(Photo by Diyah Pera/©Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Zac Efron Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Zac Efron was the prince of the late-2000s musical with the Certified Fresh Hairspray and, of course, the High School Musical franchise, which by its third and final entry had graduated from the TV space and into a full-fledged theatrical experience. Senior Year and Hairspray were big money makers, and so was Efron’s first post-High School movie, 17 Again. Critics were just on the edge of giving it a Fresh rating, but the transformation comedy certainly appealed to his fan base, and set Efron up for a future as lead man in films.

After getting the requisite Nicholas Sparks adaptation out of the way (The Lucky One), Efron spent several years building up a dramatic resume, though only Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles connected with critics. After the surprise box office success of the Certified Fresh Neighbors, Efron found a new career tack in raunch comedies, letting loose in the likes of Dirty Grandpa, Baywatch, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and The Beach Bum.

Efron starred in 2019’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a Ted Bundy biopic that coincided with the 30th anniversary of his execution. And Efron returned in 2020 on a much lighter note, voicing the ascot-less Fred in Scoob!, the latest in the venerable Scooby-Doo franchise. Jinkies! Now it’s time to look back on all Zac Efron movies, ranked by Tomatometer!


New Year's Eve (2011)

Adjusted Score: 12462%
Critics Consensus: Shallow, sappy, and dull, New Year's Eve assembles a star-studded cast for no discernible purpose.
Synopsis: Intertwining stories promise love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and more for a number of New Yorkers on the celebrated night.... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall


Dirty Grandpa (2016)

Adjusted Score: 18354%
Critics Consensus: Like a Werther's Original dropped down a sewer drain, Dirty Grandpa represents the careless fumbling of a classic talent that once brought pleasure to millions.
Synopsis: Uptight lawyer Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss's controlling daughter, putting him on the... [More]
Directed By: Dan Mazer


Baywatch (2017)

Adjusted Score: 35757%
Critics Consensus: Baywatch takes its source material's jiggle factor to R-rated levels, but lacks the original's campy charm -- and leaves its charming stars flailing in the shallows.
Synopsis: When a dangerous crime wave hits the beach, the legendary Mitch Buchannon leads his elite squad of lifeguards on a... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon


The Lucky One (2012)

Adjusted Score: 26238%
Critics Consensus: While it provides the requisite amount of escapist melodrama, The Lucky One ultimately relies on too many schmaltzy clichés to appeal to anyone not already familiar with the Nicholas Sparks formula.
Synopsis: U.S. Marine Sgt. Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) returns home from his third tour of duty in Iraq with the one... [More]
Directed By: Scott Hicks

Adjusted Score: 26807%
Critics Consensus: Formulaic and unfunny, That Awkward Moment wastes a charming cast on a contrived comedy that falls short of the date movies it seems to be trying to subvert.
Synopsis: Best pals Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) indulge in casual flings and revel in their carefree, unattached lives.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Gormican

Adjusted Score: 32615%
Critics Consensus: Zac Efron gives it his all, but Charlie St. Cloud is too shallow and cloying to offer much more than eye candy for his fans.
Synopsis: Adored by his single mother and his little brother Sam, Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron) is an accomplished sailor and... [More]
Directed By: Burr Steers

Adjusted Score: 47744%
Critics Consensus: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates benefits from the screwball premise and the efforts of a game cast, even if the sporadically hilarious results don't quite live up to either.
Synopsis: Mike and Dave Stangle are young, adventurous, fun-loving brothers who tend to get out of control at family gatherings. When... [More]
Directed By: Jake Szymanski

Adjusted Score: 43229%
Critics Consensus: We Are Your Friends boasts magnetic stars and glimmers of insight, but they're lost in a clichéd coming-of-age story as programmed as the soundtrack's beats.
Synopsis: Young Cole Carter (Zac Efron) dreams of hitting the big time as a Hollywood disc jockey, spending his days and... [More]
Directed By: Max Joseph


The Paperboy (2012)

Adjusted Score: 50863%
Critics Consensus: Trashy and melodramatic, The Paperboy is enlivened by a strong cast and a steamy, sordid plot, but it's uneven and often veers into camp.
Synopsis: In 1969 Florida, reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) returns to his hometown to write a story about death-row inmate Hillary... [More]
Directed By: Lee Daniels


