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Rats, brats and now frats, these stars travel in packs

July 09, 2006|Christine N. Ziemba

Twenty years ago, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez and Anthony Michael Hall led the rest of the "Brat Pack" through high school and straight to the box office. But today, the "Frat Pack" rules the Hollywood playground.

Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Owen and Luke Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Carell are these brothers-in-arms who turn celluloid into gold. (Just look at "Nacho Libre" -- who'd have thought that Black's Botero-like figure in wrestling tights would be a box-office draw?)

Paying homage to these merry pranksters is the website www.the-frat-pack.com. In addition to carrying the latest news and tidbits about the actors and their projects, the website also includes charts like the "Frat Pack Movie Scorecard" and the "Circle of Trust," which illustrates where friends of the pack (such as Paul Rudd and Jon Favreau) and "sorority sisters" (including Jennifer Aniston and Christine Taylor, Stiller's real-life wife) fit in.

According to the site, "Stiller is the acknowledged leader of the group, having started the cameo trend with his appearance in 'The Suburbans' and by directing Owen's [Wilson] and his own cameo in 'The Cable Guy.' He has also hired most of the other Frat Pack stars for various projects that he produced or directed. Stiller wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the first true Frat Pack classic, 'Zoolander.' "

And just because a film stars a fraternity brother, it may not necessarily qualify as a bona fide Frat Pack film. There are rules that need to be considered: "To 'strictly' qualify as a 'Frat Pack' movie, it must have at least one Frat Pack member in a starring role, along with at least one more in a supporting role."

This explains why "Anchorman" qualifies as a true Frat Pack film, but "Along Came Polly" doesn't. In addition, the films must follow a particular type of comedy: "We're talking fast-paced farce here, not slow, wry observational comedy (sorry, The Royal Tenenbaums fans)."

Who knew that qualifying for this club would be so difficult? It must be a guy thing.

-- Christine N. Ziemba

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