Jacques Johnson is currently delivering one of the most remarkable performances of his career on the HBO Max original series Naughty. In the stunning true story about the development of female eroticism, Johnson stars as Doug Renetti. It’s Johnson’s last in what has been an impressive string of serial comedy shows. Audiences first got to know Johnson through his hilarious performance as hapless slacker Neil Miller on new girl.
Fans who only know Johnson from his television work might be surprised to learn that he’s also had a pretty impressive film career. Although he appears frequently in cameo roles in bigger comedies, such as Neighbors and 21 jump street, Johnson has been doing underrated work in independent films for more than a decade. He is also a popular voice actor; you may have heard his voice in The Lego Movie Where Smurfs: the lost city.
Johnson is fairly consistent in maintaining the quality of his work; even if movies like Let’s be cops, the mummyWhere Mike and Dave need wedding dates are difficult to defend, Johnson does not bother at all. Here are his seven biggest roles.
Jeff Schwensen in Security Not Guaranteed (2012)
The Indie Time Travel Comedy Security not ensured spear Colin Trevorrowbefore heading into blockbuster territory with jurassic world. The film centers on investigative journalist Darius Britt (Place Aubrey), which picks up a strange story about a man named Kenneth Calloway (Marc Duplass) who claims to have created a time machine. Darius is ordered to pursue the play by his boss, Jeff Schwensen. The “quirky, slice-of-life” romance at the center of the story may annoy some, but Johnson steals all of its scenes and provides a welcome bit of cynical humor. Jeff actually grows as a character as he pursues his old teenage crush.
Luke in Drinking Buddies (2013)
Johnson’s most consistent collaborator is the independent darling Joe Swanberg. Swanberg prioritizes naturalistic comedy and often scripts his films very loosely so his actors have plenty of room to improvise. He is one of the defining figures of the “mumblecore” movement, for which Johnson is perfect. drinking buddies focuses on Chicago Kate Brewers (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jacques Johnson), who are on a long camping trip with their partner Chris (Ron Livingstone) and Julie (Anna Kendrick), respectively. Wilde and Johnson do a great job playing characters who try to resist the growing romance between them.
Tim in Digging for Fire (2015)
Swanberg continued his authentic approach with the film dig for fire; although he had some ideas about the direction the story would take, he did not write any dialogue or concisely summarize the events. Johnson showed his inherent inventiveness in finding an emotional quality to his character Tim. In the middle of a house party, Tim becomes obsessed with a mysterious bone in his garden, and it begins to dominate his life. He reconsiders his family and marriage in the wake of his surprising new passion.
Lowery Cruthers in Jurassic World (2015)
Let’s be clear: jurassic world is not a good movie. It’s a pale imitation of the original film, and the cheap submission to nostalgia is one of the worst examples of how a “legacy sequel” can’t be clueless. That being said, Johnson is one of the best parts of the movie. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard don’t have chemistry, so the presence of comedic commentary from Johnson’s character, Lowery Cruthers, was welcome. Lowery’s fandom for the original park is one of the film’s few effective callbacks, and it’s unfortunate that he didn’t return for any of the subsequent features.
Eddie Garrett in Win It All (2017)
win it all is the strongest of Johnson’s collaborations with Swanberg. He stars as unlucky gambler Eddie Garrett, who gets too deep when he accidentally spends all the money he owes a criminal. Although the premise sounds similar to a classic like The player Where the scammer, win it all develops in a more sincere direction. Eddie tries to make up for his mistakes and take himself seriously, and falls in love with his bar mate Eva (Aislin Derbez). Eva gives Eddie a reason to stop risking his future.
Randy Cilliano in Tag (2018)
Label has such a wild premise that it would be amazing if it wasn’t a true story. Based on the story “It takes planning, care to avoid being ‘it'” by Russell Adams, the film follows a group of childhood friends who reunite each year for an ongoing game of tag. Although their attempts to “tag” each other are getting more and more ridiculous, it’s heartwarming to see how the game has given them all a reason to stay in each other’s lives. Johnson has terrific chemistry with her co-stars Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Burress, and Ed Helms, and they are believable as lifelong friends. His character Randy Colliano adds a bit of stoner humor to a movie that relies mostly on physical gags.
Peter B. Parker in Spider-Man: Into the Spider: Verse (2018)
There is something to be said for a very good voiceover performance. Of all the parallel universes going on in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the story of Peter B. Parker (Johnson) is one of the most moving. Johnson’s version of the character apparently made all the wrong decisions compared to principal Peter Parker (Chris Pine); he messed up his relationship with Mary Jane Watson and fell down a cynical path. His mentorship of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) gives both characters a chance to learn from each other, and becoming a teacher inspires Peter B. to find his calling again. Johnson is able to show Peter B.’s growth without losing his trademark humor; there is a vulnerability that Johnson adds that is subtle. As the spider worms the saga continues this year, it will be exciting to see where Johnson takes the character next.
Jake Johnson on ‘Ride the Eagle’, the touching reason why he doesn’t miss ‘New Girl’ and his outstanding episode ‘Mythic Quest’
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