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Michael Cera's 7 Best And 7 Worst Movies Ranked

Michael Cera began his career as a child actor, appearing in children's television series like "My Best Friend is an Alien," "The Berenstain Bears," and "Rolie Polie Olie," as well as small roles in films like "Steal This Movie" and "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind." But it was his role as George Michael on the Fox sitcom "Arrested Development" that shot him into the public consciousness. Leading roles in films like "Superbad" and "Juno" cemented Cera as a Hollywood star.

While Cera has starred in a good amount of memorable films, he's also featured in his share of clunkers. So, which are his best and which are his worst? 

Setting aside smaller cameo appearances ("Frequency," the Olsen twins comedy "Switching Goals") and animated films ("The LEGO Batman Movie," "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank," "Sausage Party") here's a breakdown of the Canadian-born funnyman's best and worst live-action movies.

Worst: Paper Heart (2009)

On its surface, "Paper Heart" appeared to follow comedian/actress Charlyne Yi as she filmed a documentary about love. In truth, it was a misguided attempt at something a bit more high-concept.

Interviewing children, old couples, scientists, and famous pals like Seth Rogen and Demetri Martin, she bumps into actor Michael Cera over the course of the production, and the two seemingly begin to form a romantic relationship, made difficult when under the constant watch of a documentary film crew.

While the interviews are real, the romantic subplot with Cera is wholly fictional; while "Paper Heart" is co-written and directed by Nicholas Jasenovec, Jake Johnson portrays Jasenovec in the film. 

This mix of real life and fiction — very hip in the late '00s thanks to "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the Christopher Guest movies, the original "Borat" movie and other projects — never got itself into the orbit of its peers, leaving viewers feeling deceived and reviewers unimpressed. Some felt like the fictional aspects made the real aspects feel less genuine or distracted from the point. Others enjoyed the fictional aspects, but felt like it was just padding for an already thin documentary.

Though there are some things to be enjoyed in "Paper Heart," it doesn't all come together in a satisfactory whole. While Cera gets a shout-out for being there as a leading man for his fellow Apatow-player friend's would-be starmaking vehicle, the result lands itself at the bottom of Cera's filmography.

Best: Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus (2013)

Jamie (Cera) travels through Chile with his three friends Champa (Juan Andrés Silva), Lel (José Miguel Silva), and Pilo (Agustín Silva) on a quest to find a hallucinogenic cactus. Their journey is hampered when a New Age-obsessed woman named Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) decides to tag along with them.

2013's "Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus" might be a little light on plot, but it more than makes up for it with atmosphere and performances. Critics praised Cera and Hoffmann's commitment to their characters, adding surprisingly deep dimensions, seemingly via improv. Hoffmann even went a step further, enhancing the reality of her role by performing while actually under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

Though a lesser-known Michael Cera film, "Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus" is one worth seeking out.

Worst: Person to Person (2017)

In a single day in New York City, an assortment of characters go about their lives in 2017's "Person to Person." It was a departure for Cera, one that in retrospect wasn't worth making.

Among the characters in the film are a man chasing down a rare vinyl album (Benny (Bene Coopersmith), a pair of journalists investigating a potential homicide (Cera and Abbi Jacobsen), a regretful man (George Sample III) who posts images of his ex online, and a teenager (Tavi Gevinson) stuck hanging out with her friend (Olivia Luccardi) and boring boyfriend.

While some critics found the characters engaging, most found them to be broad stereotypes. The multiple plotlines occasionally intersect, but add nothing interesting to the mix. The film plods along, only occasionally offering insight or humor — but largely, it has little to say.

Despite a cast of quirky characters, "Person to Person" failed to connect with its audience.

Best: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)

Based on the popular book of the same name by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, 2008's "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" was a romantic teen comedy following heartbroken bassist Nick (Michael Cera) and fellow music lover Norah (Kat Dennings).

As the couple pretends to be dating, searches for a secret indie band show, and tracks down Norah's drunken friend Caroline (Ari Graynor), wild adventures ensue. Though Nick pines for his ex Tris (Alexis Dziena) and Norah appears to be in a relationship with Tal (Jay Baruchel), the two are surprised to discover they might work out better together.

The delightful film features a talented comedic cast, powering a fun, smile-inducing plotline. Winning over critics and audiences, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" earned over three times its budget at the box office.

