So What the Hell Happened to the Frat Pack?


Hey, yeah, remember those guys, they made every funny movie of the early 2000s, and then all of a sudden, poof! They disappeared, Judd Apatow’s minions took their place, and they were never seen filming good movies together again. Each of what I consider the five main pillars of the frat pack has had a noticeable decline in the types of films they’ve made since, opting for kids and chick movies that yes, probably made more money, but made a whole lot more suck too.

Here’s a visual representation showing what I mean. For each of them I could have picked any number of good, old movies and new, bad ones, but I tried to stick with the prime examples.

Ben Stiller 2001 vs. Ben Stiller 2009


How do you make a sequel to Meet the Parents AND Night at the Museum, but not Zoolander? Oh right, money. In his defense, Tropic Thunder was almost a return to form. But didn’t anyone see The Heartbreak Kid? Man…

Owen Wilson 2005 vs. Owen Wilson 2008


Doing a movie with Jennifer Aniston and a puppy may be a way to cure depression, but that doesn’t make it good idea.

Vince Vaughn 2004 vs. Vince Vaughn 2007


The “Vince Vaughn” character (the only one he can play, let’s be honest) works well in R-rated comedies, but not so much in PG kids movies and chick flicks with Reese Witherspoon.

Luke Wilson 2003 vs. Luke Wilson 2008


Wow, that one hits hard. Straight to DVD with Jessica Simpson? Come on Luke, you’re better than that.

Will Ferrell 2004 vs. Will Ferrell 2009


I honestly think Ferrell has seen the biggest drop in quality, and you can actually mark it year by year. Does anyone, even four year-olds, think Land of the Lost looks good?

So what happened here? If I had to guess, I think it’s one or more of a few options.

A) All of these guys had kids, and wanted to make movies that they could actually see without burning their ears off. I have no idea if any of these guys actually had kids.

B) They wanted to “grow up” and stop making the same types of movies over and over again, even if they were pretty good. What was the last Frat Pack movie anyways? Wedding Crashers?

C) Jennifer Aniston. She’s been in shitty movies with 3 out of the 5 (Ben Stiller – Along Came Polly, Owen Wilson – Marley and Me and Vince Vaughn – The Break Up). But that still leaves two unaccounted for.

D) Apatow’s crew took over. It’s clear that Apatow’s boys (Rogen, Rudd, Segel, Hill, etc.) are the new Frat Pack, but why? Why can’t both groups of people keep making funny movies? I understand that comedy teams come in waves, but I can’t figure out why these guys just called it quits completely.

What do you think happened?

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  1. I think you nailed it in the first part of the article…money

    It’s the same as the music industry, all driven by big business and money.

    How many more Lady Gaga & Britney Spears songs and romantic comedies do I have to suffer through!

    It’s an injustice I tell you…an injustice!

  2. Wedding Crashers an example of a GOOD movie??? Really??? You have to be joking. It was one of the worst movies I’ve seen, certainly the worst one I’ve seen that year…

    But as far as everything else is concerned, you’re absolutely right. I think the decline of Mr. Ben Stiller is by far the greatest (not in a good sense).

  3. I disagree with Will Ferrell getting worse. Land of the Lost doesn’t look great, but doesn’t he have little kids? Maybe he’s looking to make something they can watch. I think if anything he’s gotten funnier, have you seen Step Brothers?

  4. step brothers was freaking hilarious. Comedy is one of those hit or miss things. Every one I know liked wedding crashers. I can’t stand that movie. Vince Vaughn is just not that funny. Dodge ball was great because Ben Stiller was so retarded in it.

  5. Just figured I would point out that Ferrell is a “Apatow” boy. Anchorman, Kicking and Screaming, Taladega Nights, Walk Hard (I believe Farrell was involved in some capacity behind the scenes), and Step Brothers. 5 movies with the same director/writer/producer qualifies you as one of his boys, I think.

    Apatow also seems to have gotten his start doing stuff with Stiller, even though he doesn’t do it anymore.

  6. I say they are the same group, have a look at cameos in Undeclared, or the fact that Baruchel, of Knocked up & Undelcared is in Tropic Thunder & Night at The Museum (A small part in the later but still) A quick look on IMDB will tell you that they are all working together.

    Baring in mind how long Seth Rogan has been in comedy, or the fact that Apatow is closer in age to the former group may make it easier to explain. Either that, or funny people just like hanging out with other funny people.

  7. The fact that this is an old post makes it even worse, you can’t make a “Whatever Happened to…” list about things that are still relevant. Old School isn’t so far gone that they can’t make something similar. You’ve barely given these guys a chance. On the other hand, this is a pretty typical post for the author, I’m getting the distinct feeling he’s writing these articles up in his bedroom after school, feasting on pizza roles, hoping Mom makes spaghetti for dinner tonight. Every article seems to assume movies were invented in 1999, and zero effort is put into research. How can this guy be writing articles about movies when he clearly knows less about movies than the average person walking down the street? It’s like a schoolkid reminiscing about wistful summer days on the first week in september.

  8. I say blame the recession. There just isn’t the same kind of money for film makers at the moment, which probably explains it. It’s not just the Frat Pack – this Christmas was the first in several years which I felt properly compelled to go to the cinema several times. That’s a truly desperate state of affairs (I cite Christmas specifically because it’s usually the top time of year for great new movies), but it finally looks like things are picking up again – just as the economy is picking up again. Give it a year or two and we can expect all of these lads to be back making us fall out of our seats in hysterics!

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