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Face-Off: Owen Wilson vs. Vince Vaughn

06.06.2013by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face-Off, we journeyed through time to an age where M. Night Shyamalan was considered the next best thing with a match between The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. For a few reasons, Sixth Sense ended up taking the official verdict with you our readers showing love to both films while procuring a victory for Unbreakable in the strike backs.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are two of those familiar faces in the world of comedy, even appearing in several of their gems together, including the most recent film The Internship. What's great about the times that they have teamed up, is that we've been able to appreciate the different styles and vibes they give out. In this article we'll explore their resume, their flare for comedy, and even what would qualify as their more dramatic efforts. I'm a fan of both actors and I will be interested to see what you lot think. So let's discuss.
Resume
Owen Wilson has the more impressive filmography I must say. With small appearances in earlier films like Armageddon, Anaconda, and Meet the Parents. His first major leading role was in the comedy Shanghai Noon with Jackie Chan which I thought was charming enough. What impresses me most about Wilson are his appearances in the more bizarre comedies like the Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Midnight in Paris. I was surprised how at home Owen felt in a Woody Allen film, he fit that style beautifully.
Vince Vaughn had his breakout role in a supporting turn in Swingers, from there he had great supporting roles in numerous great comedies. Old School, Zoolander, Dodgeball, Anchorman, Wedding Crashers (his gem with his oppenent) and others. In other areas Vaughn was the lead as Norman Bates in the horrible Psycho remake and an alright job in the thriller Domestic Disturbance. In recent years Vaughn has been in comedies I found duds like Fred Claus and Couples Retreat. But Vaughn has always done his best with the material he's been given.
Funny Bone
So how funny is Owen Wilson? Well it all depends on the material I suppose. When the comedy is great, Owen really pulls it off and he's a joy to watch...but Owen has also had to deal with a script that tried to hard and ended up feeling awkward. I feel bad for Wilson in this particular category because the majority of Wilson's comedic films haven't jived well with me. Shanghai Knights, You Me and Dupree, Night at the Museum and its sequel. It's not to say I'm not a fan of Owen Wilson's acting...just the mans appeal to me lies in when he's not trying too hard (if at all) to make me laugh.
Vince Vaughn just always tickled my funny bone more than Wilson has over the years. Is it because he happens to get the better lines in a lot of his films, or is it something about Vaughn's delivery of said lines. I would say it has to be both. I always thought Vaughn has had decent comedic timing and that is half the battle. Vaughn's style has turned off some, and I can see how that would be possible...but the dude cracked me up in Swingers, Old School, and Dodgeball. Bottom line, Vaughn just always had more of a flare for comedy in my eyes than Wilson has.
Dramatic Chops
The only film I can recall Owen Wilson being featured in that was outright dramatic is Behind Enemy Lines, the rest of his films at most had some dramatic elements to them but remained comedies in essence. I guess the roles that would qualify for this category are those where the comedy is a bit more subtle, less in your face and at times in Wilson's case corny. I am of course talking about Wilson's many collaborations with Wes Anderson and his one gem with Woody Allen.
The Cell, Domestic Disturbance, Clay Pigeons, doing his best with Psycho, bits and pieces of the Break-Up...yep, the extent of Vaughn's ability doesn't stall with comedy. When it comes to comedy Vaughn's strength is in his timing and delivery, I've noticed that when working with a dramatic role it's all about the eyes for good ol Vince. He doesn't have to say a word and he emotes something whether it is sinister or emotional. He hasn't had much room to show us what he can do dramatically, but the bit that I've seen I was impressed.
Overall
I think what we have to take into account most with this match is the overall quality of work from both these men. For film lovers out there that love a very quirky comedy will love the various Wes Anderson films Wilson has taken part in, all the way from the beginning with Bottle Rocket. I will also say this, and some will disagree, the comedies that have been less than stellar for Owen Wilson are still better than some of the travesties Vince Vaughn has taken on in recent years. Some argue that Wilson pulls the same shtick movie after movie, but you can't fault an actor based on that as many have found themselves stuck in that limbo for a lot of their careers. Wilson often plays likeable characters, often funny, and he does have some impressive films to speak of.
Vince Vaughn is a guy you want to love, you want to say he has had the perfect career. Because when he works, he really works. He has been in some truly great comedies, and has shown us glimpses of some dramatic range. Where things get tricky for Vince is that he has chosen some really shitty roles lately, I always appreciate Vaughn's presence I must say...but even he can't save a rough script. With that said, as far as quality of work I'm afraid Vince falls a little short for me...mostly taking recent years into account. Another great comedy or even a good dramatic turn would do wonders for Vince Vaughn, there has to be something out there.
Owen Wilson
There you have it folks, this match was a tough nut to crack as I'm a fan of both these men when the material they are working with is good sh*t or they are able to do their best with it. I feel this could go either way, because I happen to know our readers find reasons to both appreciate these two and be thoroughly disappointed with these two. The question is, where do you stand? Can you not stand either one? Time to strike back.

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

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