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Sandie Angulo Chen

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Sandie Angulo Chen is a movie critic, WAFCA member, mother to three budding cinephiles, and a paid expert on what movies will give kids nightmares.

Actors Who Play the Same Role Twice (Or More)

Some actors are renowned for their Method-y range, while others master portraying a particular type of character. Then they get cast as that role so often it’s hard to distinguish the actor from the part. Whether or not the stars get sick of playing these roles (or as often is the case, versions of themselves), they’ve struck box office gold with their virtuoso performances as everything from the nymph next door to the smug pretty boy from the posh side of the tracks.

These 12 actors have played their signature types so often, they’re practically synonymous with them.

Mila Kunis: The Gorgeous “Just One of the Guys” Part 2
Examples: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Friends with Benefits,” “Ted”
Every generation needs that super sexy girl next door who looks unapproachably high-maintenance but is actually every guy’s dream BFF. She burps like a 10-year-old boy, curses like a drunken sailor, and drinks like guys three times her size. With her huge doe eyes and smokin’ body, Kunis charms men and women alike when she helps a lovable loser get his groove back or has sweaty, no-strings-attached sex with her favorite guy pal.

Cameron Diaz: The Gorgeous “Just One of the Guys” Part 1
Examples: “There’s Something About Mary,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Shrek”
Before Kunis took over as the ultimate “guy’s girl,” there was Cameron Diaz, who epitomized the dream date persona in her comedies. The former model does the chipper, hot as hell airhead/detective/princess better than anyone else her age in Hollywood. She’s not some prissy prig; she can party like a fraternity brother and watch sports, all while driving guys insane with her beauty. Plus, she’ll throw in her patented booty shake just for fun.

Michael Cera: Awkward but Adorable Geek aka Himself
Examples: “Scott Pilgrim vs The World,” “Superbad,” “Juno”
It all started with his breakout role on Fox’s “Arrested Development” as the bumbling and overly earnest George-Michael Bluth. The pattern of adorkably cool guys continued with his quirky big-screen turns as the ideal babydaddy in “Juno,” a sweet and horny senior in “Superbad,” and a lovestruck slacker in “Scott Pilgrim.” His ex-girlfriend Charlyne Yi’s 2009 documentary “Paper Heart,” proves that Cera is really just playing versions of himself.

Matthew McConaughey: The Shirtless Wonder
Examples: Everything He’s In
Matthew McConaugheyMcConaughey has long made a career of showcasing his awesome abs and laidback demeanor. Whether he’s a rom-com lead or an action hero, the chiseled Texan can’t help but sound like the happy surfer cowboy that he is in real life. And McConaughey should consider insuring his stomach muscles, because they’ve become his signature assets. Have you seen “Magic Mike”? The guy can definitely act, but most of the time he’s just chillin’ – with his shirt off.

Will Ferrell: The Clueless Man-Child
Examples: “Old School,” “Talladega Nights,” “Anchorman,” “Step Brothers”
“Saturday Night Live” devotees know that even before he transitioned to features, he was already the king of acting clueless. Along with his friends John C. Reilly and Jack Black, Ferrell has perfected the oversized dim bulb of a man-child again and again. Thank you baby Jesus that even at age 45, the goofy funnyman shows no signs of abandoning his signature type. Next up? He stars opposite Zach Galifianakis as a doltish politician in “The Campaign.”

Katherine Heigl: The Uptight Hottie Who Needs a Man
Examples: “Knocked Up,” “27 Dresses,” “Life as We Know It,” “The Ugly Truth”
Heigl may be beautiful, but her characters are often slightly stuck up, tightly wound workaholics who are in serious need of a man. She’s not exactly the poster girl for contemporary feminism, but her film resume is stacked with these desperate single ladies that audiences (if not critics) seem to respond to – that high-strung news producer, bridesmaid, caterer who should let her pretty blond hair down and live a little.

Kate Hudson: The Mean & Sexy Best Friend
Examples: “Something Borrowed,” “Bride Wars”
Don’t be fooled by Hudson’s winning smile and crinkling eyes, she can is ridiculously good at playing self-absorbed, shallow, and at times downright mean women. Her characters are irresistibly gorgeous hotties who know they’ve got it going on and have no problem stealing attention (or guys) from their only less vampy best friends. Just ask her co-stars Anne Hathaway or Ginnifer Goodwin.

Vince Vaughn: The Smooth-Talking Jokester
Examples: “Old School,” “Wedding Crashers,” “Dodgeball,” “Couples Retreat”
It’s unfair to say Vaughn has played just one role in his career, but despite the early attempts at indie dramas, it’s his propensity to play the fast-talking wise ass that has defined his success. He’s the lovable loser (regardless of wealth) who’s always ready with a zinger or a scathingly funny observation. He’s so charismatic that women flock to him and men want their very own bromance with him.

Hugh Grant: The Smug and Foppish Rich Guy
Examples: “About a Boy,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” “Two Weeks Notice”
Even in animated form, Grant still plays a stammering dandy: his Pirate Captain in “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” is more taken with his accessories than his booty! Grant’s characters always sport a posh accent, perfectly coiffed hair, and meticulously put together clothes. The most range he can convey is whether he’s a womanizer or lovesick. Plus, his characters tend to have a lot of money; it must be too hard to pretend he’s middle class.

Kristen Stewart: The Fish Out of Water
Examples: “Twilight,” “Adventureland,” “Welcome to the Rileys”
Kristen StewartNo matter what movie she’s in, whether she’s chaste Bella Swan mooning over her one true love or a down-and-out underage New Orleans prostitute, Stewart has a thing for playing stammering lip biters who shrug and pout. Yes, the characters might not be exactly the same, but KStew’s interpretation of these awkward young women who don’t really fit in is nearly identical in every film.

Ryan Reynolds: The Sarcastic and Sexy Guy Next Door
Examples: “The Proposal,” “Definitely, Maybe”
The heartthrob comedian can pretty much operate at two speeds: wild and raunchy Casanova (“Waiting,” “Van Wilder,” “The Change-Up) or (and we prefer this one) the sarcastic and almost secretly sexy guy who’s always there when you need him. Reynolds is a compelling actor because he’s blessed with both a romantic leading man’s body and a comedic actor’s gift for timing, so his characters tend to be eerily similar for Reynolds to make audiences laugh and the ladies drool.

Jennifer Aniston: The Girl With Man Trouble
Examples: “He’s Just Not That Into You,” “The Break Up,” “Just Go With It”
Maybe it’s because of her much-publicized romantic troubles off camera, but Aniston has emerged as the go-to actress to portray pretty but remarkably insecure women. Unlucky in love (made easier to believe by her real roller-coaster relationships), Aniston’s characters rarely start off with their Prince Charmings in place. Instead, she usually has to overcome a personal obstacle or (in the case of Adam Sandler) reveal how hot she really is to get her happily ever after.


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Tags: Cameron diaz, Hugh grant, Kate hudson, Katherine heigl, Mathew McConaughey, Micahel Cera, Mila kunis, Vince vaughn, Will ferrell