The film helped establish Cera as not only a funnyman, but an unorthodox romantic leading man as well. "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" is a story you'll want to put on repeat.

Worst: Magic Magic (2013)

California native Alicia (Juno Temple) travels to Chile to visit her cousin Sara (Emily Browning). The two plan on going to an island with Sara's boyfriend Agustín (Agustín Silva), his sister Bárbara (Catalina Sandino Moreno), and his friend Brink (Michael Cera). However, when Sara abandons the trip to take an exam, Alicia finds herself in an increasingly hostile environment and begins to doubt her own sanity.

Critics were quick to praise director Sebastián Silva's artistic visuals, but were less impressed with the muddled plot and tonal shifts in 2013's "Magic Magic." Bordering between a moody horror film and psychological drama, the film basically seems to give up and ends with seemingly no conclusion.

While the confused "Magic Magic" is a disappointment for Michael Cera fans, Silva and Cera re-teamed the same year to bring to life the much more acclaimed film "Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus."

Best: This is the End (2013)

2013's apocalyptic comedy "This is the End" begins with actor Jay Baruchel visiting his friend Seth Rogen in Los Angeles. The two head to a party hosted by James Franco and filled to the brim with celebrities like Cera, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Emma Watson. The festivities are quickly interrupted by the arrival of a demonic apocalypse destroying Los Angeles, killing vast swaths of self-absorbed famous folk.

Though some critics cited a lack of plot, most felt the film's cracks were plastered over effectively by a wide cast of actors game for parodying their public images. Michael Cera playing against his normally laid-back type as a rowdy drug-addled party boy was a particularly hilarious standout, with his eventual fate kicking the movie into high gear.

A moderate financial success as well as a critical one, "This is the End" is a delightful take on the end of the world with a cast of famous faces.

Worst: Tyrel (2018)

Despite the film's title, 2018's "Tyrel" actually tells the story of Tyler (Jason Mitchell), the lone black man at a cabin weekend getaway (when newly-introduced to a white guy, he calls him "Tyrel"). Soon Tyler finds himself struggling to cope with the multiple microaggressions unknowingly committed by his white friends (Christopher Abbott, Michael Cera, Caleb Landry Jones, Roddy Bottum).

Marketed as a film in the same vein as Jordan Peele's racially charged horror masterpiece "Get Out," critics and audiences were far less impressed with Sebastián Silva's more subdued "Tyrel." Despite subtle character interactions that are occasionally amusing, the film is burdened by a profound lack of plot.

Though an admirable effort to shed light on racial dynamics, "Tyrel" fails to keep the attention of its audience, ultimately failing to coalesce into a fully realized story. While you have to commend Michael Cera on accepting independent, daring work — as he has for his entire career — this choice was a misstep.

Best: Molly's Game (2017)

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) begins working at underground poker games attended by wealthy and famous players. When her employer (Jeremy Strong) fires her for being too good at it, she starts her own game and takes most of his clientele, including famous film star Player X (Michael Cera). However, she soon finds herself in with the Russian mafia and being investigated by the FBI. It seems like everyone wants in on "Molly's Game."

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin based on an incredible true story, "Molly's Game" won over critics with its Sorkin-fueled dialogue and strong performances from a talented cast including Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Chris O'Dowd. The film's script even earned Sorkin an Oscar nomination.

Based on an amalgamation of celebrity poker players inspired by the likes of Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire, and Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Cera's high-stakes performance in "Molly's Game" is one of his most underrated.

Worst: Lemon (2017)

Isaac Lachmann (Brett Gelman) is having a terrible time. His blind girlfriend Ramona (Judy Greer) has left him, he is jealous of a student in his acting class named Alex (Michael Cera), and his attempts to date a new woman named Cleopatra (Nia Long) go as awkwardly as possible, especially when he kidnaps her aunt while under the influence of drugs. On top of all this, Isaac makes things even worse by just being generally unpleasant.

While there's some decent comedy in the film, the purposefully grating main character of 2017's "Lemon" turned viewers away. Though some critics praised the direction by "Zola" director Janicza Bravo, it wasn't enough to overcome the severe dislike for the film's characters.

While Michael Cera doesn't leave as much of a sour taste in one's mouth as the film's central character does, it seems like "Lemon" certainly lives up to its apt title.

