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Kaley Cuoco's 6 Best And 6 Worst Movie Roles Ranked

Looking at Kaley Cuoco's television career, this star from HBO Max's "The Flight Attendant" is definitely flying high. After all, she was on "The Big Bang Theory" for all 12 seasons, and for a few seasons, she was paid one of the highest salaries of all TV comedy actors (per Yahoo). When the sitcom ended, she starred in the critically-acclaimed TV show "The Flight Attendant." Unfortunately, she hasn't been quite so lucky on the film front. Funnily enough, all of Cuoco's film projects have something in common – as of 2022, none of her film projects have been given a "fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, some have certainly shown modest commercial successes (via The Numbers), but not a single one of Cuoco's movies has been loved by critics.

If you were trying to compile a list of the movies that were Kaley Cuoco's "greatest hits," you'd run into a bit of a dilemma — none of them were hits. Thus far, her movies have largely been a string of misses. Some of them were merely near-misses that could've been a lot worse. Others were terrible movies despite Cuoco's best efforts, and those are the movies that showcase a talented actress making the most of a cringe-worthy script. So when we say these are Cuoco's "best" movie roles, we mean relatively better. And when we say "worst," we really mean the worst of the worst.

Worst: Virtuosity

Every actress needs to start somewhere, and "Virtuosity" was one of Kaley Cuoco's first movie roles (per IMDb), more than ten years before she started "The Big Bang Theory." This forgotten Russel Crowe sci-fi thriller is about a VR simulation of a serial killer (Crowe) that escapes into the physical world and does what he was programmed to do: kill. So ex-cop Parker Barnes (Denzel Washington) and criminal psychologist Dr. Madison Carter (Kelly Lynch) must hunt him down. If the basic premise and plot sound like they've been done before, you wouldn't be the first to call out the movie's formulaic storyline. "The film blunders along, usually making very little sense," wrote ReelViews, and not even a great actor like Washington can redeem it.

And where was Cuoco through all this? She played Dr. Carter's young daughter, Karin. The actress isn't given much to do in "Virtuosity." Karin, looking vaguely like a blonde Mara Wilson (circa 1993), is mostly just played for cuteness, though she is later used for a third-act plot device as — what else? — somebody that the hero needs to save. To be fair, Cuoco was about ten years old at the time. Still, she doesn't necessarily do anything to elevate the bad material, which is why we're listing the role as one of her worst.

Best: The Man from Toronto

"The Man from Toronto" was Kaley Cuoco's first movie role after several years of staying firmly in the realm of TV (per IMDb). It's actually one of Cuoco's better movie roles, but that isn't saying much; this Netflix comedy is derivative of other action movies and riddled with plot holes. The Guardian called it "brainless entertainment."

In this film, bumbling fitness enthusiast Teddy (Kevin Hart) becomes entangled in the world of assassins when he is mistaken for the hitman known only as "The Man from Toronto." So Teddy needs to bluff his way out of his situation and find the real "Man from Toronto" (Woody Harrelson), who is not happy to learn that Teddy stole his moniker.

According to Culturess, Cuoco is wasted in a role that has little impact on the plot. The movie would have benefitted from more screen time for her character, but she only gets two or three scenes. Meanwhile, Gabriella Geisinger from Digital Spy appreciated Cuoco's sense of humor as a welcome break from the lowbrow jokes with Harrelson and Hart. Geisinger added, "She's the only person in the movie who seems to be having fun in any kind of organically engaged way." That makes one person, at least. Unfortunately, viewers likely won't be having quite as much fun.

Worst: Drew Peterson: Untouchable

"Drew Peterson: Untouchable" is a true crime movie from Lifetime Television about a police officer suspected of murdering not just one wife, but two. Just like in real life, Peterson (Rob Lowe) simply soaks up the media attention he gets for his believed connection to the murders, convinced that his longstanding reputation as a local police officer will make him invulnerable.

