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Zoey Deutch's 7 Best And 7 Worst Movies Ranked

Zoey Deutch was basically destined for a life in show business. Her father, Howard Deutch, was the director of iconic films like "Pretty in Pink" and "The Great Outdoors," while her mother is Lea Thompson, who famously starred in 80s movies like the "Back to the Future" trilogy and "Howard the Duck." It wasn't long before their daughter took up acting classes as a child, and early on, she was cast in a recurring role on "The Suite Life on Deck," officially welcoming her to the world of Disney teen stardom.

Throughout the early 2010s, Zoey booked roles left and right, including a cameo in Marc Webb's "The Amazing Spider-Man" and small roles in TV shows like "NCIS" and "Switched at Birth." Her big break would come as she began booking more principal roles in films throughout the late 2010s, eventually establishing herself as a leading lady by the 2020s. Around this time, she even co-starred in the music video for Ed Sheeran's hit song "Perfect" in 2017. 

These days, Zoey Deutch is well on her way to becoming a future Hollywood icon. She's appeared in many great films throughout the course of her brief but extensive career, as well as several films that audiences would likely prefer to forget. Either way, each film helped establish Zoey as a powerful actress carrying on her family's well-earned legacy. 

WORST: The Year of Spectacular Men

On the subject of Zoey Deutch's family, in 2017 she starred in "The Year of Spectacular Men," which was quite the family affair for the up-and-coming actress. The film was the directorial debut on her mother, Lea Thompson, who also stars in the film alongside Zoey and her sister, Madelyn, who penned the script. Howard Deutch also served as a producer on the project, which finds Thompson and her two real-life daughters starring as a mother-and-two-daughters trio in this film as well.

"The Year of Spectacular Men" mostly revolves around Madelyn Deutch as Izzy, a recent college graduate who strikes up several relationships with older men. Zoey plays Izzy's younger, happier sister Sabrina, with a recurring cast including Brandon T. Jackson and Nicholas Braun. Despite the thrill one might get from seeing the Deutch family come together for this projects, critics were mostly unimpressed with the film.

Some critics praised the obvious chemistry between Thompson and her daughters on-screen, as well as the film's charm and message. However, the biggest issue critics had with the movie was Madelyn Deutch's script, which has been called "inconsistent" and "faulty" (via The Hollywood Reporter). While it may not be the kind of film audiences should run to go see, few would probably regret watching something this cozy and well put-together. 

BEST: Before I Fall

Also in 2017, Zoey Deutch starred in the Sisyphean science-fiction drama "Before I Fall." Based on a 2010 novel by Lauren Oliver, Zoey stars as Samantha, a teenage girl planning to lose her virginity to her boyfriend at a party. However, a sudden and fatal car crash sends Samantha back to the morning before, as she slowly realizes she's stuck in a time loop. For fans of films like "Groundhog Day" or 2020's "Palm Springs," this film's for you.

Of course, Samantha's realization that she's in a time loop doesn't result in as much fun antics as those other two movies. Instead, Samantha uses the time loop to understand more about her friends, why they keep getting killed, and how to end it. It's a great platform for Zoey Deutch to flex some strong acting chops, as her performance carries most of this film. Critics felt the same, positively comparing the film to "Groundhog Day" while praising its modern take on the time loop tropes. 

Nevertheless, some critics had issues with the film's ending, particularly due to the fact that — spoiler alert! — Samantha sacrifices herself to save an unpopular girl, who turned out to be the target of the car crash that killed her. Reviewers in 2017 felt like the ending was unsatisfying, but perhaps the tragedy of its ending is what sets it apart from time loop films of the past. 

WORST: Flower

"Flower," also released in 2017, placed Zoey Deutch front-and-center in a film chock full of comedy legends, including Kathryn Hahn and Tim Heidecker. Directed by Max Winkler, "Flower" finds Deutch playing Erica, a teenager who traps pedophiles and extorts money from them. However, her plans go south when she unexpectedly falls for Will, an adult man played by Adam Scott who allegedly sexually assaulted a family friend, Luke, played by Joey Morgan.

In a review by The Wrap, Deutch is praised for her acting chops, as are the rest of the cast members, but still, that doesn't save this film from mediocrity. The film finds Deutch perfectly walking the tightrope between Erica's savvy manipulative nature and her vulnerable empathetic qualities. The rest of the movie, however, left The Wrap unsatisfied, particularly relating to its plot twists and "cartoonish ... escalation of stakes" during the film's second half. 

