by Benjamin Leonard
Best Boy at Moviejawn
I know there are some snobs out there that can't stand the thought of Ryan Reynolds. When they see him all they can think of is Van Wilder, Waiting... or (god forbid) Green Lantern. I can't blame you if you don't like those films. I find them to be dumb and only vaguely entertaining.
However, there are few actors in his pay range that choose such diverse roles and so many independent features. He plays an imaginary friend/super hero in Paper Man, a wild and charismatic gambler in Mississippi Grind, a father suspected of disappearing his own daughter in The Captive, an actor who goes too far when he breaks up with his girlfriend in The Nines, an office "nice-guy" that goes off his meds and goes on a murder spree in Marjane Satrapi's comedic gore-fest The Voices and (personal favorite) an adventurous nerd that gets blackmailed into pulling off complex heists in (the very Canadian) Foolproof.
He's worked with Oscar Winners and Nominees such as Emma Stone(N), Sandra Bullock(W), Mary Steenburgen(W), Jesse Eisenberg(N), Kristen Wiig(N), Ben Affleck(W), Common(W), Helen Mirren(W), Marjane Satrapi(N), Jeff Bridges(W), Samuel Jackson(N), and Paul Giamatti(N).
He may not be the best actor, and sure he gets a little hammy, but he's not afraid to challenge himself with new roles and he's secure enough that he doesn't mind sharing the screen and possibly getting shown up by critically-acclaimed actors.
All of this culminated in Reynold's performance in Deadpool. Sure, this film easily could have fallen into the same category as the stinkers I mentioned in the first paragraph. However, the film and Reynolds were self-aware enough that they spend the entire film poking fun at the tired tropes that this type of blow-em-up action romp always fall into. Deadpool aimed high and nearly reached the heights of my favorite bad action flick, Crank. Maybe they'll improve with the sequel (unlike Crank 2).