(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!
Adjusted Score: 12117%
Critics Consensus: Shallow, sappy, and dull, New Year's Eve assembles a star-studded cast for no discernible purpose.
Intertwining stories promise love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and more for a number of New Yorkers on the celebrated night.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 18179%
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.
Uptight lawyer Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss's controlling daughter, putting him on the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 35315%
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.
When a dangerous crime wave hits the beach, the legendary Mitch Buchannon leads his elite squad of lifeguards on a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 25965%
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.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) returns home from his third tour of duty in Iraq with the one... [More]
Adjusted Score: 26673%
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.
Best pals Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) indulge in casual flings and revel in their carefree, unattached lives.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 32313%
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.
Adored by his single mother and his little brother Sam, Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron) is an accomplished sailor and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 47433%
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.
Mike and Dave Stangle are young, adventurous, fun-loving brothers who tend to get out of control at family gatherings. When... [More]
Adjusted Score: 43095%
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.
Young Cole Carter (Zac Efron) dreams of hitting the big time as a Hollywood disc jockey, spending his days and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 49537%
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.
In 1969 Florida, reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) returns to his hometown to write a story about death-row inmate Hillary... [More]
Adjusted Score: 54597%
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.
Chaotic events take place at Parkland Hospital in Dallas after the attack that assassinated President John F. Kennedy.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 53657%
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.
An ambitious Iowa seed farmer (Dennis Quaid) tries to get his resentful son (Zac Efron) interested in the family business,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56979%
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.
With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever --... [More]
Adjusted Score: 59386%
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.
Twelve-year-old Ted (Zac Efron) lives in a place virtually devoid of nature; no flowers or trees grow in the town... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64951%
Critics Consensus: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile often transcends its narrative limitations through sheer force of Zac Efron's compulsively watchable performance.
A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, who refused to believe the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 63208%
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.
Moondog is a fun-loving, pot-smoking, beer-drinking writer who lives life on his own terms in Florida. If he can put... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75747%
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.
Growing up in the early 1800s, P.T. Barnum displays a natural talent for publicity and promotion, selling lottery tickets by... [More]
Adjusted Score: 61779%
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.
Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) was a high-school basketball star with a bright future, but he threw it all away to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75835%
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.
Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Adjusted Score: 61927%
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.
Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), the star athlete at a small-town high school, falls for nerdy beauty Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67873%
Critics Consensus: It won't win many converts, but High School Musical 3 is bright, energetic, and well-crafted.
Amid preparations for a basketball championship, prom, and graduation, sweethearts Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) vow... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81526%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82101%
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.
During summer vacation, Troy (Zac Efron) gets a job at Sharpay's (Ashley Tisdale) resort but doesn't realize she has an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100575%
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.
In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) auditions for a spot on "The Corny Collins Show" and wins.... [More]
This week, we’ve got one Oscar winner, a comedy misfire, a supernatural stinker, and an acclaimed Netflix original series to top the list. Then, we’ve also got a bunch of documentaries worth a look, and two war films, one of which is a new Criterion Collection release. Read on for details:
Also available this week:
- God Loves Uganda (100%), a documentary detailing the involvement of American Evangelical Christians in anti-homosexual policy in Uganda.
- After tiller (94%), a Certified Fresh documentary about the few remaining doctors in the US willing to perform late-term abortions and their patients.
- Michel Gondry’s Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky (90%), which is exactly what it sounds like: an animated interpretation of a conversation between the director and Noam Chomsky.
- Generation Iron (80%), a documentary examining the competitors in contemporary professional bodybuilding.
- Stalingrad (48%), a WWII action film following a number of Russian soldiers holding fort against the Germans in a strategic building.
- Season four of Eastbound and Down (100%), HBO’s comedy starring Danny McBride, is available.
- And of course, a selection from the Criterion Collection: Stuart Cooper’s 1975 film Overlord (92%), which seamlessly utilizes newsreel footage to help tell the story of a British private from basic training to D-Day.
Also opening this week in limited release:
12 O’clock Boys, a documentary about a group of teenage dirt bikers in Baltimore, is at 95 percent.
Tim’s Vermeer, a documentary by Teller about a Texas inventor researching the process behind the great Dutch painter’s works, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent.
Charlie Victor Romeo, a documentary about airline pilots dealing with in-flight emergencies, is at 85 percent.
Love Is In The Air, starring Ludivine Sagnier in a romantic dramedy about a pair of exes seated next to each other on a trans-Atlantic flight, is at 83 percent.