These plot twists may be enough to turn off audience members who are even slightly curious about watching "Flower." To save those audience members the trouble, it's revealed that Will did not assault Luke, but another student, though this revelation for Erica comes too late, as Will is accidentally killed before this during their attempted framing of him. If you're looking for a ridiculous late-night watch with friends, perhaps there's something to salvage here, particularly in Deutch's charismatic performance

BEST: Zombieland: Double Tap

The 2009 film "Zombieland" was a critical and commercial success, following an unlikely group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse played by Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. Ten years after its release, the original cast reunited for a long-awaited sequel, "Zombieland: Double Tap" in 2019. Zoey Deutch joined the cast then, playing a ditzy blonde named Madison who the gang encounter living in an abandoned shopping mall. 

Entering a film chock-full of great actors, Zoey Deutch is a certified scene stealer as Madison, who is initially left behind by the group after showing signs of turning into zombie. To the annoyance of Harrelson's Tallahassee, Madison reappears later, as her symptoms actually the result of a nut allergy. Upon the film's release, Madison was the breakout character, with many fans campaigning for her to get her own spin-off film

Fortunately, critics had more positive things to say about the rest of the movie as well. Though some felt it didn't live up to the original, Deutch and Emma Stone were named by reviewers as highlights of the film. Praise was saved for some of the film's other new cast members, including Thomas Middleditch, Luke Wilson, and Rosario Dawson. Overall, it's a worthy sequel to a beloved blockbuster, and Zoey Deutch gets an incredibly opportunity to showcase her prowess as comic relief.

WORST: Why Him?

Just prior to "Zombieland: Double Tap," Zoey Deutch had another opportunity at a star-studded studio comedy with "Why Him?" Deutch stars as the daughter of Bryan Cranston's Ned, who is horrified when he learns that his daughter is dating James Franco's potty-mouthed, often shirtless video game developer. It's a classic dynamic: the father versus his daughter's boyfriend mostly driven by the comedic chemistry between Cranston and Franco, with supporting roles including Megan Mullally as Deutch's mother and Keegan-Michael Key as Franco's butler. 

Sadly, the film doesn't quite live up to the potential of its talented cast. Many critics panned "Why Him?" for its crass humor, which is not just limited to Franco's character's use of foul language around his girlfriend's parents. Some publications, like The Hollywood Reporter, even framed "Why Him?" as an example of what was wrong with mid-2010s R-rated comedies.

While it may have some stand-out moments and bloopers that will entertain YouTube watchers, the movie, in its entirety, doesn't have a lot going for it. Ultimately, the film's take on generational differences and father vs. son-in-law dynamics isn't very interesting. It's not even comparable in quality to comedies with similar premises like "Meet the Parents" (via The New York Times). At the very least, it has a charismatic cast to make up for it — including Deutch. 

BEST: Not Okay

"Not Okay," a savvy Hulu original, is Deutch's second turn starring alongside "Maze Runner" star and Taylor Swift music video antagonist Dylan O'Brien. Deutch stars as Danni, a photo editor desperate to impress her co-worker, a social media influencer named Colin, played by O'Brien. However, Danni's attempts to lie to Colin send her down a cyclone of stacking lies on top of another, faking her witnessing of a Parisian terrorist attack, ultimately gaining fame as a politically-charged influencer. 

As one would expect, the sudden fame and attention Danni receives as a result of her lie puts intense pressure on her mental health. By the time Danni comes to terms with what she's done, as well as the people she's manipulated and hurt, it's too late for her to earn forgiveness. The film has a pretty bleak ending, showing Danni incapable of making amends with Rowan, a teenage activist that she deceived. However, the film's exploration of mental health and social media gave a lot of room for Deutch to give a nuanced performance.

Fortunately, critics vehemently agreed that Zoey Deutch carried the movie thanks to her portrayal of Danni. Some critics felt the script was lacking and the film as a whole was underwhelming, but a vast majority praised its messaging and tone. Nevertheless, it's proof that Deutch has become a master at portraying characters who may not be the easiest to root for. 

WORST: Good Kids

Released in 2016, "Good Kids" follows a group of high school friends who, realizing they've wasted four years without partying, cram their final summer with as many wild antics as they can before parting ways for college. If this premise sounds familiar, it's likely because you've watched Olivia Wilde's 2019 directorial debut "Booksmart," or perhaps the Judd Apatow-produced classic "Superbad." Sadly, "Good Kids" doesn't do enough to stand out in this subgenre of films.

Nevertheless, Zoey Deutch shines alongside the rest of the cast, including future "Succession" star Nicholas Braun, Israel Broussard, and Mateo Arias. The foursome get into some pretty insane antics over the course of this summer, even for a movie like this. Braun's character Andy finds himself sleeping with his women's tennis students for money, while Deutch's Nora explores a summer romance with an older man that leaves her feeling used. By the end of the movie, Andy and Nora express their love for each other as they confidently enter college. 

