Just about everyone and their mother knows the name Zac Efron, but most know him as Troy from the High School Musical movies. Efron lead the Disney Channel original movie in both song and spirit before moving on to the film's two sequels. At that time, I was certain that High School Musical would be Efron's high point and that he would fall victim to the Disney Channel curse like so many other young actors and actresses have.
Zac Efron Post-Disney Channel
Zac Efron's acting career didn't die off in 2008 when High School Musical 3 hit theaters. Instead, he jumped headfirst into another feature film in 2009 called 17 Again, where he played a younger version of Matthew Perry. While it was a nice break for Efron to get to act along esteemed comedic actors like Leslie Mann and Thomas Lennon, it seemed as if he had already been typecast as the young basketball-playing pretty boy.
The typecasting continued — minus the basketball — in the next few years with the romantic dramas Charlie St. Cloud and The Lucky One, and I was sure this was all Zac Efron was ever going to be: The romantic hunk that all the girls go crazy for. That stereotype was shattered into a million pieces when he starred in a little movie called Neighbors.
Neighbors Changed Everything
In Neighbors, Efron played a strong-willed frat boy that moves next door to Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne and thus a conflict arises. After so many romantic roles, jumping headfirst into a movie where he had to play Seth Rogen's comedic rival was a risky move — one that paid off big time.
Efron proved that he has some serious comedy chops and a whole lot of people noticed. As soon as audiences realized that funny Zac Efron is the best kind of Zac Efron, he continued to show up regularly in several more comedies, including Dirty Grandpa, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and most recently Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
Mike and Dave, having only been released last weekend, is a perfect example of what Efron brings to the screen when it comes to comedy. The film is packed with four leading comedic actors and actresses: Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Devine, and of course, Efron.
The film is far from being perfect, but it is certainly filled with laughs around every corner. Some of the jokes don't land as hard as they should — and even more seem crude and downright wrong — but whenever Efron hits the screen, the audience can't hold in their guffaws. He owns every scene and delivers equal parts heart and humor that's impossible not to laugh at.
Watch Zac Efron and Adam Devine play the Newlywed Game:
Zac Efron's blend of humor is very similar to Channing Tatum in the Jump Street movies, as he plays the good-hearted hunk that sometimes doesn't think things through all the way. The style works perfectly, as it gives Efron the potential to still play the ladies man in addition to the hilarious bumbling fool. If you don't believe me, watch Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and compare the romantic scenes between Efron and Kendrick to the "what's a Push-Pop" scene with Adam Devine on the beach.
What's Next For Zac Efron
Even though his latest comedy has only just released, Efron has been plenty busy working on his next big project along Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the cinematic reboot of Baywatch. And guess what? Baywatch is listed as a comedy. You're welcome, world.
If Efron keeps up his work in big budget comedies like Neighbors and Mike and Dave, he won't be remembered as the High School Musical kid or that hot guy from romantic dramas — he'll be remembered as one of the greatest comedy actors of our time. I can't wait to see what he has in store for the rest of his career.