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5 Dramatic Vince Vaughn Performances You Might Have Missed

Though best known for his comedic chops, Vince Vaughn also has a rich variety of dramatic roles within his filmography.

Known for his trademark chuckle and fast-talking delivery, Vince Vaughn is one of Hollywood’s foremost comedy gurus. His latest film, Delivery Man, is a remake of the beloved French comedy, Starbuck, about a man who discovers that he’s fathered more than 500 children through sperm bank deliveries and must decide whether to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit.

Vince Vaughn is a much more versatile actor than people give him credit for. Though it is comedies like Swingers, Old School, and Wedding Crashers that people associate him with, his filmography includes a wide variety of fully formed, dramatic characters. Here’s a rundown of five of Vince’s notable dramatic performances. 

A Cool, Dry Place

Vince Vaughn as an overwhelmed single father? Yes please! In this charming early film, Vaughn plays Russell Durrell, a man  forced to raise his five-year old son alone after his wife (Monica Potter) leaves them abruptly  to find herself. As he struggles to rebuild his life, a new romance forces him to consider everything in his life, including a promising job offer in Dallas, from a different perspective.  Vaughn perfectly balances his character’s ambition with his love for his son in a complex and nuanced performance.

The Cell

Though it has an established cult following, The Cell is one of those movies that was just a little too weird for the mainstream. The film features Vaughn as FBI Agent Peter Novak who enlists the help of social worker (Jennifer Lopez) to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer (Vincent D’Onofrio) virtually to find out the location of his final victim. In his first turn in the science fiction genre, Vaughn adeptly plays the role of the tenacious special agent whose sense of duty spurs him to persist at all costs in this lush, visual masterpiece.

Clay Pigeons

Given Vaughn’s unique brand of charisma, it should be no surprise that he can play a convincing psychopath. Directed by David Dobkin (who would later direct Vaughn in Wedding Crashers and Fred Claus), this film features Vaughn as Lester Long, a serial killer who strikes up a friendship with Clay Hewitt (Joaquin Phoenix) and decides to frame him for his murders. Complete with a thick Southern accent, Vaughn uses his trademark fast-talking delivery and ease to instill his character with a peculiar kind of menace. The character will stay with you.

The Locusts

If you want to enjoy Vince Vaughn at his physical peak, look no further than The Locusts. Vaughn plays Clay Hewitt, a drifter who comes to a small Kansas town to find work at a local ranch. Stuck between two women—the girl next door, Kitty (Ashley Judd), and the boozy ranch owner, Delilah (Kate Capshaw)—Clay finds solace in his friendship with Delilah’s son, Flyboy (Jeremy Davies), who is fresh out of a mental institution. Though the film is mostly known for its graphic bull castration sequence (ew), it also offers one of Vaughn’s compelling, riskiest and sexiest performances.

Return to Paradise

It is never a good idea to buy drugs in another country. In one of his most multifaceted performance, Vince Vaughn plays Sheriff, a limo driver who once had a crazy holiday with two friends, Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix) and Tony (David Conrad), in Malaysia. When he is informed that Lewis is being charged with drug trafficking for hash they bought together, he is forced to decide whether to go back and face trial or let Lewis take the fall. Vaughn is never showy in playing this role and conveys the character’s conflict and pathos with remarkable effectiveness.



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