The Acting Pairs You Always Wanted to See (even if you didn’t know it)

(This is a preview of the PopRox column in Sunday’s paper, with some added Arrested Development goodness here. SEO, bitches.)

When Jim Carrey and Steve Carell were cast as a pair of dueling magicians in the comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, it hit us.

“Why didn’t they think of this before?

Their careers had somewhat intersected before, with Carell taking over for Carrey in the Bruce Almighty sequel Evan Almighty, and Carrey playing an interviewee for Michael Scott’s old job on The Office.

But putting them together? Genius, right? At least on the surface it is. We’ll see what the actual product looks like when the movie comes out Friday.

How about some other memorable pairings we may not have known we wanted, ones we waited forever to see or ones that left us wanting more:

what we wanted to see for 20 years

Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, Heat
The legend goes that in Caddyshack, Director Harold Ramis realized one possibly fatal oversight after shooting through most of the movie: Saturday Night Live mega-alums Chevy Chase and Bill Murray didn’t have any scenes together. So they went back and shot the cannonball scene and squeezed it into the movie. When DeNiro and Pacino appeared together in Godfather II without any screen time together? Yeah, that was how it was planned. Maybe it was based on some strange 1974 premonition that they would go on to become two of the greatest American actors of the 20th century, and the myth would grow when they finally, inevitably, would make a movie together 20 years later. The Michael Mann-directed Heat went on to become a well-respected (if not half-hour too long), crime thriller, but at the time, we knew it for one thing only — DeNiro and Pacino would finally meet! Their 10-minute quietly tense and effectively awkward exchange at a Los Angeles coffee shop was the money shot we had been waiting two decades for. And now let’s all forget that Righteous Kill ever happened. OK? OK.

Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, Bowfinger

Hold on. Are you telling me these two starred in 44 movies between 1982 and 1999 … and they never made one together? Two of the most respected, beloved comedians of all time couldn’t find a script to work on together? Wait, there’s more! Of the approximately 8 trillion times Martin hosted Saturday Night Live, he never did it while Murphy was in the cast. It’s almost like they were destined to be kept apart, until they gave us one of the most underrated comedies of this generation. On these two guys’ legendary resumes, this comes really close to cracking each of their top fives.

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, Step Brothers
When certain teams get together, you want and expect to see them again. Astaire and Rodgers. Bogart and Hepburn. Hanks and Ryan. Then there are those that you can take or leave — more likely leave — so you don’t necessarily think of them much after their first movie. That’s Ferrell and Reilly in 2006’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. A good, not great, or even particularly memorable pairing. But when they got together two years later for Step Brothers, they put together one of the five greatest R-rated comedies of the last 10 years, and its success is based almost solely on their chemistry together.

mmmmm hmmmmmm

Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid
Look, you have to see it. It’s a random, beyond awful horror movie on Syfy. We often exaggerate and say things are the worst movies ever, but this may very well be the worst movie ever. If it wasn’t so laughably bad — intentionally so, I’d imagine — it probably would be the worst thing ever. This movie was made for the express purpose of getting these two late 80s bubble-gum pop singers together, on screen, for the first time, complete with the requisite cat fight. Who knew I actually wanted to see these two together, in a movie, 20 years after they mattered even a little? But you better believe I’ve seen it. Twice.

they look weird.

Jason Bateman and Michael Cera, Juno
Quick! How much screen time do Michael and George Michael Bluth share in Juno? How about none, despite them being two of the biggest supporting players in the movie! In 2007, when the movie came out, this fact wasn’t such a big deal since 99.99 percent of the people that saw it in the theater didn’t even know Arrested Development existed, let alone watch it enough to know that these two played father and son. If this same movie came out now, the Internet might break. There would be rioting and looting in every hipster neighborhood in America, and poor Greenwich Village would be laid to waste after the carnage. Now let’s all bow our heads and say a little prayer that May gets here soon and the new season finally becomes a reality.

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