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Why Simon From Sweet Girl Looks So Familiar

Brian Mendoza's "Sweet Girl" has officially hit the streaming world. An action programmer for Netflix, the film tells the story of a man on a quest to avenge the murder of his wife while keeping his daughter out of harm's way. The film offers a headlining role to "Game of Thrones" and "Aquaman" star Jason Momoa and features some familiar faces, including "The First Purge" actress Lex Scott Davis and "Heat" actress Amy Brenneman.

One actor from the film who may look incredibly familiar to some audiences is the one who portrays a character known as Simon Keely in the film. That's because the character is portrayed by none other than Justin Bartha in "Sweet Girl." If you think you have seen Justin Bartha in a movie before, that's because you likely have. With that in mind, let's dive into some of his notable credits where you might have seen the actor over the years.

He played Brian in Gigli

Bartha came out of the gates swinging with his first-ever feature. The actor's first appearance in a major motion picture came in 2003 with the debut of Martin Brest's "Gigli." Infamous for the on-screen coupling of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, "Gigli" saw Bartha take on the role of Brian, a mentally handicapped, "Baywatch"-obsessed brother of a federal prosecutor.

If you spent any amount of time following film culture in the 2000s, then you likely already know that "Gigli" turned out to be a monumental catastrophe. With a mere 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has since gone on to become synonymous with flops. That being said, one thing worth noting about "Gigli" is that, for all of the conversation about how bad it is, Bartha does not tend to get the brunt of those criticisms. Even with all of the bad reviews, Bartha's first feature was far from his last, and he went on to some truly great films after appearing in the notorious Bennifer crime comedy.

He stole the Declaration of Independence in National Treasure

The year after his feature breakout as the third lead in "Gigli," Bartha took on another third-lead performance, but one that would prove far more popular. Starring alongside Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger in Jon Turtletaub's "National Treasure," Bartha got his first taste of true blockbuster filmmaking. In the now-iconic Disney adventure movie, Bartha stars as Riley, the sidekick to Cage's Benjamin Franklin Gates, as the two team up to steal the Declaration of Independence. The reason for their heist? They're trying to keep it from a group of treasure hunters who want to use a map on the back of the document to find the greatest treasure the world has ever known.

"National Treasure" was a surprise box office hit when it debuted in 2004. Sensing it had a potential franchise on its hands, Disney subsequently brought Bartha, Cage, and Kruger back for "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" in 2007. The sequel didn't fare quite as well with critics, but the legacy of the original (plus Bartha's chemistry with Cage) has kept fans clamoring for a third installment in the series for years. A TV series based on "National Treasure" is currently in the works at Disney+ (per Deadline), and while there have been rumors of "National Treasure 3" brewing for some time, we still know very little about the project, or if it will even materialize at all.

He was one of Matthew McConaughey's buddies in Failure to Launch

No stranger to the romantic comedy landscape throughout his career, Bartha made one of his more notable rom-com appearances in 2006's "Failure to Launch." Starring alongside Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bradley Cooper, and Zoey Deschanel, among others, Bartha portrayed a character named Ace. Like McConaughey's Tripp, Ace is a comedic character (Bartha's strong suit) who lives with his parents well into adulthood and doesn't seem to mind it all that much. Though the film is primarily about the relationship between McConaughey and Parker, Bartha gets in on the romance in a scene-stealing subplot involving him and Deschanel.

Despite a strong premise and good chemistry among the cast, "Failure to Launch" ultimately didn't fare well with critics. The film has a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes, and could arguably be considered one of the lower-quality Matthew McConaughey-fronted romantic comedies. That being said, the underperformance of the film could also arguably be credited with the eventual "McConaissance" that occurred in 2011 with the actor's roles in projects like "True Detective" and "Magic Mike."

He dated Catherine Zeta-Jones in The Rebound

Bartha got to take the lead in his very own romantic comedy when "The Rebound" debuted. Starring in the film as Aram, along with Catherine Zeta-Jones, the film focuses on two New Yorkers who strike up a romantic relationship despite their wide age difference. One of the most interesting elements of "The Rebound" is the fact that it allowed Bartha to finally ascend to star status. In many of the previous films on this list, he found himself saddled with friend roles or supporting roles to the main protagonists. With "The Rebound" he got to take center stage alongside Zeta-Jones and flex his leading man muscles in ways that he rarely got to do before.

Another interesting wrinkle in "The Rebound" story is that the film was shelved for years. Though initially slated for release in 2009, the film had to be tabled when its distributor shut down. As a result, "The Rebound" did not get a proper release until 2012, and according to the Los Angeles Times it ended up going straight to DVD.

He disappeared in The Hangover series

Bartha has become associated with some big franchises during his time in Hollywood, but arguably his biggest surprise box office hit franchise (via The Numbers) is one where he has comparatively less screen time than his fellow co-stars. Specifically, we refer to his role as Doug in Todd Phillips' "The Hangover" franchise. In the first film, Doug is the central MacGuffin of the story, going missing after an accidental, ecstasy-fueled night on the town in Sin City.

Though less critically successful than the original film, the sequels in "The Hangover" franchise always found something for Doug to do even after his safe return at the end of the first film. In "The Hangover Part II," Doug is spared from the Bangkok chaos by choosing to stay back with his wife Tracy (Sasha Barrese). In contrast, in "The Hangover Part III," Doug is kidnapped by Marshall (John Goodman), who forces the main trio of The Wolfpack to go on a rescue mission and get him back. Now, with "The Hangover 4" unlikely to ever materialize, it seems that we may have seen the last of Doug.

Those are some of the biggest and best films that you may recognize Justin Bartha from over the years. He has had a long and successful career in Hollywood, and the release of "Sweet Girl" proves that he's not done yet. "Sweet Girl" is now streaming on Netflix.