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Decider Lists

Will Ferrell’s On-Screen Adversaries, Ranked

Where to Stream

Saturday Night Live

Very few screen actors seem less prepared for a fight than Will Ferrell. Despite his rather large presence, Ferrell never seems quite suited to big-screen battle. Which is what makes it funny to see him mixing it up time and time again. Ferrell’s comedic genius has always been partially about making us forget the six-foot-three frame and laugh at his frequent bursts of bluster.

This week, Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are on-screen adversaries in Daddy’s Home, where Ferrell plays step-dad to Wahlberg’s kids. It’s a re-teaming of the actors who played partners in Adam McKay’s cop flick The Other Guys. Time will tell where Wahlberg ends up ranking among Ferrell’s all-time best screen foes (Ferrell’s movies almost always have a strong post-theatrical lifespan), but the following are the best on-screen adversaries in his illustrious career.

8

Zach Galifianakis in 'The Campaign'

Jay Roach’s political comedy could have been a whole lot better. If it was, it could have lived up to the promise of Ferrell and Galifianakis going toe-to-toe as rival Conngressional candidates.

[Watch The Campaign on Amazon Video.]

7

Mike Myers in 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me'

Ferrell actually has one featured scene in each of the first two Austin Powers movies, and in both of them Myers plays his adversary. In the first one, Dr. Evil drops him into a pit below his evil conference table, only Ferrell doesn’t die quickly enough. In the sequel, Ferrell’s Mustafa runs afoul of Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell, who have some difficulty navigating Mustafa’s strict rules about surrendering information.

[Where to stream Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.]

6

Ana Gasteyer and Sarah Michelle Gellar on 'Saturday Night Live'

Few of Ferrell’s on-screen foes have been so formidable as to refuse to let him finish a damn story or disparage his Dodge Stratus. One of Ferrell’s earliest SNL triumphs was this “Family Dinner” sketch, with Gasteyer and Gellar as his wife and daughter, respectively, which used the power of comedic silence better than anything I can remember on the show.

[Where to stream Saturday Night Live.]

5

James Caan in 'Elf'

Ferrell played epitome of childhood innocence Buddy the Elf in Elf, our runner-up from the Ultimate Holiday Showdown. His adversary there wasn’t any kind of criminal or evil person, just a grumpy James Caan who couldn’t get himself on Buddy’s level, holiday-spirit-wise. The casting of the ever-simmering Caan could not have been more perfect.

[Where to stream Elf.]

4

Ben Stiller in 'Zoolander'

Will Ferrell got to fight this one from the villain’s side, as Mugatu, the fashion maven and secret supervillain. Alas, Mugatu was never much of a match for Derek Zoolander’s simple-minded heroics.

[Where to stream Zoolander.]

3

Chris Pratt in 'The LEGO Movie'

Even in animated LEGO form, Ferrell’s Lord Business proved to be quite the enemy for Emmet, everyday LEGO-man and possible chosen one. Despite his advocacy for Taco Tuesday, Lord Business is a real crumbum, making it very easy to root for Emmet and his pals, though Ferrell does deliver some great cheerful-villain voice-over in the process.

[Where to stream The LEGO Movie.]

2

Vince Vaughn in 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy'

Wes Mantooth and the Evening News team were as over-the-top a set of foes as anything Ferrell has faced. They were a rival gang, schoolyard bullies, and professional adversaries all wrapped up in one. And despite the fact that Wes had a clear vulnerable spot — don’t you mention Dorothy Mantooth! She’s a saint! — that didn’t stop him from throwing down in a back-alley fight.

[Where to stream Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.]

1

John C. Reilly in 'Step Brothers'

Director Adam McKay continues his streak of providing Ferrell with top-notch foes. In this case, it was an epic step-sibling struggle between Ferrell and Reilly for the crown of top-dog lives-at-home-with-parents adult. It helps that Reilly and Ferrell make for such excellent screen partners. Almost as good as Reilly and Mark Wahlberg were in Boogie Nights. Which only makes us instantly hope for Daddy’s Home 2 with Reilly as a third step-father.

[Where to stream Step Brothers.]