The film is based on a true story, but it doesn't always stick to the facts. This is partly because the real-life Peterson had already been indicted but wasn't officially convicted of murder until after the movie came out (per Crime Museum), so the filmmakers had to extrapolate a little. It doesn't help that Lowe's portrayal of Peterson is so over-the-top it requires suspension of disbelief, often sensationalizing the man's unforgivable behavior, wrote Pop Matters.

Kaley Cuoco plays Peterson's mistress who later becomes his fourth wife after he kills his previous wife, Kathleen Savio (Cara Buono). Brian vs. Movies argues that Cuoco did a passable job, making the most of the terrible lines that the script gave her, but he added that it's hard to take her character seriously when she's so naive. With lines like, "Everything's fine. Drew just threw me into the TV," Stacy represents a low point in Cuoco's career.

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Best: Why Him?

Kaley Cuoco has done voice-over work for the animated series "Brandy and Mr. Whiskers," and she's the star of HBO Max's "Harley Quinn." So it's not surprising that one of her best movie roles is also a voice-over. In "Why Him?," Ned (Bryan Cranston), the owner of a crumbling paper company, comes with his daughter (Zoey Deutch) to Silicon Valley to meet her fiance Laird (James Franco), a billionaire tech giant. Right from the start, Ned doesn't like Laird, and he soon finds himself asking ... well, the title of this movie. Although the conflict of old school vs. new and father vs. son-in-law certainly has potential, all of it is squandered thanks to the film's crass humor and over-the-top acting, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Despite lackluster feelings for the film overall, critics such as ScreenRant were tickled pink by Cuoco's approach to her character. As Laird's digital assistant named Justine, Cuoco plays the character less like an AI and more like a regular person. In fact, since Laird canonically says he chose an AI that sounded like Cuoco, the actress is basically doing a parody of herself. It's especially amusing whenever Cuoco sneaks in references to "The Big Bang Theory" while in character. Whenever Ned's friend Lou (Cedric the Entertainer) mistakes Justine's voice for the voice of a celebrity, Justine replies, "I wouldn't say [I'm] too famous. Y'know, million dollars a week, biggest show in the world, no big deal."

Worst: Hop

In "Hop," the Easter Bunny's teenage son E.B. (Russel Brand) would rather play the drums than take up his father's mantle. While E.B. tries to pursue his passion, he meets Fred (James Marsden), an unemployed young man experiencing similar pressure from his parents. As one would expect from a film that insists the Easter Bunny lives on Easter Island, "Hop" is lazy and obvious and doesn't make complete sense. Multiple characters, including Fred's father (Gary Cole) and Fred himself, undergo drastic personality changes whenever it's convenient for the plot — although "plot" might be too strong of a word for the script of this scatterbrained film.

Kaley Cuoco plays Fred's supportive sister Sam, and unfortunately, it's not her most dignified role. To film her character's most memorable scene, in which Sam mistakes E.B. for a plush rabbit, Cuoco needed to hug a sandbag meant to represent the CGI rabbit. Cuoco admitted it was rather awkward trying to play off a sandbag, especially after she accidentally punctured the bag and it started spilling sand everywhere. "It was very strange," she told Collider. Even when the filmmakers added in the VFX, it wasn't much of an improvement. The scene required Cuoco's character to be oblivious while the Easter Bunny stroked her hair in a decidedly romantic way. (Although E.B. was only doing it to annoy Fred, that's still pretty creepy.) We think it's safe to say that this "Big Bang Theory" star deserved a less demeaning part.

Best: Killer Movie

Fans of Kaley Cuoco may have forgotten this horror movie she stars in. "Killer Movie" couldn't be further from "The Big Bang Theory" in terms of genre, and perhaps for this reason it's a notable role in Cuoco's repertoire. Here, Cuoco steps outside of her usual range. According to ScreenRant, Cuoco uses her character, Blanca, to provide "a solid, surprisingly endearing parody of Hilton/Jessica Simpson/Kim Kardashian-esque reality television stars."

