The 7 Best Judy Greer Roles
Even if you do not know her name it is likely you know Judy Greer’s face, or at least her voice. Greer is a massively-talented and frequently-featured character actor. Aside from her best and most prominent roles below, she has given memorable performances in a number of films including What Women Want, Adaptation, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Jurassic World. She has had guest spots in popular television shows like My Name is Earl, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. Indeed, Greer seems to be everywhere and audiences are all the luckier for it. Here are her seven most noteworthy roles to date.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
In 13 Going on 30, a teenager named Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen) wishes to skip junior high and wakes up to find her dream come true, but not exactly as she anticipated. Now nearly 30, Jenna (Jennifer Garner) works at her favorite fashion magazine with her former childhood rival Lucy (Greer). Her junior high best friend Matty (Mark Ruffalo) is cold and distant to her, revealing that the two haven’t spoken since her fateful 13th birthday party. Jenna learns that growing up won’t solve all her problems — in fact, it creates even more — and she still has a lot to learn about life. The film is a sweet bit of corny fun with a great supporting performance from Greer.
Arrested Development (2003 to Present)
If not for her sizable role in 13 Going on 30, many fans may recognize Greer from her recurring part on Arrested Development. The cult classic show details the comedic failings of the Bluths, a deeply dysfunctional and corrupt real estate family. The Bluth family is composed of three generations: the patriarch and matriarch, George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) and Lucille (Jessica Walter); their children G.O.B. (Will Arnett), Buster (Tony Hale), Michael (Jason Bateman), Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and Lindsay’s husband Tobias Funke (David Cross); and their grandchildren, Michael’s son George-Michael (Michael Cera) and Lindsay and Tobias’ daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat). Greer plays Kitty, George Sr.’s brash former secretary who is constantly looking to extort the family for her own gain.
Ant-Man (2015), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
When we first meet Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), he is a well-meaning but hapless ex-convict and thief He has a bad relationship with his ex-wife Maggie (Greer) and her fiance Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) but a good relationship with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). His life is critically changed when he meets Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). They recruit him to become a — literally — small-time criminal once more and use Hank’s shrinking suit to take on his former protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Greer shines in her small role, second only to perhaps Michael Pena, who plays Luis, Scott’s friend and fellow ex-con.
The animated television series Archer is uniquely styled as well as cleverly and imaginatively written. Above all, however, Archer is raunchy, irreverent fun. Not satisfied to be merely foul-mouthed like other adult cartoons, the entire comedy of the show is built upon explicit deviant behaviors. It follows the staff of the fictional International Secret Intelligence Service, namely field agent Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and his boss/mother Malory (Jessica Walter). Both are cold-hearted heavy drinkers who have an anything-but-healthy relationship with each other or those around them. Greer, for her part, gives voice to Cheryl Tunt, Malory’s obscenely wealthy and mentally unstable secretary. Though the setting frequently changes from season to season, the core cast of characters remains the same in this unique comedy.
The Descendants (2011)
In Alexander Payne’s moving, meditative film, Matt King (George Clooney)’s life is quietly falling apart. As he is debating selling of his family’s Hawaiian island property with his relatives, a boating accident leaves his wife Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie) permanently comatose. What’s more, he learns of her affair with a man named Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard). His relationship with his daughters (Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller) has never been more strained. Together, they must try to get through this extremely rough patch in their lives. Greer gives an affecting performance as Brian’s wife Julie.
The Village (2004)
Though audiences have been mixed about the film since its release, The Village is an admirable film in its own way because of writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s skill behind the camera and commitment to his own storytelling style. In a preindustrial Pennsylvania town, a young man named Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) lives. The village elders refuse to allow anyone to leave to other nearby towns because of the apparently evil creatures which live in the surrounding forest. He falls in love with the chief elder (William Hurt)’s blind daughter Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard), but the two face unexpected consequences for their courtship. Greer plays Ivy’s sister Kitty, who also harbors feelings for Lucius. Even in his most middling films, Shyamalan (and Greer) is still wholly watchable.
The latest entry to the Halloween franchise follows the Blumhouse trend of low budget, high-earning horror cinema. Written and directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween does away with any of the other sequels to the original 1978 film. In the decades since the events, Michael Myers has been institutionalized, but Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has never quite recovered. Her house is heavily fortified and her marriages — both of them — have failed. Her relationship with her daughter Karen (Greer) is strained, to say the least. Then, the day Laurie has prepared for and feared comes. Michael escapes again, after nearly 40 years to the day, and seeks revenge. The film may not reach the highs of John Carpenter’s original film, but is far, far closer to the best Halloween sequel than the worst.
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