FilmMarch 15, 2012 at 5:43 am

Manchildren Through the Ages

Check out the evolution of the archetypal Manchild below.

Peter Pan (1953)

This legendary novel/play/Disney movie/musical introduces Peter Pan as one of the first Manchildren to be depicted in cinema. A Neverland native who enjoys frolicking with fairies and splashing mermaids, Peter’s mantra is that he “Won’t Grow Up” and that green tights never go out of style.

Tom Hanks in Big (1988)

“Heart and Soul” on the giant piano at F.A.O. Schwarz? Baby corn? Powder–blue tuxedos? Tom Hanks experiences all of this and more as a 12–year–old boy who becomes an adult overnight when his wish to be “big” comes true. Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop shimmy shimmy rock!

Chris Farley in Tommy Boy (1995) 

As a dim–witted party–boy forced to save his family business, Chris Farley brings the laughs with his big heart and overwhelming stupidity. Tommy inspires even the laziest of us to finish college and be successful, even if it takes seven years. And also that speaking into a moving fan results in excellent Darth Vader impersonations.

Adam Sandler in The Waterboy (1998)

Sandler stars as a socially inept, 31–year–old waterboy with a crippling stutter and a passion for foosball. Whether clad in Captain Insano pajamas, handing out water bottles or singing with Mama, Sandler’s Bobby Boucher is arguably one of the quintessential Manchildren in the history of cinema.

Will Ferrell in Elf (2003)

Ferrell, an accomplished Manchild, stars in this holiday classic as a North Pole elf who goes to New York City in search of his biological father. Ferrell channels his inner Peter Pan through both his childish antics and love for green tights. Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?

Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly in Step Brothers (2008)

Ferrell continues his manchild trend and joins forces with Reilly in this popular, lighthearted comedy about two adult men who become stepbrothers. It comes complete with bunk beds and drumsets, but please, don’t touch the drums without asking or you will be stabbed. In the neck. With a knife.

Charlize Theron in Young Adult (2011)

In one of the first films to feature a “womanchild,” Theron plays a divorced woman attempting to relive her high school glory days. A former queen bee turned washed–up author, Theron’s character suffers from prolonged adolescence.

 
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