When one thinks about Robert De Niro, he is mostly associated with the dramatic roles that won him two Oscars (Best Supporting Actor in "The Godfather: Part II" and Best Actor in "Raging Bull"). But beyond his heavy performances, De Niro is equally adept in comedy roles too. This year, De Niro is paired with fellow Oscar winner Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables") in the upcoming comedy "The Intern", where he plays... a 70-year-old senior intern looking to get back in the game! Judging by the premise, it was an interesting change of pace where such a movie could easily have the young Anne Hathaway play the intern instead of the boss in this one.
To coincide with the release of "The Intern" this week, here is our selection of best Robert De Niro's comedies of the past decades.
1. "The King Of Comedy" (1983)
Despite the obvious title, "The King Of Comedy" wasn't a straightforward comedy genre. Instead, it was more of a pitch-black satire about an aspiring stand-up comedian Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) heavily obsessed over his idol, Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). Although "The King Of Comedy" was a commercial and critical dud, De Niro's performance was often praised as one of the greatest roles ever seen in his illustrious career.
2. "Midnight Run" (1988)
If there's only one bounty-hunter movie you've got to see, it has to be "Midnight Run". Robert De Niro played Jack Walsh, a foul-mouthed bounty hunter tasked to bring Mafia accountant Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin) back to L.A. It was supposed to be an easy assignment, but what followed next was a series of cross-country pursuits that involved the FBI and the mob. De Niro was definitely having a field day parodying his usual tough-guy character with excellent comic timing. By now, most viewers who've seen this movie would agree De Niro's most hilarious moment involved the "litmus configuration" scene with Charlie Grodin, where they impersonated as federal officers to pilfer "counterfeit" US$20 bill from a bar. For the uninitiated, "Midnight Run" is actually a bounty hunter slang for "a piece of cake".
3. "Wag The Dog" (1997)
"Wag The Dog" featured a dream-team collaboration that paired Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, as well as Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson of "Rain Man" fame and acclaimed writer David Mamet. De Niro played Conrad Brean, a spin-doctor extraordinaire who joins forces with a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) to fake a "war" in hope to distract the American public from the presidential sex scandal. This sharp political satire was blessed with top-notch performances all around, including De Niro himself with his delightful performance as Conrad Brean.
4. "Analyze This" (1999)
Robert De Niro was no stranger to playing a mafia or gangster in a number of crime movies such as "The Untouchables" and "Goodfellas". But in a refreshing change-of-pace, De Niro chose to lighten up by parodying his familiar mafia role, who suffers from anxiety attacks in "Analyze This". Likewise, De Niro displayed a comedy gem here and paired well with Billy Crystal, who played his psychiatrist.
5. "Meet The Parents" (2000)
Ben Stiller may have been hilarious in "Meet The Parents", but this comedy wouldn't have work that well if not for Robert De Niro's quirky performance as the paranoid father-in-law. In fact, the movie was so successful it spawned two sequels ("Meet The Fockers" and "Little Fockers"). Of course, the first one remained the best in the series.
"The Intern" opens in cinemas nationwide on 24 September.