It's far from uncommon for particular actors to get associated with particular kinds of roles. If audiences react particularly favorably to a certain combination of performer and character, there is a natural desire, especially by those who make decisions impacting the box office, to combine what works over and over again. Having said that, it seems like Vince Vaughn plays the same roles in his movies even more often than other actors. Like, literally, the same characters.
If we're being honest, Vince Vaughn sort of plays the same character over and over again. Even in the examples below, the nuances between one character type and another are only a matter of degree, but, even if we're being generous, you can pretty much divide up all of Vince Vaughn's feature film roles into five different categories. Here they are.
Sarcastic Mentor With A Heart Of Gold
Fighting With My Family (Hutch)
Fighting with My Family is Vince Vaughn's most recent big screen role. He plays the character of Hutch, a professional wrestling coach for the WWE who trains a group of up-and-coming female sports entertainers. Hutch is a sarcastic jackass who is always armed with a quip to make his students feel stupid. It seems clear he hates Paige (Florance Pugh), the main character of the film, more than anybody, but don't worry, he actually has a heart of gold and is using his rough exterior as a way to inspire her to show she has what it takes.
Hacksaw Ridge (Sgt. Howell)
Sgt. Howell in Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge is basically Hutch, just with the volume turned all the way up and the stakes raised to the point of actual war. He's there to whip his students into shape, whether they like it or not, just like Hitch. Sgt. Howell seems to hate Private Doss (Andrew Garfield), the main character of the film, more than anybody, but don't worry, because eventually Hutch, err Howell, realizes that Doss has what it takes.
For many, Vince Vaughn first got noticed thanks to Jon Favreau's indie comedy hit Swingers. It was here that Vaughn's general character would become the most defined. While Trent is "the cool one" of the pair, he is ultimately the sidekick for the purposes of the film. He's always got a quip ready, and while he spends most of his time insulting his friend, he does care, even if he has a hard time showing it.
Made would bring Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn together again, and Vaughn's character Ricky is basically just Trent from Swingers if Trent found himself working with the mob. The pair are still friends, even though -- like in Swingers -- they seem to fight more than not. In the end, however, the friendship wins out.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Eddie)
And If Ricky is just Trent if Trent wanted to join the mob, Eddie from Mr. & Mrs. Smith is if Trent decided to become a professional assassin. This is a smaller role for Vaughn, but the one-liners don't come any less frequently. It should be said, while Eddie is basically just the comic relief, he knows how to handle a gun more so than his other sidekick personas.
Underachieving Man Child
Wedding Crashers (Jeremy Grey)
This category could, almost by itself, encompass the career of Vince Vaughn, because frequently he plays characters who are less than mature for their age. Still the difference here is that the character's lack of maturity is often part of the point. In the case of Wedding Crashers, we have a pair of guys who are far too old to be living lives like this, and mostly seem to do so because they're not capable of much else. Jeremy isn't an idiot, but he has chosen to remain immature.
Old School (Bernard "Beanie" Campbell)
Nothing says lack of maturity more than a bunch of adult men who decide to start a fraternity. In many ways, Bernard is actually one of Vaughn's more mature characters. He's a father, after all, but one gets the impression that if life had taken a slightly different direction with him, he might have become as big an immature fool as some of his friends here. Still, he's the one who sets the wheels in motion on this insane idea. He's not the best role model for his kids.
As the title character in Fred Claus, Vince Vaughn's lack of maturity is at least understandable. He's the immortal brother of the actual Santa Claus. He feels rejected by his own family, and thus his lack of maturity is something of an act of rebellion. The basic aspects of this character type are on display here in every possible way. He's selfish and he takes advantage of people as much as possible to get what he wants with no regard for others.
Delivery Man (David Wozniak)
Delivery Man's David Woziak at least gets some points for wanting to be more than the underachieving man-child that he is, he's just really bad at it. He's nothing more than a delivery man who paid his way through school by donating sperm, which has led to a a fairly unfortunate situation where he has fathered several hundred children. It's one thing to be a little overwhelmed by this, or to want to help out those children in some way, but while his heart may be in the right place, his abilities as a mature adult really aren't.
Four Christmases (Bradford 'Brad' McVie)
Things don't change for Vince Vaughn when his character gets married. He's still a wise-talking smart-ass, just one who has a significant other while he drops the one-liners. In the case of Four Christmases, that significant other is played by Reese Witherspoon in a story where the pair have to visit all of their divorced parents over one exceptionally long Christmas. While the relationship between the couple isn't really the focus here, it's clear that Witherspoon's character is the more together of the pair.
Couples Retreat (Dave)
Spoiler alert, at the end of Couples Retreat, Vince Vaughn's character is compared to an ass, as in the animal. Is there anything more that needs to be said?
The Break-Up (Gary Grobowski)
Ok, technically the characters in The Break-Up are not actually married, they're simply in a committed relationship, but the dynamics of that relationship play out in essentially the same way. Jennifer Aniston's character is the mature adult one and Vince Vaughn plays the screw up. Everything would have likely worked out if he wasn't an idiot.
Underdog In Over His Head
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (Peter La Fleur)
Peter La Fleur is a bit of an idiot, and he's just as sarcastic and sardonic as any Vince Vaughn character, but what sets him, and others in this category, apart is that he's ultimately a decent guy at the start and the end of the movie. The story in Dodgeball is about a struggle for success against a villain (in this case Ben Stiller), but not redemption, as most of his jackass characters tend to be more focused on.
Unfinished Business (Daniel Trunkman)
Did anybody even see Unfinished Business? Not really, but that's OK, because you've seen the character before. Vince Vaughn is getting shit on by people more powerful than he is, but the little guy is ready to fight back to the best of his ability. After being overlooked at his job Dan leaves and strikes out on his own. Here the villain is Dan's old boss, played by Sienna Miller. Dan and his scrappy team have to overcome the odds and show that they're good enough, even though they can barely keep up.
The Internship (Billy McMahon)
Another place where Vince Vaughn has to defeat a bunch of bullies to show that he's good enough is The Internship. In this case he's re-teamed with Owen Wilson as they try to get jobs at Google. The pair of old dogs try to learn new tricks, and their hearts are in the right place, but they clearly have little clue what they're actually doing in the tech sector.
Give Vince Vaughn a role where he can smirk at the camera and deliver one-liners, and he's a happy guy. Beyond that, there are only a few details that differentiate one Vince Vaughn role from another. For the most, there's nothing wrong with that. He's still entertaining, even if we've seen something very similar before.
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