Best and worst roles of the 'Friends' cast

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June 11, 2021
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Best and worst roles of the 'Friends' cast

On May 27, 2021, the long-awaited “Friends” reunion made its debut on HBO Max. Seventeen years after Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe turned in the keys to their luxurious West Village pad (there’s no way they could afford it) the gang was finally reunited on the soundstage where it all began.

The reunion was no small feat. Fans had been clamoring for a reboot for years— essentially since the series wrapped in 2004—but the gang’s busy schedules, their high salary demands, and an overall reluctance to mess with a good thing (the series remains one of the most-watched on TV) meant it kept getting put off. While die-hard fans of the show generally loved the special, some critics argued that it was pointless, empty nostalgia that served more as a vanity project than it did to expand its world or storyline.

Regardless of whether you loved or loathed the special, the reintroduction of the “Friends” cast, many of whom have dropped off the A-list in the intervening years, likely has you wondering what else they’ve been up to. 

Stacker looked at the filmographies of the six members from the principal cast of "Friends" and identified their best and worst feature films using IMDb ratings, the best representing the highest-rated film in their career and the worst representing the lowest.

Read on for a closer look at some of the “Friends” gang’s other projects.

Jennifer Aniston's worst

- Film: Leprechaun (1993)
- Director: Mark Jones
- IMDb user rating: 4.8
- Metascore: 17
- Runtime: 92 minutes

Believing a family stole his trove of gold, a vengeful leprechaun hunts them down to exact revenge in this horror-comedy film. Simply titled “Leprechaun,” the cult classic that spawned a half-dozen sequels marks Jennifer Aniston’s big-screen debut. Looking back on the film, Aniston told Howard Stern, “I really thought I arrived when I did ‘Leprechaun,’” but after watching it admitted, “I kept walking in and out and cringing.”

Jennifer Aniston's best

- Film: The Iron Giant (1999)
- Director: Brad Bird
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 85
- Runtime: 86 minutes

While “Leprechaun” may have been a misstep for Aniston, “The Iron Giant” was exactly the opposite. The animated science-fiction film, which Aniston completed at the height of her “Friends” fame, is about a young boy who befriends a robot from outer space and attempts to protect him from a paranoid government agent. The hand-drawn film didn’t get much fanfare when it was released, but its important messages about deciding who you’ll be in this life, as well as its tear-jerker of a storyline have firmly established it as a classic in the years since.

David Schwimmer's worst

- Film: Hotel (2001)
- Director: Mike Figgis
- IMDb user rating: 4.2
- Metascore: 47
- Runtime: 93 minutes

Words like baffling and unsatisfactory are often used to describe “Hotel,” a 2001 movie about a film crew who are shooting a movie in Venice. If the plot description were to end there, this movie might have rated higher for Schwimmer, but between the documentary crew filming the film crew, cannibalistic vampires for hotel staff, a hitman, a call girl, and a random Hollywood producer, things get weird fast. The movie made its debut between seasons of “Friends,” and, at the time, Schwimmer told a reporter he enjoyed the film, remarking that it was “full of really unforgettable images and moments” and his role was “as far away from the character of Ross as possible.”

David Schwimmer's best

- Film: Nothing But the Truth (2008)
- Director: Rod Lurie
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 64
- Runtime: 108 minutes

In “Nothing But the Truth,” Schwimmer plays husband to Kate Beckinsale’s character, a journalist named Rachel Armstrong who spills government secrets then serves jail time for refusing to name her source. While his role was a small one, Schwimmer’s performance still brought life to this complicated story about ideas and remaining true to one’s principles. Unfortunately, the movie never got a theatrical release and went straight to DVD in 2008, which kept it from getting much of the buzz it deserved.

Lisa Kudrow's worst

- Film: Marci X (2003)
- Director: Richard Benjamin
- IMDb user rating: 2.9
- Metascore: 20
- Runtime: 84 minutes

An utter box office flop, “Marci X” is a half-baked romantic comedy about a Jewish American heiress (Lisa Kudrow fresh off of “Friends”) who takes over a hip-hop label and its outspoken rapper (Damon Wayans) after her father falls ill. Critics lambasted its racist, anti-Semitic, and clueless jokes. Ultimately, the film feels more like a really long late-night sketch than it does a fully fleshed-out film.