At Middleton, starring Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga in a romantic comedy about two parents of prospective college students who bond on a campus tour, is at 56 percent.
The Wait, starring Chloë Sevigny and Jena Malone in a drama about a pair of sisters who hope to resurrect their recently deceased mother, is at 29 percent.
May I Kill U?, a black comedy about a mild-mannered bike cop who becomes a vigilante after a head injury, is at 15 percent.
Brightest Star, a drama about a young man who attempts to change himself in order to win the girl of his dreams, is at 14 percent.
Best Night Ever, a comedy from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer about a group of bachelorettes’ wild Vegas excursion, is at zero percent.
Finally, props to Chris Frost for coming the closest to guessing I, Frankenstein‘s six percent Tomatometer.
In the short time since making his debut opposite Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole, Miles Teller has established himself as one of the most in-demand actors of his generation. After his bro-comedy double Project X and 21 and Over, Teller starred in last year’s critically-adored coming-of-age movie The Spectacular Now, will this year reunite with co-star Shailene Woodley for futuristic YA adaptation Divergent, and has just appeared in the Sundance Grand Jury-winning Whiplash.
This week, he plays opposite Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan in That Awkward Moment, a new comedy that takes a stab at exploring modern relationships from a dude’s perspective. To mark the film’s release, we had a chat with Teller recently about about five of his all-time favorite movies.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Steven Spielberg, 1989; 88% Tomatometer)
I just had such a love affair with Indiana Jones when I was a little kid. I used to dress up like Indiana Jones and my mom would hide jewels in the house. [Laughs.] I loved Connery. He’s so good. It’s kinda hard to have such an established character and then to come in on the last one and play his dad. Also, I just loved the “cup of the carpenter” and him trying to find which cup it was. And I loved all the booby traps. I’d never seen Star Wars or Star Trek or all that stuff — and I was never really into comic books — so for me, Indiana Jones was really my only hero as a kid. He was awesome.
Love Liza (Todd Louiso, 2002; 53% Tomatometer)
Love Liza, it’s such a random thing. I saw it — I can’t remember if my buddy bought it at a DVD store or it was on NYU TV or something — but I remember watching it and just being so transfixed by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance. I just really love that movie a lot. Honestly man, I think that was one of the first independent films I’d seen. I wasn’t huge into the independent film scene until I went to college, and then of course, once you get to NYU, it’s all about the indie scene, you know. But I love independent filmmaking; I think they’re really telling the interesting stories.
Big (Penny Marshall, 1988; 97% Tomatometer)
Tom Hanks remains one of my favorite actors. I remember seeing that movie at a very impressionable age. It was such a cool storyline, and Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor… and I always wanted to have an apartment with my own vending machine in it, after that. That was the coolest thing. And the trampoline.
Wedding Crashers (David Dobkin, 2005; 75% Tomatometer)
Wedding Crashers I just think is absolutely hilarious. Old School was like the funniest movie I’d seen in a long time, before this. Vince and Owen, at that point in their careers, there was nothing better. I just thought that movie was so, so funny. And Christopher Walken, and Rachel McAdams, and Bradley Cooper — that was like the first time people really saw him. It had so many lines in it. Vince Vaughn was on fire back then.
Speaking of comedic actors, you’re attached to play Dan Aykroyd in an upcoming Belushi biopic.
Yeah, if it all works out, it’ll be great. I think Dan Aykroyd is a comedy legend. He’s still around, so it’s very daunting. But as an actor, I think you want to try and challenge yourself. It’s gonna be hard to play Dan Aykroyd in front of Dan Aykroyd. We’ll see what happens, I guess.
What other comedians do you admire?
Bill Murray is pretty legendary, and I love Steve Martin and Chevy Chase. But as a kid, growing up, for me it was Mike Myers, Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey — those were the kind of guys that I really looked up to.
Mike Myers and his old SNL stuff was great.
Oh my god, you couldn’t beat him.
The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939; 99% Tomatometer)
The Wizard of Oz is really the first movie I ever saw. I remember watching it a lot as a little kid. My mom said I used to watch the VHS tape that I believe we had recorded from TV, and I used to watch it twice a day. I remember in my Power Wheels I used to drive along with the Tin Man and the Lion and Dorothy. I don’t really remember a lot of this, but my mom — your mom is kinda like the history of your life. I also loved the Peter Pan, but with Mary Martin; I remember watching that a lot.
That Awkward Moment is in theatres this week.