"Killer Movie" is about a Hollywood documentary crew trying to film a high school hockey team, only to be targeted by a killer who enjoys filming his victims as he murders them. This horror movie with a strong satirical vein doesn't hold a candle to other, similar movies that subvert the genre (such as "Scream" and "The Cabin in the Woods"), but it's still a decent film in its own right. Its biggest mistake, according to ScreenRant, is that it can't make up its mind whether viewers should care about the self-important film crew or enjoy watching their gruesome deaths.

YouTube team Bloodbath and Beyond pointed out that "Killer Movie" marked an interesting moment in Cuoco's career, since she had barely begun "The Big Bang Theory" and hadn't yet become famous for her sitcom role. At this point, she could have taken the route of a horror star instead. Bloodbath and Beyond argued she would have made a mighty good horror star, insisting, "It would be awesome to see her in ... other horror films down the line."

Worst: Authors Anonymous

This movie draws its title from the name of the amateur writing group that the protagonists attend. When one of the members, a girl named Hannah (Kaley Cuoco) who seems like she's never read a book in her life, manages to score a book deal (and a movie deal, to boot!), her fellow writers become consumed by jealousy. That sounds like it ought to make for amusing satire, but the problem with "Authors Anonymous" is that the film has nothing but contempt for its petty, deluded characters. All of the characters are one-dimensional caricatures except Dennis Farina's character, an endearing Tom Clancy-wannabe who signs up for a questionable self-publishing deal. Critics weren't impressed by the movie's mockumentary style, which felt trite and didn't even make sense.

Cuoco's character didn't exactly win over audiences. Perhaps this is because Hannah is basically a repeat of Penny from "The Big Bang Theory," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Or perhaps it's because Hannah becomes an overnight sensation — any writer could tell you it doesn't work that way. Certainly, the film has the start of something interesting with Cuoco's character, who may not be as big of an airhead as she seems. "Authors Anonymous" comes close to exploring the idea that maybe Hannah's lack of experience is actually a blessing since it means she has fewer inhibitions. However, this fascinating concept fades into the background, said Under the Gun Review, leaving viewers to mourn what the movie could've been.

Best: The Last Ride

Most critics agree that "The Last Ride" is a mediocre music biopic at best. Yet, believe it or not, it was one of Kaley Cuoco's best-rated films until 2022, when a Peacock Original rom-com rose to the top.

"The Last Ride" follows country music star Hank Williams (Henry Thomas) in his final days. The film explores his friendship with his driver Silas (Jesse James), who soon discovers the hard-drinking musician died of a heart attack in his backseat. Although the biopic stretches the truth a little bit — Silas is only loosely based on the real-life driver named Charles Carr (per The Atlanta Journal Constitution) — it does so in service of a competent (if not groundbreaking) story about a cynical star and his innocent young driver, wrote DVD Talk.

As a love interest named Wanda whom Silas briefly meets in a bar, Cuoco is a "striking and ... welcome presence in what is by large a dull film with a flat script," wrote The Seattle Times. The Independent Critic agreed, saying that the scenes between Wanda and Silas were among the best in the movie. In fact, Cuoco might even overshadow the leading man, since NPR insisted that the movie seems to sidestep any deep reflection on Hank Williams, instead focusing more on the man's driver and the people that Williams met on his final car ride.

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Worst: Cougar Club

In this raunchy sex comedy, law school grads Spence (Jason Jurman) and Hogan (Warren Kole) decide to form a Cougar Club, where young men can sleep with older women. The catch is that the two could get into some serious hot water if their employers find out. According to YouTuber Amy McLean, "Cougar Club" isn't a terrible movie per se, but she added that it's still inherently "offensive and degrading to women." She was kind of hoping that Spence and Hogan's rude behavior was done tongue-in-cheek and that the two leads would learn the error of their ways by the end. Alas, this was not the case. Instead, there is little conflict and no character growth (per IGN).

