10 Underrated James Marsden Movies That Deserve More Credit
Despite X Men and Westworld fame, James Marsden is an actor whose work often doesn't get the limelight it deserves.
Here are some of the lesser-known movies where Marsden truly shines.
1. 2 Guns (2013)
This one is about Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington being all shooty-shooty, bang-bang. James Marsden, who plays Quince, a corrupt Naval Intelligence officer. Quince sends Wahlberg's character, Stig, undercover to rob a bank with Washington's character, Bobby. The twist? Both men are undercover agents for different agencies and don't know it. Once the robbery happens, Quince double-crosses Stig, intending to take the money for himself to fund covert operations. Quince's actions lead to a crazy domino effect, involving Mexican cartels and CIA shenanigans.
2. Unfinished Business (2015)
Marsden plays Jim Spinch, a corporate bully of sorts. The film's main character, Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn), leaves his job because of wage cuts and starts his own business. A year later, Dan has a chance to close a big deal that would save his fledgling company. But he finds out he's competing against his old company and, of course, Jim Spinch. What follows is a wild mess of awkward business meetings, misunderstood sexual escapades, and an odd family reunion.
3. Accidental Love (2015)
In this quirky comedy, Marsden plays Scott, a small-town cop engaged to Alice (Jessica Biel), a waitress. Alice gets a nail accidentally shot into her head, leading to erratic behavior. Scott gets cold feet about the wedding due to the medical mishap. Alice then heads to Washington, D.C., to campaign for healthcare reform, where she meets a clueless congressman played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Alice becomes a political sensation, overshadowing Scott's small-town life.
4. The Loft (2014)
The Loft is about five friends who share a loft for their extramarital affairs. Marsden plays Chris Vanowen, an architect. Things go south when they find an unknown woman dead in the loft, handcuffed to the bed. Each friend suspects the other. The tension builds, friendships strain, and everyone's dirty laundry is aired. As the movie progresses, it becomes evident that Chris had a relationship with the dead woman. Accusations fly, and it turns out his friend Vincent (Karl Urban) orchestrated the whole thing to frame Chris because of jealousy.
5. The Best of Me (2014)
A Nicholas Sparks adaptation, where you know you'll be reaching for the tissues. Marsden plays the older Dawson Cole, who returns to his hometown for a friend's funeral and rekindles a romance with his high school sweetheart, Amanda. What could go wrong, right? Well, Dawson's family is a bunch of criminals, and Amanda is married to an alcoholic. Throughout the film, their love story is told in flashbacks, with young Dawson and Amanda falling in love but eventually being driven apart by their circumstances. Brace yourself for a bittersweet ending in this one.
6. Sex Drive (2008)
Marsden plays Rex, the overbearing older brother of Ian, an 18-year-old virgin on a quest to lose his virginity to a girl he met online. Rex's macho, borderline-insane antics are a hoot, and he's on Ian's tail after he "borrows" Rex's prized '69 Pontiac GTO for the trip. Ian, along with his two best friends, embarks on a cross-country trip filled with mishaps, including a run-in with an Amish community.
7. Small Apartments (2012)
Marsden plays Bernard 'Bernie' Ballentine, an investigator looking into the apparent suicide of Mr. Allspice, the landlord of an apartment building. The residents of the building are a collection of oddballs, including the main character Franklin Franklin (played by Matt Lucas), who accidentally killed Mr. Allspice. As Bernie investigates, he discovers the quirky, almost unbelievable lives of the residents, which sidetracks him repeatedly. The whole ordeal turns out to be a convoluted mess involving Swiss police, a stash of money, and blackmail letters.
8. The Box (2009)
Marsden plays Arthur Lewis, a NASA engineer married to Norma (Cameron Diaz). One day, they receive a mysterious box with a red button. A disfigured man named Arlington Steward offers them a deal: Press the button and receive $1 million, but someone they don't know will die. After much moral agony, Norma pushes the button. Soon, a series of increasingly horrifying events unfold. Arthur becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that suggests this is all a test of humanity's moral fiber.
9. Interstate 60 (2002)
A lesser-known fantasy adventure with added road movie vibes, Interstate 60 casts Marsden as Neal Oliver, a young artist who's given a special wish by a mysterious being named O.W. Grant (Gary Oldman). Neal wishes for answers, and suddenly he's on a road trip on a highway that doesn't exist on maps. Along the way, he meets strange characters, each embodying different life lessons. From a town where lies are illegal to another that's obsessed with drugs, each pit stop offers unique experiences.
10. As Cool as I Am (2013)
Here, Marsden plays Chuck, the estranged father of Lucy (Sarah Bolger). Lucy is a teen trying to navigate the messiness of adolescence, including a complicated relationship with her mom. Chuck is a likable but irresponsible man, constantly away on work, leaving his family to fend for themselves. When he does show up, it's a mixed bag of emotions for Lucy. Through cooking classes and teenage parties, Lucy eventually learns to appreciate her imperfect family, including her often-absent but loving dad.