Our favorite movie morons

Dinner for Schmucks has us dumbing down-with delight.

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Brick Tamland, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
It takes a true idiot to make a nitwit newscaster like Ron Burgundy look like a brainiac—and that idiot is Brick Tamland. Whether he’s fretting over menstruation-sniffing bears or taunting opponents with incomprehensible insults (“Where did you get that suit...the toilet store?”), Steve Carell’s clueless weatherman somehow succeeds in being the intellectual weak link in this comedy’s moronic band of brothers.—DF

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Billy Madison, Billy Madison (1995)
You might think Adam Sandler’s first big-screen man-child is more of a rich wastrel than a moron. To which we remind you: This is a guy who sings to suntan-lotion bottles. He’s barely able to graduate from elementary school—for a second time. As an adult. During an academic contest, the announcer declares that Billy’s answer “is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard...everybody in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.” That, friends, is genuine boneheadedness.—DF

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Chad Feldheimer, Burn After Reading (2008)
Brad Pitt’s blackmailing personal trainer proves that dumb blondes aren’t gender-specific. “I thought you might be worried about the security of your shit,” he says to John Malkovich’s ex-CIA analyst in a riotous, faux-threatening display of bravado. A punch in the nose barely fazes this airhead; the Walkman music he’s constantly bopping along to clearly has a lot of space to move around in.—KU

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Carl Spackler, Caddyshack (1980)
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Bill Murray’s slurry groundskeeper offers, “but if I kill all the golfers, they’re going to lock me up and throw away the key.” His boss corrects him. Then Carl’s quest for total gopher domination is on—a scary, unhinged obsession leading to many a cracked conversation with a clay decoy. Watching Murray spin his character out of only six days of improvisation is to understand the genius in crafting stupid.—JR

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Frito Pendejo, Idiocracy (2006)
In Mike Judge’s mentally diminished future, Dax Shepard’s dumb-as-a-box-o’-rocks citizen is probably the brightest of the bunch. Fear, then, for this America: Interrupted while masturbating, Frito takes an immediate dislike to our man-out-of-time hero (Luke Wilson); later, as his court-appointed defense attorney, he’ll actually help convict his own client. Frito’s law degree comes from Costco. And if he has a code, it’s this: “I like money.”—JR

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Navin R. Johnson, The Jerk (1979)
Steve Martin’s rags-to-riches-to-rags creation is so lovable, it’s hard for us to put him in this company. But consider the evidence. He can’t comprehend that he’s been adopted—not born into—his black family. He thrills to a tiny listing in the phone book (“Things are going to start happening to me now!”), then assumes that a sniper “hates” the oil cans exploding behind him. Ultimately, Navin gains and loses a fortune due to his inane invention, the Opti-Grab.—JR

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Zed, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)
It takes a special kind of moron to eclipse the rest of these subintelligent characters. Bobcat Goldthwait’s screechy greaser is off in his own world, swallowing spray deodorant, crying over reruns of Family Affair, and offering a light by setting his whole hand on fire. (“You shouldn’t smoke,” he cautions. “It’s bad for your health.”) You never know where this twitchy dumbbell’s going to go next, and that’s his charm.—KU

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Lina Lamont, Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
In this beloved movie about movies, the arrival of “talkies” brings out the stupid in Jean Hagen’s helium-voiced silent film performer. She tortures vowels as much as she does exasperated partner Gene Kelly, and thinks Calvin Coolidge is two people. Everyone remembers her ear-piercing catchphrase: “I cain’t stand’em!” That may be true, but we certainly love you, Lina.—KU

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Derek Zoolander, Zoolander (2001)
Nobody would claim that male models give rocket scientists competition in the smarts department. Still, Ben Stiller’s pretty-boy numbskull makes this argument especially moot. Never mind that he gives a hell of a funeral “eu-google-y”; the future founder of the “Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good” proves that while the face may be devastatingly handsome, the head is definitely empty.—DF

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