Though the movie has enough charm and emotional resonance for some audience members, critics pointed out its uneven pace and trope-filled plot as a major weakness (via The Playlist). Less generous reviewers claimed that "Good Kids" was lacking in direction and lifeless in depth. It's probably safe to say that its two main stars, Deutch and Braun, are better utilized in other films or TV shows. 

BEST: Buffaloed

One of Zoey Deutch's most critically-acclaimed roles came with the 2019 crime comedy "Buffaloed." Deutch stars alongside Judy Greer, Jermaine Fowler, and Noah Reid as Peg Dahl, a petty hustler in New York struggling to clear her family of debt. After a brief stint in prison for selling counterfeit football tickets, Peg gets involved in the business of debt collection. Soon enough, she rises in the ranks and becomes a corrupt businesswoman of her own, which eventually leads to even more devastating consequences for her and her family.

Though the role of Peg shares a lot of similarities with characters Zoey Deutch has played in the past, such as Erica from "Flower," Deutch does an incredible job of making the character distinct. In a review at The Wrap, Deutch's performance was praised for capturing the narcissistic edge of this character, even at the cost of her likability. Other reviews likened the film in tone and snappy dialogue to 2015's "The Big Short" (via The New York Times). 

Where the movie really excelled is outside of the screen, however. In a promotional collaboration with the nonprofit organization RIP Medical Debt, Magnolia Pictures donated $1.5 million to eliminate medical debt in the United States. In addition to being a fast-paced, exciting comedy helmed by Deutch, "Buffaloed" also commits to its message of criticizing the debt collection industry with real-life action, which other politically-themed films may not be able to boast. 

WORST: Rebel in the Rye

A movie like "Rebel in the Rye" is doomed from the get-go. The biopic stars Nicholas Hoult as J.D. Salinger, the famed author of the American classic novel "Catcher in the Rye." Notably, the real-life Salinger was reclusive and stayed out of the public eye until his death in 2010, so a film coming out less than a decade later dramatizing his life was sure to anger critics. Unfortunately, that's hardly where the issues end with "Rebel in the Rye," which also stars Zoey Deutch as Salinger's romantic interest, Oona O'Neill, the real-life daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill and future spouse of Charlie Chaplin. 

Following his time in World War II and the publication of "Catcher in the Rye," "Rebel in the Rye" also stars Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, and Lucy Boynton in supporting roles. Based on a biography written by Kenneth Slawenski, it premiered at Sundance in 2017, garnering reviews from critics that praised its use of the biopic genre but lack of exploration into Salinger's decision to become a hermit. Other reviews would be less kind, criticizing director Danny Strong's surface-level interpretation of Salinger's character and, ironically, calling the movie as a whole "phony."

At the very least, Deutch does a decent job at bringing charm to the role of Oona O'Neill, who she described as an elitist who breaks J.D. Salinger's heart. Leave it to Zoey Deutch to do her finest work playing morally compromised women. 

BEST: The Outfit

"The Outfit" was another opportunity for Zoey Deutch and Dylan O'Brien to play love interests, but the film itself is more complex than that. The 2022 film was the directorial debut of Graham Moore, notable for writing the Oscar-winning Alan Turing biopic "The Imitation Game." Mark Rylance stars as the film's lead, Leonard, a tailor in 1950s Chicago who finds himself intertwined with the Irish mob — and interestingly, all of the film's action takes place within Leonard's shop. 

Zoey Deutch plays a large role in the film as Mabel, Leonard's assistant, who is pulled into the film's whodunit mystery by proxy. Nevertheless, it's an incredibly strong performance from Deutch, who actively pursued the role after reading Moore's script and being blown away by how thoughtful and complex it was for such a simplistic story. Fortunately, critics felt the same way, praising Moore's direction and particularly Deutch for stealing yet another movie from its blockbuster stars (via The Movie Mensch). 

Another review in Awards Radar praised Zoey's performance as a career-best, especially next to the likes of Rylance and O'Brien. As that review states, "The Outfit" is "an acting showcase," with any of its flaws or faults smoothed over by the strength of watching these performers bounce off each other like a stage play. Deutch, more than most, does the heavy lifting of the movie's most emotional moments. 

WORST: Vampire Academy

"Vampire Academy," released in 2014, was the first starring role in a film for Zoey Deutch. Directed by Mark Waters, who previously helmed films like "Mean Girls" and "Freaky Friday," the film was based on a novel series written by Richelle Mead. Predictably, this adaptation was an attempt to follow-up the success of the "Twilight" movies, which had capped off with a fourth and final film two years prior. "Vampire Academy" pales (no pun intended) in comparison to those novel adaptations, which skyrocketed the careers of stars like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. 

