Rotten Tomatoes ranks Neil Patrick Harris in his best roles, including his most well-known roles in How I Met Your Mother, Gone Girl, and more. Having been in show business since the 1980s as a child actor, NPH has had many different types of roles over the years, but it was his career resurgence in the 2000s that brought on some of his best roles.
Whether he is playing the beloved hero, a comedic character, or the dastardly villain, Neil Patrick Harris has proven he can do anything. But with such a varied career, it seems almost criminal to stop at ten picks. So here are a few more as rated by Rotten Tomatoes.
15.Patrick Winslow (Smurfs, 2011) 21%
Neil Patrick Harris plays the role of Patrick Winslow in this film, as well as the sequel, serving in one of the few human roles within the movie. While the Smurfs are obviously the main focus, there’s no doubt that he does a great job here.
14.Foy (A Million Ways To Die In The West, 2014) 33%
A Million Ways To Die In The West is a Western comedy that features an incredible ensemble cast with a lot of fantastic actors, from Seth MacFarlane to Liam Neeson and Neil Patrick Harris. The movie isn’t exactly a classic Western nor a classic comedy, and attempting to fit the two of them together just didn’t quite work in this particular venture.
13.Celebrity Dance-Off Host (American Reunion, 2012) 45%
The American Pie film franchise is one of the most popular of all time when it comes to comedy, and the decision to bring it back in 2012 was one that proved to be very popular. The film was very still very funny, bringing back all the characters that fans know and love. However, they also added in a few new ones, and Neil Patrick Harris also got the chance to appear in a cameo role hosting a celebrity dance-off.
12.Jeff Lonowski (Downsizing, 2017) 48%
Playing the role to a “T”, he pitches why it is so great to downsize, how he is living in his dream home, and how he would have never been able to do this had he stayed normal size. This wasn’t a large role (pun intended), and yet he still gets a large reaction, both from the crowd in the film and from the film’s audience.
11.Neil Patrick Harris (Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, 2008) 52%
Playing a fictionalized version of himself for the second time in four years, NPH returned to the franchise that helped relaunch his career. But there is nothing that can keep NPH down, as viewers who stayed for the credits watched him rise up at the end seemingly unharmed from the shotgun shells that made him cough up blood earlier, setting up his appearance in the third film.
10.Carl Jenkins (Starship Troopers, 1997) 63%
A true cult classic if there ever was one, Starship Troopers starred Neil as Carl Jenkins — the sort of glue that kept the crew together. This cheesy special effects-driven action-comedy is one on which many fans agree that it gets somehow worse and better with time, as the effects age but the acting never gets old.
9.Neil Patrick Harris (A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, 2011) 68%
The last entry in the film series saw Neil returning as himself — this time bringing along his real-life partner David Burtka. The writers played with the fact that Neil was “pretending” to date him and he was actually just his crack dealer. In this third film, his apparent death in the second movie is addressed, along with his success in the smash-hit series How I Met Your Mother.
8.Neil Patrick Harris (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, 2004) 74%
This film helped relaunch Neil’s career by reintroducing him to audiences in a way that they had never seen him before. This is something he has talked about in many interviews. The filmmakers who wrote all three films even went on to have him cameo in the long-anticipated American Reunion.
7.Lance (Undercover Brother, 2002) 77%
In Undercover Brother, a film that is pretty much an allegory for racial inequality as told through comedy, NPH plays Lance, the “white guy”. Lance is the only white guy at “The Brotherhood” — the agency that fights back against “The Man.” Bouncing off against actors like Dave Chappelle and Eddie Griffin, Neil still managed to have some standout moments in a film with such great comedic talent.
6.Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother, 2005-2014) 83%
This is the role that Neil Patrick Harris will forever be known for, if for nothing other than its rewatch value and the fact that he is most audience member’s favorite character. Barney Stinson is a character that Neil helped craft in a number of ways and he is very different than what the writers initially envisioned.
He drinks Redbull because Neil does and he does magic because Neil does. He does so many small things that viewers relate to on a human level. This is due largely to the fact that NPH came to the writers about injecting more of himself into the character to make it more real and relatable.
5.Steve (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, 2009) 86%
Steve is the small monkey sidekick of the main star in this film and, while he does not have much to say, it actually showcases one of Neil’s many talents that is not talked about much, voice work. A very talented actor with a great range, Neil Patrick Harris has also done a wide range of voice work over his career and this is just one small example.
4.Desi Collings (Gone Girl, 2014) 87%
Harris’ role as Desi Collings in Gone Girl was a gripping performance in a film that has gripping performances all around, but viewers expect nothing less when David Fincher is directing. The same year that How I Met Your Mother ended, this film was released to rave reviews from fans and critics alike and it featured twists and turns aplenty.
3.Neil Patrick Harris (The Muppets, 2011) 95%
Another time when Neil Patrick Harris got the chance to play himself was in the 2011 version of The Muppets. He isn’t the main star of this movie, only making a cameo appearance, but his warm personality proved a fantastic fit for the family movie. Of course, it is the puppet characters themselves that steal the show (as expected), but the cameos and main human characters also help to drive the story throughout the movie.
2.Count Olaf (A Series Of Unfortunate Events, 2017-2019) 96%
After playing Barney Stinson for so long, it seemed time for Neil to really flex his acting chops and so he did so by offering audiences his interpretation of villain Count Olaf. This role, that he seemed to be born for as an actor, was captivating to audiences and critics. He didn’t steal any scenes from other actors, but rather enhanced their performances and provided them with more to bounce off of.
1-Nightwing (Batman: Under The Red Hood) 100%
With a 100% rating by Rotten Tomatoes, Batman: Under The Red Hood is clearly an incredibly strong movie. In this film, Neil Patrick Harris lends his voice to the character of Nightwing. He works as Batman’s partner throughout a lot of the film, and Neil Patrick Harris does a great job of providing the voice for him.