Film blogger Mystery Man pointed out that the female characters are all one-note. He added that he's normally a fan of Kaley Cuoco, but in this film, her character only gets on his nerves. Cuoco plays Amanda, Spence's girlfriend who keeps nudging him to get married and later catches him cheating on her with somebody from the Cougar Club. While it's certainly refreshing to see a film that doesn't shame its characters for liking older women, "Cougar Club" has a number of problematic implications, including the exaggerated portrayal of Cuoco's character as shrill, clingy, and downright mean, despite that Spence is the one who cheated on her. If you're looking to have a Cuoco movie marathon, you'd better put this one back in the DVD bargain bin.

Best: Burning Bodhi

"Burning Bodhi" is a very serious film with a punny title. After learning that their friend Bodhi has died prematurely, several friends from high school get back together again. But rather than attending Bodhi's cremation, which they fear will be too depressing, Ember (Cody Horn), Dylan (Landon Liboiron), Katy (Kaley Cuoco), and the others decide instead to host a "FUN-eral" for their friend (another pun).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Burning Bodhi" boasts some brilliant acting and mature themes. It's a decent film about grief and how young people cope with it, said Movie Nation, even if it does feel a bit too reminiscent of "The Big Chill" and doesn't have quite the same impact.

Here, Cuoco shines in one of her few movie roles that is dramatic, instead of comedic. Expertly sidestepping stereotypes, Cuoco gives a subtle and moving portrayal of a single mother struggling with drug addiction. The Young Folks said Cuoco was perfect for the part and argued that it was the best role of her career. So "Burning Bodhi" definitely makes the case for why this actress from "The Big Bang Theory" ought to participate in drama films more often.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Worst: The Wedding Ringer

As far as raunchy wedding comedies go, "The Wedding Ringer" leaves much to be desired. The movie attempts to throw together a bunch of scatological jokes, cast some big stars, and call it a comedy. The result is a painfully unfunny movie, wrote The Hollywood Reporter. All the comedic actors involved are capable of so much more. Unsurprisingly, it's Kaley Cuoco's worst film.

The plot: Groom-to-be Doug (Josh Gad) wants to hold an amazing wedding for his fiancee Gretchen (Cuoco), but he can't even round up enough groomsmen, due to his complete and utter lack of friends. So he does what any sensible person would do — rather than tell his fiancee the truth, he hires a professional wedding planner (Kevin Hart) to supply him with a bunch of men to pretend to be his groomsmen.

ScreenRant argued that Cuoco's portrayal of Gretchen is one-dimensional and over-the-top, a far cry from Penny from "The Big Bang Theory." "Her arc goes from boring and vapid to just plain nasty," added No More Workhorse. And in case there's any doubt as to how terrible her performance was, Cuoco was honored (if you could call it such) with the Razzie Award for worst supporting actress (per The Hollywood Reporter). We wonder if the Golden Raspberry bestowed upon her was one of the factors that convinced Cuoco to step away from the big screen and focus primarily on TV shows.

Best: Meet Cute

Hands down, the best Kaley Cuoco movie is "Meet Cute," a Peacock Original romcom with a clever time-travel twist. When Sheila (Cuoco) discovers a tanning bed that allows her to go back in time, she uses it to re-live a date with her boyfriend Gary (Pete Davidson) over and over again. However, she soon discovers that dates aren't nearly as fun the seventh time around, and she decides that maybe she should use her newfound abilities to change her boyfriend's past, without even getting his permission first. Cinemablend wrote that this wicked-smart comedy explores some fascinating philosophical ideas (while thankfully not taking the time-travel tanning bed too seriously).

In this film, Cuoco shows off her comic chops while also delving expertly into more serious material. It's a tightrope she walks expertly. According to Collider, she "effortlessly leans into some of the absurdity and anchors Sheila's more grounded moments of despair." Sheila is an unreliable narrator, and there's way more to the character than meets the eye. Funnily enough, the actress might even be playing with fans' expectations. Knowing she has a reputation for playing bright and chirpy love interests like Penny, she deliberately subverts these expectations by adding layers of deception to her character. If "Meet Cute" is any indication of the direction Cuoco is going with her career, then we can't wait to see what she is going to do next.