Jason Bateman Is a Likable Jerk in 'The Longest Week' Because That's All He Ever Is
There are certain actors whose movies I will always see, no matter how good or bad the reviews may be. Emma Stone, George Clooney, Miles Teller — actors who are irresistibly charming, and whose films, even when bad, tend to be elevated simply by their presence. Such is the case for Jason Bateman, a guy who has just as many hits as misses on his resume, yet whose movies I can't seem to not see, even when all signs are pointing to disaster. I like him when he's sweet, I like him when he's a jerk, and I especially like him when he's both, at once — which is a good thing, because that's the character Bateman has played in practically everything he's done lately, including this September's The Longest Week .
In the trailer for The Longest Week, released on Tuesday, Bateman plays an immature, self-centered guy who's just charming enough to get on your good side. Everything about him — his buckets of money, his lack of motivation, his raging narcissism — is off-putting, yet he manages to stay extraordinarily likable, a character you just can't help but root for. It's a good role, but one Bateman's done a thousand times before. For instance:
Michael Bluth was one of the only truly sane characters on the show, automatically making him the hero. He was, however, self-centered and rude, constantly screaming at his family and barely paying his son any attention. Still, you couldn't like him, considering how much he had to deal with (crazy relatives, a burned-down banana stand, keeping his son and his niece away from each other...)
This is Where I Leave You
Judd is not a particularly great guy, which made him a risky choice for the protagonist of a book and, soon, a movie. He's egotistical and condescending, and not the least bit happy to reunite with his family after his father's death. Still, he has a good heart and a whole lot of charm, and it's hard not to want him to succeed.
In the 2014 comedy Bateman also directed, he played Guy Trilby, an obnoxious, arrogant asshole. But you loved him still, because he was funny and cute and had a sweet side, even if it didn't shine through all that often.
One of Bateman's most widely seen performances, Mark was a father-to-be who seemed too good to be true, because he was. Despite his playfulness and bonding with Juno, he hit on the teen and backed out of the adoption at the last minute, leaving his heartbroken wife to go at it alone. Juno was the rare case of a Bateman character whose charm couldn't redeem his ugliness.
The bosses may be the horrible ones, but the employees are not the greatest people, either. Take Bateman's Nick, who manipulates, criticizes, and gets riled up with the best of them, but — surprise surprise — still ends up the good guy.
Images: Netflix; Warner Bros (2); Focus Features; Fox Searchlight;