Best: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Edgar Wright's 2010 action comedy "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" tells the story of Scott Pilgrim (Cera), bassist for the indie band Sex Bob-Omb. Though Scott is dating high schooler Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), he finds himself attracted to an American delivery woman named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). However, when he pursues a romantic relationship, he discovers he will have to duel her seven evil exes, while also confronting his own ex Envy Adams (Brie Larson) and his various personal failings.

Though the film was a box office flop, the stylish comic book adaptation won over many critics. The movie's frenetic pace, video game and comic book-inspired special effects, and performances by its star-studded cast gained a cult following, if not mainstream success.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" leveled up Michael Cera into an unlikely action star without losing his comic sensibilities or charm.

Worst: Year One (2009)

The final film written and directed by Harold Ramis, 2009's "Year One" teams up Jack Black and Cera as a pair of less than sophisticated cavemen kicked out of their tribe after eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They ] find themselves encountering various Biblical characters like Cain (David Cross), Abel (Paul Rudd), Abraham (Hank Azaria), and Issac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) as they pursue romantic relationships with Eema (Juno Temple) and Princess Inanna (Olivia Wilde).

Despite top comedic talent both on-screen and behind the scenes, "Year One" was a disaster that barely even made its money back. Bogged down by a threadbare script, critics and audiences found the film's humor juvenile at best and offensive at worst, while others found the pairing of Black and Cera a mismatch.

Despite an intriguing set of ingredients, "Year One" fails to evolve out of its comedic primordial soup, making it the second worst Michael Cera film.

Best: Superbad (2007)

Michael Cera landed his first feature film as high school senior Evan in the 2007 teen comedy "Superbad." 

Cera starred opposite Jonah Hill, who portrayed Evan's best friend Seth. Together they attempt to score some booze for a party in which they hope to woo some ladies. After their other friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is seemingly foiled in acquiring alcohol with his fake ID inscribed with the singular name McLovin, Seth and Evan find themselves involved in a series of escalating situations while learning more about themselves along the way.

The film won over critics and audiences with its vulgar comedy underscored by genuine heart and realistic teenagers. "Superbad" was also a financial success, grossing over $170 million against its $20 million budget. Featuring a talented cast that also includes Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, Emma Stone, and Joe Lo Truglio, the movie is a comedic powerhouse.

In addition to being hilarious, "Superbad" proved that Michael Cera could command the big screen as expertly as he does the television screen.

Worst: Extreme Movie (2008)

More a series of loosely connected skits than an actual film, 2008's "Extreme Movie" is a raunchy teen comedy that includes Matthew Lillard giving sex advice, Andy Milonakis falling in love with an adult toy, Kevin Hart creating the girl of his dreams with a computer but getting more than he bargained for, and Michael Cera attempting a sexy rendezvous with his online partner while winding up in the wrong apartment. Frankie Muniz, Jamie Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and puppets also feature in this bizarre amalgamation of a movie.

With an audience score barely over 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an incredibly low user score on IMDb, it comes as no surprise that this shockingly unfunny film only grossed a little over $50,000.

Though Michael Cera is generally acknowledged as being the funniest part of the film, it's not enough to save "Extreme Movie" from being an extremely bad movie, the very worst of Cera's career.

Best: Juno (2007)

After Cera had his breakout film with "Superbad," he followed it up that same year by playing baby daddy Paulie Bleeker in the comedy drama "Juno." Coupled together, the films made him a leading man for a new generation.

After Juno MacGuff (Elliot Page) discovers she is pregnant, she struggles to decide what to do. After discussing things with Paulie, her father Mac (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother Bren (Allison Janey), she eventually decides to offer the child up to be adopted by married couple Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark Loring (Jason Bateman). But her feelings for Paulie, as well as her developing relationship with Mark, begin to complicate things even further.

Earning first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody an Oscar, as well as nominations for Elliot Page and director Jason Reitman, "Juno" was one of the biggest hits of the year. Critics loved the witty dialogue, emotional plotline, and fantastic performances by the talented cast. The film was also a surprising box office smash for Fox Searchlight pictures, becoming the studio's first film to gross over $100 million, eventually earning well over $200 million.

Michael Cera's second hit comedy of the year remains the best of his career, combining his comic sensibilities with an emotionally resonant undertone. When you're looking for a great Michael Cera film, "Juno" delivers.