In his time as the star of movies, Ted lasso Star Jason Sudeikis has established a dependable on-screen personality. Between movies like Horrible bosses Y Hall passSudeikis can be counted on to present themselves with a certain level of confidence. Even in the last film, when he does repulsive things like eye “mental snapshots” of a barista, the productions Sudeikis lives in mean that his actions are “charming” because of the confidence with which Sudeikis walks (the way in which the audience perceives them is another complete story). Although its various star vehicles have met with varying degrees of box office and critical acclaim, Sudeikis has largely stuck with this acting mold.
Eventually, however, all comic actors indulge in a role that subverts their most famous roles. For Sudeikis, that opportunity came with the independent feature of 2017. Colossal. From the director Nacho vigalondo, this project sees Sudeikis initially inhabiting a character quite close to their typical archetypes before descending into something much more interesting.
Sudeikis’s Colossal Oscar, does not come into play until the protagonist of the film, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), returns to his hometown of Mainhead, New England. She quickly runs into Oscar, a childhood friend of hers. Right away, only the position Sudeikis occupies in the narrative of Colossal opens up new possibilities for him as a performer. Here, he is a supporting actor, in contrast to his work in films such as we are the millers where he is the protagonist that the audience is supposed to sympathize and connect with.
That role goes to Gloria from Hathaway here, allowing for more distance between the viewer and Sudeikis’ traditional big-screen personality. With that gap, the restless parts of a man so sure of everything, including his connection to a woman like Gloria, silently become uncomfortable. Sudeikis doesn’t shy away from her laid-back personality, but filtering her actions – like randomly gifting Gloria a new TV – through Gloria’s eyes gives them a whole new dimension.
Very similar to how Paul Thomas Anderson grounded By Adam Sandler male-child protagonists in the awkward reality in Drunk love, Vigalondo also emphasizes the lurid qualities inherent in traditional Sudeikis characters as their protagonist of Hall pass. Just because someone says things with a cold and confident demeanor doesn’t mean they are harmless. However, it can be easy to overlook these subtle snippets of subversion in Oscar as Gloria navigates indecisive about her direction in life. Her sense of aimlessness leads her to a discovery that establishes the high-concept part of Colossal history in motion.
During a drunken night out, Gloria learns that when she walks through a nearby playground, she manifests as a giant monster in Seoul, South Korea. Oscar is eventually discovered to have a similar ability, although his behavior on the playground is mirrored by a gigantic robot. Now that you can see the consequences of your actions through the prism of a Kaiju, it appears that this plot thread will simply be used to help stimulate further personal growth on Gloria’s part.
Instead, Oscar cultivates a taste for causing chaos in South Korea. Even more, he develops a longing to hang the threat of it over Gloria’s head to make her do whatever he wants.
As Oscar’s royal leanings surface, it becomes apparent who the real monster is in a film featuring a robot and a quasi-Godzilla entity. While the previous Sudeikis characters were meant to be only superficial annoyances, Oscar in Colossal is an utterly menacing individual. He’s willing to do anything, even launch a barrage of fireworks inside, to indicate the level of control he can exert over Gloria.
As these new parts of Oscar become apparent, Sudeikis makes several exceptionally thoughtful acting decisions that unleash a whole new side of him as a performer. For one thing, Oscar doesn’t drastically change his demeanor once it becomes fully apparent that he is an abuser. He’s a bit more irascible now, but Sudeikis keeps everything from Oscar’s voice to his body language to his laid-back style, all consistent with his previous scenes in Colossal. The personality traits that once suggested that Oscar could be a potentially calm presence in Gloria’s life now capture how nonchalant he is in treating her like an object.
This facet complements Vigalondo’s script very well and his description of where abusers manifest themselves. Typical pop culture entities portray such figures with all manner of visual cues intended to serve as immediate warning signs. But this is not how it works in real life. These types of people can hide in plain sight and can go from pleasant to toxic in the blink of an eye. Sudeikis understands this as well as the script, which sculpts an abusive figure from the mold of the typical man-boy protagonists Sudeikis has played in film.
Even better is how Sudeikis defines Oscar’s anger as lashing out at others in response to their flaws. He sees Gloria having a life beyond the city they grew up in as a direct insult to himself, who is trapped in the bar his father left him. Sudeikis conveys this long-lasting resentment with a royal bite. It never feels like you’re watching a comedic actor striving for a darker role. Sudeikis vividly imbues a vivid quality to Oscar’s martyrdom that uncomfortably nails reality.
It’s also worth mentioning how Sudeikis in Colossal draws on another trait of his straightforward comic performances: his unwavering consistency. This is particularly evident in one of his most memorable Saturday night live sketches, where Sudeikis plays an aspiring southern astronaut who refuses to admit he ate a potato chip belonging to Will Forte’s NASA employee. His assertiveness in the face of Forte’s repeated screeches is funny on its own merits and a constant hilarious contrast to the chaos spiraling around him.
In that context, Sudeikis confidence is used for comic dissonance, he is the firm ground that humorous insanity can turn. However, for Oscar’s character, this consistency is not used to contrast with lighthearted uncertainty, but to represent a man engaged in abusive behavior. The aforementioned fireworks scene, where Sudeikis’ Oscar stands his ground in a room full of explosions, parallels that NASA potato chip sketch, only now the actor’s unshakable nature inspires chills rather than laughter. . By taking this quality to its ugliest end point, Sudeikis helps Oscar prosper as a character.
Four years later Colossal First hit in theaters, Sudeikis has managed to score her most acclaimed role to date through the television show Ted lasso. Watching him win accolades and trophies for playing such a great guy is fascinating precisely because of the gulf between Lasso and his absolute best performance as Oscar in Colossal. The huge differences between these two characters, as well as how exceptional Sudeikis is in playing Oscar, perfectly encapsulate Jason Sudeikis’ talent as an actor.
Colossal is now available to stream on Hulu in the US.
KEEP READING: Watch: Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis revive the sketch for ‘SNL’ not aired on ‘Late Night’
The film set in Colombia features original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
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