From the 1930s through the 1960s, comedy pairs in movies were very common. Teams such as Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and Martin & Lewis would draw moviegoers to theaters in the same way Johnny Depp might do so today.
Some may say comedy pairs like that no longer exist in today’s world. But, since 1990, several have been successful. They may not be billed that way, but some could easily be the next Abbott & Costello if given a chance. And, this is just looking at pairs who appeared in more than one movie together.
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson – For some time, you couldn’t see Stiller in a movie unless Wilson had some part in it. The pair appeared in movies like Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Starsky & Hutch and the Royal Tenenbaums. Typically, Stiller’s character is a bit more serious while Wilson plays more of a free spirit. But, the combination always seems to work.
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker – You only see these two together in the Rush Hour movies. But, they have such a good chemistry together; you shouldn’t be surprised to see this pairing in other films too. I’m not sure exactly what makes this pair work so well but you have two guys who seem to be able to pick up on each other’s strengths and weaknesses and compensate for what ever the other one lacks.
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones – The movie Men in Black wouldn’t have been anything more than a cheap comedy if it weren’t for this pair carrying a unique but somewhat weak script. Jones is the ultimate straight-man. He is so serious in his roles it’s easy for Smith’s joker personality to feed off of it. It’s too bad you’ve only seen them paired up in MIB and the sequel because they could be a good team in other films as well.
Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore – Sandler is known for his crude humor; which is why his movies are a bit hit or miss. But, he’s had two romantic comedies that starred Barrymore (Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates) that were great. Sandler is a bit one-dimensional. But, he seems to have an on-screen chemistry with the more talented Barrymore that carries over. The jokes make you laugh and the love scenes are very believable.
Honorable Mention: Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan – I like Tucker’s pairing with Chan better but Wilson and Chan seemed to have a decent enough chemistry in their movies Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights that could carry over to other films.
I’ll also mention Sandler and Rob Schneider in the honorable mention category. I would have put them on my list, but they mostly just appear in cameo roles on each other’s films and have rarely starred in a film together.