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Lisa Kudrow's best

- Film: Booksmart (2019)
- Director: Olivia Wilde
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 84
- Runtime: 102 minutes

“Booksmart” was a box office smash, becoming one of the most-talked-about movies of 2019. In the film, Kudrow plays mom to a teenage girl who decides, alongside her best friend, to pack four years of high school fun into a single night. When promoting the movie on “Conan,” Kudrow gushed about how much she loved the project while Conan praised her ability to play awkward comedy in a way few other actresses can.

Matthew Perry's worst

- Film: Serving Sara (2002)
- Director: Reginald Hudlin
- IMDb user rating: 5.3
- Metascore: 18
- Runtime: 99 minutes

There’s little worse for a film than being declared “utterly forgettable,” but that’s exactly the kind of reviews “Serving Sara” garnered upon its 2002 release. The movie sees Matthew Perry play a process server who gets swindled into a scheme concocted by Elizabeth Hurley to serve her husband instead, in exchange for a cut of the divorce settlement. Scott Tobias of the A.V. Club bemoaned the film’s reliance on “Perry’s perpetually exasperated shtick, which fits more comfortably among the democratic ensemble of TV’s ‘Friends.’”

Matthew Perry's best

- Film: The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
- Director: Jonathan Lynn
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Metascore: 47
- Runtime: 98 minutes

In “The Whole Nine Yards,” Perry plays a dentist named Oz who, upon realizing that his new neighbor (Bruce Willis) is a former contract killer for the mob now living under witness protection, decides to turn him in in exchange for money. In 2004, Perry told an interviewer that he did the movie in an effort to get audiences to see him as a character other than Chandler Bing, saying “it’s our job…to change it up a little bit while still being funny and still being entertaining.” Certainly, the slapstick and screwball humor is quite different from what fans came to expect from him on the sitcom, which could help to explain the movie’s success.

Courteney Cox's worst

- Film: Zoom (2006)
- Director: Peter Hewitt
- IMDb user rating: 4.4
- Metascore: 26
- Runtime: 83 minutes

A former superhero is called upon to train the next generation of crime fighters in “Zoom,” a family-friendly movie based on a children’s book by Jason Lethcoe. Despite only having a supporting role in the film, Cox didn’t do much to elevate the film’s action, comedy, or drama. Critic Michael Compton even went so far as to say she, alongside her fellow adult co-stars Tim Allen and Chevy Chase, seem like they’re “just in it for the paycheck.”

Courteney Cox's best

- Film: Scream (1996)
- Director: Wes Craven
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 111 minutes

Two years after “Friends” began filming, and early on in her own career, Courteney Cox filmed “Scream,” a film that has been credited with reviving the horror genre. The meta slasher movie follows a group of pals as they try to stop a serial killer who’s using horror movie tropes to pick them off one by one. 

Matt LeBlanc's worst

- Film: Ed (1996)
- Director: Bill Couturié
- IMDb user rating: 2.7
- Metascore: 25
- Runtime: 94 minutes

In “Ed,” Matt LeBlanc is a small town baseball star who befriends a chimpanzee (the aforementioned Ed) at training camp, relying on the animal to help him get through the season. Critics called the movie intolerable, cheesy, and unadventurous, characterizing LeBlanc’s performance as “blank.”

Matt LeBlanc's best

- Film: Charlie's Angels (2000)
- Director: McG
- IMDb user rating: 5.6
- Metascore: 52
- Runtime: 98 minutes

Unlike in “Ed,” Matt LeBlanc was not the star of “Charlie’s Angels,” but a small player. Also, unlike many of his co-stars, the film is not considered his best because he branched out from the type of character he played on the sitcom, but rather because he leaned into it. Here, as in “Friends,” LeBlanc plays a dumb boyfriend, who can’t quite understand that his girl is a member of a spy group on a mission to save the world’s privacy.

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