With the recent release of The Hitman’s Bodyguard hesitant team-ups have been on my mind. When two people are bound together by circumstance, unable to get the work done unless they put aside their differences and work together, not only are the stakes raised but often hilarity ensues.
I’ve based my rankings on the following criteria:
Mutual Resistance: Sometimes it’s just one team member who is hesitant, but the more both parties don’t want to team up, the better.
Foil Factor: Any good team-up works better when characters have contrasting personality traits.
Lesson Learned: A character can’t help but change a little when stuck in a partnership they didn’t seek.
5. Max Rockatansky and Imperator Furiosa – ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road is proof that sometimes a director can return to a franchise decades later and make something that is beloved by both fans and newcomers. Though the story itself is very simple, it’s an interesting ride throughout. The visual effects and brilliant use of color saturation definitely help tell that story. It takes a bit for Max and Furiosa to meet in this story. He’s been kidnaped and is used as a blood bank. She’s planning to defect from Immortan Joe and take his precious Breeders to the Green Place. After an epic escape through a massive sandstorm, Max and Furiosa’s paths cross and he tries to steal her War Rig. Unfortunately, he cannot operate it without her, so the two unite in order to escape. We see that Max and Furiosa actually have a lot of traits in common, despite their reluctance to work together. They both display good combat skills, ingenuity, and stoicism. Even though they have their fights along the way, they are able to work well together. By the end, Max as always goes on his own, even though he and Furiosa made a great team.
Mutual Resistance: 5/5, Foil Factor:1/5, Lesson Learned: 2/5
4. Eddie Valiant and Roger Rabbit – ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ (1988)
Who doesn’t love Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s still the gold standard for blending live-action and 2D animation. When I was a little kid, this movie was on constant rotation and I love it now just as much as I did back then. Of course, now I get all of the more adult humor that flew over my head just like those little birds flew over Roger’s. Eddie Valiant makes up the first part of our reluctant team. He is a washed-up detective who has a grudge against Toons because his beloved brother was murdered by one. So naturally the plot pairs him up with Roger, the most obnoxious Toon in existence. Eddie is definitely the more reluctant of the two, as Roger clearly admires Eddie and tries to make him happy. However, Roger isn’t afraid to call Eddie out for being a stick in the mud and lacking a sense of humor. Of course, Eddie constantly chides Roger for being so outlandish with his comedic antics. Eventually, Eddie learns that a little slapstick humour is okay, and can even save the day. I don’t think Roger actually learned any lessons though.
Mutual Resistance: 2/5, Foil Factor: 5/5, Lesson Learned: 2/5
3. Neal Page and Del Griffith – ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ (1987)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the only movie featured on this list that doesn’t involve at least some sort of law enforcement officer. But who could say no to this classic John Hughes movie which earns its R rating in one scene with a string of eighteen F-bombs? I for one will not let those factors hold this classic back, especially since it stars Steve Martin and John Candy. Neal Page and Del Griffith start off on the wrong foot when the latter unknowingly steals a cab. The pair work together to get back to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving, but nothing goes according to plan. Tensions are high between the uptight ad executive and cheerful shower curtain ring salesman. Page is clean and orderly while Griffith is best described as slovenly. These differences cause the duo to split up and try to go it alone, but try as they might , circumstance brings them back together. Eventually Page realizes that despite some of Griffith’s gross behaviors and mannerisms, he’s just a lonely man who needs companionship. Neither of them change in behavior as much as they come to just understand each other better.
Mutual Resistance: 3/5, Foil Factor: 5/5, Lesson Learned: 2/5
2. Sergeant Nicholas Angel and Police Constable Danny Butterman – ‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007)
Hot Fuzz is the second entry in the Wright, Pegg, Frost Three Flavor Cornetto Trilogy, and some would argue the best. This film seamlessly blends humor with action movie tropes, while still feeling unique. Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is new to Sanford, but he quickly learns that this little village’s police force is less than ideal. In fact, Angel actually arrests his future partner for attempting to operate a vehicle under the influence. The officer in question, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) is quickly let out of jail because his dad is the inspector. He is instantly taken with the new sergeant and wants to hear all his stories about big city police work. Angel is clearly annoyed by this and constantly corrects Butterman’s poor knowledge of police procedure. Angel is the epitome of competence and rigidity, whereas Butterman is nearly incompetent but fun-loving. However, by the film’s end Angel is able to loosen up and Butterman actually becomes a more competent and capable officer having learned well from Angel.
Mutual Resistance: 2/5, Foil Factor: 4/5, Lesson Learned: 5/5
1. Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde – ‘Zootopia’ (2016)
Really? Zootopia? You say. I’m surprised too, but it’s so much more than that weird sloth trailer that Disney used as a promotion for the film. In fact, that trailer made me want to stay far away from this film. Luckily, I changed my mind and bore witness to an incredibly heartfelt story about prejudice. The first half of our reluctant team is Officer Judy Hopps, the very first rabbit police officer. Because of her stature, she’s not taken very seriously and delegated to meter maid duty. Enter the second half of our duo, Nick Wilde, a sly fox con artist. The pair meet when he dupes her at a popsicle store. Their paths cross again when Judy begins investigating a case no one else wants to take. Judy convinces Nick to work with her through blackmail. The fact that she’s an officer and he’s a career criminal is not the only element that separates them. More than being prey and predator, Judy and Nick are complete opposites. Judy is all stubborn uptight optimism whereas Nick is all casual cynicism. However, the way society views them and pigeonholes them into roles unites these two. Eventually they do both learn to be good partners, each one taking upon the good qualities of each other.
Mutual Resistance: 5/5, Foil Factor: 4/5, Lesson Learned: 4/5