the land, putting him in various wild and weird situations that he is able to escape by his childish nature alone. Sometimes being an adult can get in the way of a fun adventure.
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