Parkland (2013)

Adjusted Score: 54797%
Critics Consensus: Although its decision to look at John F. Kennedy's assassination through uncommon perspectives is refreshing, Parkland never achieves the narrative cohesion its subject deserves.
Synopsis: Chaotic events take place at Parkland Hospital in Dallas after the attack that assassinated President John F. Kennedy.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Landesman


At Any Price (2012)

Adjusted Score: 53823%
Critics Consensus: At Any Price features a terrific performance from Dennis Quaid, and it offers further evidence of Ramin Bahrani's unique eye for detail, but film is weighted down by an overly melodramatic story.
Synopsis: An ambitious Iowa seed farmer (Dennis Quaid) tries to get his resentful son (Zac Efron) interested in the family business,... [More]
Directed By: Ramin Bahrani


SCOOB! (2020)

Adjusted Score: 57301%
Critics Consensus: Scoob! is fun enough for youthful viewers and some hardcore fans, but never quite solves the mystery of why audiences shouldn't watch old episodes instead.
Synopsis: With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever --... [More]
Directed By: Tony Cervone

Adjusted Score: 59678%
Critics Consensus: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is cute and funny enough but the moral simplicity of the book gets lost with the zany Hollywood production values.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Ted (Zac Efron) lives in a place virtually devoid of nature; no flowers or trees grow in the town... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

Adjusted Score: 65105%
Critics Consensus: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile often transcends its narrative limitations through sheer force of Zac Efron's compulsively watchable performance.
Synopsis: A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, who refused to believe the... [More]
Directed By: Joe Berlinger


The Beach Bum (2019)

Adjusted Score: 63270%
Critics Consensus: The role of a lifetime for Matthew McConaughey, The Beach Bum is set apart by Harmony Korine's distinctive style, but that isn't always enough to offset the unfocused story.
Synopsis: Moondog is a fun-loving, pot-smoking, beer-drinking writer who lives life on his own terms in Florida. If he can put... [More]
Directed By: Harmony Korine

Adjusted Score: 76281%
Critics Consensus: The Greatest Showman tries hard to dazzle the audience with a Barnum-style sense of wonder -- but at the expense of its complex subject's far more intriguing real-life story.
Synopsis: Growing up in the early 1800s, P.T. Barnum displays a natural talent for publicity and promotion, selling lottery tickets by... [More]
Directed By: Michael Gracey


17 Again (2009)

Adjusted Score: 62027%
Critics Consensus: Though it uses a well-worn formula, 17 Again has just enough Zac Efron charm to result in a harmless, pleasurable teen comedy.
Synopsis: Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) was a high-school basketball star with a bright future, but he threw it all away to... [More]
Directed By: Burr Steers

Adjusted Score: 76203%
Critics Consensus: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may not be strictly necessary, but it still wrings a surprising amount of humor from a recycled premise with a distaff twist.
Synopsis: Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

Adjusted Score: 63538%
Critics Consensus: High School Musical is brazenly saccharine, but it makes up for it with its memorable show tunes, eye-popping choreography, and appealing cast.
Synopsis: Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), the star athlete at a small-town high school, falls for nerdy beauty Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

Adjusted Score: 68170%
Critics Consensus: It won't win many converts, but High School Musical 3 is bright, energetic, and well-crafted.
Synopsis: Amid preparations for a basketball championship, prom, and graduation, sweethearts Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) vow... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega


Neighbors (2014)

Adjusted Score: 81737%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
Synopsis: New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

Adjusted Score: 82144%
Critics Consensus: Surprisingly better than its predecessor, High School Musical 2 returns to enchant tweens with its snappy songs, wicked dance moves, and peppy spirit.
Synopsis: During summer vacation, Troy (Zac Efron) gets a job at Sharpay's (Ashley Tisdale) resort but doesn't realize she has an... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega


Hairspray (2007)

Adjusted Score: 100891%
Critics Consensus: Hairspray is an energetic, wholly entertaining musical romp; a fun Summer movie with plenty of heart. Its contagious songs will make you want to get up and start dancing.
Synopsis: In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) auditions for a spot on "The Corny Collins Show" and wins.... [More]
Directed By: Adam Shankman

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