Deutch stars as Rose, the film's protagonist and daughter of a human and vampire. Early in the film, Rose is forced to enroll in the titular school, where she must learn to protect a race of vampires with average lifespans. As one would expect, Rose begins to discover some nefarious deeds lurking in the shadows of her school, pertaining to the disappearances of students and teachers. Despite ending on a cliffhanger promising future films, "Vampire Academy" was a box office bomb, garnering unflattering reviews that called it incoherent and a disaster (via Rolling Stone).

The one diamond in the rough, depending on who you ask, was Zoey Deutch. One reviewer positively compared her to Elliot Page's performance in "Juno,"  naming Deutch as the film's breakout performer. Thankfully, Deutch's success came to pass, even without seeing the "Vampire Academy" franchise to its unnecessary conclusion. 

BEST: Everybody Wants Some!!

Two years after starring in "Vampire Academy," Zoey Deutch quickly gained industry cred appearing in a film by iconic filmmaker Richard Linklater. The director has been responsible for some of the most earnest, crowd-pleasing films of the past 20 years, including "School of Rock," "Boyhood," and the "Before" trilogy. It definitely feels like "Everybody Wants Some!!" is one of Linklater's best and most nostalgic projects, following a group of college kids in the 1980s who move in together in a house off-campus before the start of their freshman year.

The film contains enough 1980s college student shenanigans one would anticipate from a film like this, including punk concerts, costume parties, and bar-hopping. However, the real heart of the film rests with Zoey Deutch's character, Beverly, who is the object of desire for Blake Jenner's lead character, Jake. In-between parties and rowdy experiences with his friends, Jake woos Beverly, and they eventually begin dating before college classes start. 

In a review in The New Yorker, "Everybody Wants Some!!" was named Linklater's most personal and sharp film to date. Though Deutch mostly takes a backseat for the film's boy-centric adventures, the romantic aspect of Jake's story was praised by critics for imbuing the movie with heart and charm. Notably, this would become a recurring aspect of Deutch's performances in future films, adding in a sweetness to movies where there otherwise wouldn't be. 

WORST: Dirty Grandpa

Many actors are probably used to appearing in films that don't quite hit the mark for audiences. It's another thing to appear in a film like "Dirty Grandpa," which garnered an almost staggering amount of negative responses upon release. One reviewer for IndieWire claimed it was so bad, "[it] needs to be studied so that what's depicted here can never, ever happen again." It's a surprise reaction given how much talent was involved in the film; it was directed by Dan Mazer, who previously worked with Sacha Baron Cohen as a writer and producer on "Borat" and "Bruno." 

"Dirty Grandpa" stars Robert De Niro as the film's titular character, who accompanies his grandson Jason, played by Zac Efron, on a road trip to Florida to attend Jason's wedding. Along the way, De Niro's character (named "Dick," because of course he is) takes his grandson on detours to flirt with Aubrey Plaza's character, who equally matches Dick in dirtiness. Along the way, Jason strikes up a flirtation with Zoey Deutch's character, which forces him to second-guess his impending wedding. 

Aside from the crass humor one would expect from a film featuring a sex scene between Robert De Niro and Aubrey Plaza, critics also tore the film apart for humor that was deemed offensive in several different ways. Nevertheless, Deutch spoke highly of her experience making the film and working with De Niro and Efron, so at least she got something out of it (via Variety). 

BEST: Set It Up

With the 2018 Netflix film "Set It Up," Zoey Deutch cemented herself as a potential romantic comedy queen. She stars in the film alongside Glen Powell, who previously appeared alongside Deutch in "Everybody Wants Some!!" Here, the two play overworked assistants to their bosses, played by Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu. Determined to ease their respective workplace pressures, Deutch and Powell's characters team up to arrange a meet-cute for their bosses, hoping that a romantic life for each of them will relieve how high-strung they are.

When their plan works, however, Deutch and Powell's characters find themselves pining for each other, but don't pursue it. In typical rom-com fashion, the strains on their bosses' relationship ends up straining their own friendship, only for them to come back together by the movie's end and pursue their burgeoning love for each other. "Set It Up" proves to be a classic, smart romantic comedy with fireworks between its leads and one particularly iconic scene involving a shared pizza that resulted in some behind-the-scenes turmoil for Deutch

Critics had lots of glowing things to say about Deutch, Powell, and the film as a whole. Some reviews claimed it's a perfect film for those who miss the good ol' days of 2000s romantic-comedies, while others commemorated the film as Netflix's best original rom-com — largely thanks to Deutch's performance alongside Powell.