15 Times Great Actors Were Paired Together And Made A Dud

List Rules
Vote up the movies that wasted a great pair of actors.

Few things frustrate audiences more than disappointing actor team-ups. Pairing two great actors always seems like a good idea. Audiences enjoy the prospect of watching two beloved stars working together, and studios know such casting gives the movie an automatic selling point. Over the decades, there have been countless examples of brilliant performers sharing the screen, from Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting to Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby

People set their expectations high, so it's a huge letdown when the movie doesn't work, despite everyone's best efforts. Many factors can account for a dud starring two mega-talented actors. Sometimes it's as simple as them not having chemistry together. Other times, the material is fundamentally flawed, and the stars were expected to somehow elevate it through their mere presence. Whatever the cause, there's an inescapable sinking feeling when you see a film with two great actors that clearly isn't working. The following examples represent some of the biggest misfires.


  • Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds were two of the biggest stars around in the 1980s. Both tended to play tough guys on-screen, so pairing them up in an action-comedy sounded like a can't-miss proposition. But 1984's City Heat ended up satisfying neither actor's fan base. Reynolds is a private investigator looking into the murder of his partner. Eastwood is his former partner, whom he asks for help, despite the two loathing each other. The movie is a period piece, set in Kansas City in 1933.

    How could this big-star pairing go so wrong? Behind-the-scenes troubles are partly to blame. Original director Blake Edwards was fired and replaced with Richard Benjamin, who radically altered Edwards's screenplay. That gave Reynolds and Eastwood compromised material to work with. Insults the characters hurl at each other are more lame than funny, and Eastwood - while immensely talented - isn't exactly known as a skilled comedic actor. The plot, meanwhile, is all over the place, making it difficult to keep up with. On top of it all, who wants to see these guys fighting for two hours? All of this combined to utterly sink City Heat

    72 votes

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  • Robin Williams and Billy Crystal are two of the most beloved comedians of all time. Although their styles are different, they share a sensibility, often combining outrageous laughs with a little heart in their movies. The guys were good friends in real life, too, which made their on-screen pairing in Fathers' Day seem like a comedy dream come true for audiences. 

    It was therefore shocking for fans to discover that the picture is essentially laughless. They play men who have both had a relationship with the same woman. She gave birth to a child, and neither of them knows which one is the father. Even with a skilled director like Ghostbusters' Ivan Reitman at the helm, Fathers' Day is a mess. Williams and Crystal spend so much time riffing and improvising that it gets in the way of telling an actual story. We never feel like we're watching the characters - we're watching two successful comedians winging it in front of a camera. A two-hour documentary of them having lunch together would doubtlessly have been way more hilarious than this insipid dud. 

    47 votes

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  • Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are two of the all-time acting heavyweights. Both have made their share of classic films over the years. The actors appeared in The Godfather Part II, considered by many to be not only one of the best sequels ever made, but also one of the best movies, period. When they teamed up for the 2008 thriller Righteous Kill, there was every reason to expect fireworks. Instead, the picture fizzled out.

    These two legends play detectives trying to track down a serial killer whose victims are all guilty-as-sin losers who have somehow escaped justice. It should have been a hard-edged police procedural along the lines of Pacino's Serpico. Unfortunately, a muddled story makes it impossible to follow the clues, leading more to boredom than suspense. Even the stars aren't good in it. Pacino overacts wildly, while De Niro looks bored. These factors combine to make Righteous Kill feel like a cheap direct-to-DVD cash-in, as opposed to a meeting of two acting all-stars. 

    74 votes

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  • 4
    53 VOTES

    Robert De Niro And Sylvester Stallone In 'Grudge Match'

    Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone have something in common. They each made one of the all-time great boxing movies. For De Niro, it was Raging Bull. For Stallone, of course, it was Rocky. What could be better than bringing these two cinematic pugilists together for the boxing-related film Grudge Match? Pretty much anything. This picture isn't fit to carry Rocky Balboa's gloves.

    They're former boxers who step back into the ring in order to determine once and for all who the champion is. That could have been fun, except that the story spends too much time on dull domestic dramas their characters face, such as Stallone trying to get to know the son he fathered from an old fling. Nobody cares about that stuff. We want to see De Niro and Stallone trading punches. Grudge Match simply doesn't provide enough of that. 

    53 votes
  • The Mexican is a great example of what happens when you promise audiences one thing and then give them something completely different. Ads for this 2001 movie played up the romance between stars Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, making it look like the story was about a couple of lovebirds having an adventure in Mexico. Even the poster featured a central image of the two about to kiss.

    In reality, The Mexican is a quirky crime drama about a mob bagman forced by his boss to retrieve a valuable antique pistol. And the guy's girlfriend spends much of the movie angry at him for taking part in this stupid scheme. So not only do you not get a Pitt/Roberts romance here, but the stars are feuding on-screen much of the time. Once word got out that the movie wasn't even remotely what it was being sold as, audiences quickly rejected it. 

    80 votes

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  • 6
    57 VOTES

    Robert De Niro And Eddie Murphy In 'Showtime'

    Pairing raunchy, live-wire comedian Eddie Murphy with super-serious dramatic actor Robert De Niro should have made for an ideal comedic odd couple. The problem was a screenplay that didn't know how to capitalize on either of their strengths. In Showtime, De Niro is a tough-as-nails LAPD detective forced to take part in a reality TV show. Murphy is a patrolman with aspirations of fame who sees being on the show as his meal ticket. The two clash endlessly while tracking down an arms manufacturer who's putting a dangerous firearm on the streets.

    Showtime's script simply isn't very good. It tries to achieve the action-comedy balance that made Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop and De Niro's Midnight Run smash hits. The actors don't have much to work with, though, so they're forced to lean into their screen personas in an effort to earn laughs. It might have been much funnier to flip-flop them - to have Murphy play the hard-nosed cop and De Niro the fame-hungry patrolman. Really, Showtime needed anything that would shake up its tired formula. 

    57 votes

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