What are the qualifications for being a phenomenal movie doofus? I mean if you think about it there are a wide variety of characters throughout cinema’s history that could be singled out for their idiocy. They appear in every genre: horror, romance, comedy, and action films. Doofuses are everywhere on the big screen. But this week I’m looking at the dumbest of the dumb. These five doofuses are the cream of the crop in terms of clueless buffoonery. But I have to be honest, sometimes these characters are the funniest and that’s why I love these five. So on this week’s Phenomenal 5 I’m giving them their due. Now with so many brainless doofuses gracing the screen, it would be ‘doofusy’ to call this a definitive list. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to call these five movie doofuses absolutely phenomenal.
#5 – AGENT HUBERT BONISSEUR DE LA BATH (“OSS 117” series)
The OSS 117 series was initially a group of serious spy movies made in the late 50’s and early 60’s. But in 2006 director Michael Hazanavicius and star Jean Dujardin teamed up to create a parody of those films with OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and its sequel OSS 117: Lost in Rio. If you haven’t seen them you’re missing a comedic treat. Dujardin’s Agent OSS 117 doesn’t waste time revealing his cluelessness and ineptitude. Whether he’s stumbling over obvious clues or offending women, countries, or religions, it all spawns from his undeniable idiocy. He’s a hysterical character and Dujardin’s committed performances and impeccable comedic timing are big reasons why.
#4 – FRANK DREBIN (“Naked Gun” series)
Leslie Nielsen was a comic genius and that was never more evident than in “The Naked Gun” series. In Frank Drebin, Nielson created one of the most idiotic yet lovable comedic characters in film. Whether he’s destroying property due to his constant clumsiness or struggling with speaking or understanding the English language, Drebin is hilarious. Nielsen was also brilliant in selling Drebin’s sincerity even in the most ludicrous of scenes. Detective Frank Drebin found his origins in a small TV series that was canceled after six episodes. But this well-meaning moron made a name for himself on the big screen and he has to be on this list.
#3- CLARK GRISWOLD (“Vacation” series)
Can you possibly have a list of great motion picture doofuses and not include Clark Griswold of the National Lampoon’s “Vacation” films? I think not. Chevy Chase had several good movie roles but for me none are as memorable as his portrayal of the good-hearted but dimwitted family man Clark Griswold. Clark always had good intentions when it came to family vacations. But whether it was his wandering eye, his volatile temper, or his unquestionable stupidity, he always managed to foul things up. But it’s that imbecilic nature that makes Clark such an endearing character as well as one of the funniest to watch. Either in Europe, Vegas, at Christmas time or Walley World, Clark is going to flub things up. What else would you expect from such a classic doofus?
#2 – LLOYD CHRISTMAS & HARRY DUNNE (“Dumb and Dumber”)
Look I know this is a cheat, but how can you separate Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) from Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels)? These two best friends from the Farrelley brothers insanely funny “Dumb and Dumber” are textbook doofuses. In their cross-country trek to meet the girl of Lloyd’s dreams, these two imbeciles find themselves in more and more trouble all due to their lack of sense. There’s no denying it – these guys are doofuses. I mean I can’t even look at them without laughing. For me this is a side-splitting comedy and that’s mainly due to these two big time buffoons.
#1 – INSPECTOR JACQUES CLOUSEAU (“The Pink Panther” series)
For my money the quintessential movie doofus was Inspector Clouseau from Blake Edwards’ classic “Pink Panther” series. Peter Sellers may have been the funniest actor of all time. Just ask some of his co-stars. I grew up watching Clouseau and his lame-brained attempts at detective work and these films are still some of my all-time favorite comedies. Clouseau could make something as simple as opening a door hilarious and his harebrained deductive skills give us some priceless cinema. Clouseau’s utter stupidity astounded people and even drove his boss mad. But it also cemented him as the all time greatest movie doofus in my opinion.
So where did I go wrong? There are several others than came to mind but there is only room for five. Who would have made your list?