Kristen Wiig’s 20 best performances – ranked! (2023)

20. Welcome to Me (2014)

What a strange film this is. Kristen Wiig plays a lottery winner with borderline personality disorder, who uses the money to fund and star in a daily Oprah-style show all about her. Palpably unsure of how much to mine mental illness for comedy, the movie quickly ties itself up in a series of unfathomable knots. Nevertheless, when the script lets her off the leash, Wiig is wonderful. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t happen more.

19. Friends with Kids (2011)

Wiig is part of a large ensemble in Jennifer Westfeldt’s listless romantic comedy. Her main role is to have sex with Jon Hamm, and then realise that she only likes him because he is good at sex. It’s the exact same relationship that she had with Hamm in Bridesmaids, but not nearly as funny.

18. Girl Most Likely (2012)

Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s comedy almost squandered all the goodwill that Wiig had built up with Bridesmaids. It’s a laboriously quirky indie comedy-drama about a woman who stages a suicide attempt and ends up back at home with her problematic family. Lacking originality, it is saved by the charm of its cast, Wiig especially.

Kristen Wiig’s 20 best performances – ranked! (1)

17. Knocked Up (2007)

Wiig saves a potentially throwaway role in Judd Apatow’s pregnancy comedy. Any actor could have done her scene – sat next to Katherine Heigl as she is informed of her promotion – but Wiig’s performance is a whirlwind of microexpressions: contemptuous, embittered and passive aggressive, all with just a few well-timed nostril flares. Amazing to watch.

16. Paul (2011)

People tend to forget that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost co-wrote a comedy movie about an alien voiced by Seth Rogen. And if they do, they forget that Wiig played the love interest. This is her last film before Bridesmaids changed her career, and thank God it did.

15. A Deadly Adoption (2015)

I have a huge soft spot for this film, but I’m ranking it low because it’s so deliberately obtuse. A made-for-TV Lifetime movie about a couple played by Will Ferrell and Wiig whose lives are disrupted by a woman intent on causing them harm, it’s played straight without jokes, hitting all the familiar beats that you’d expect. The result? Unhinged.

14. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

The Wonder Woman sequel looked as if it would take Wiig to a whole new level of stardom. That it didn’t is mostly because it is at best bad and at worst actively repulsive. But Wiig scores the best scenes as the evil Cheetah, a normal woman who becomes a cheetah because she’s jealous of Wonder Woman. Like I say, not a great film.

Kristen Wiig’s 20 best performances – ranked! (2)

13. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Jake Kasdan’s spoof music biopic gallops through all the tropes that films such as Walk the Line have long since ground into the dirt. Wiig plays the best of them, a put-upon first wife who keeps urging John C Reilly’s Cox to give up his dreams and help her raise their enormous quantity of children.

12. The Brothers Solomon (2007)

Director Bob Odenkirk now seems publicly regretful that he didn’t do a better job with this film, but it’s better than he makes out. Written by Will Forte, it’s about two socially awkward brothers (Forte and Will Arnett) who try to find love and have children in order to impress their comatose father. Wiig plays the woman who eventually mothers their kids.

11. Date Night (2010)

Wiig only appears at the start of Date Night, acting as a cautionary tale. Her decision to divorce Mark Ruffalo, because the romance has gone from their lives, spurs Tina Fey and Steve Carell to inject excitement back into their marriage. It’s a small role, but almost certainly the only thing about this film that you still think about.

10. Mother! (2017)

Of all of Wiig’s efforts to branch away from comedy, this is perhaps the most jarring. Her performance in Darren Aronofsky’s baffling and gratuitous psychological horror essentially qualifies as a cameo, but what a cameo it is. She walks through a house that has come to home a riot, shoots a bunch of people in the head, orders the death of Jennifer Lawrence and then gets blown up.

9. The Martian (2015)

Ridley Scott’s film famously doesn’t have an antagonist, but Wiig’s Annie Montrose threatens to come close. As the head of Nasa’s media relations, she spends a lot of the movie figuring out how to shape the public narrative of Matt Damon’s lost astronaut. A lesser film would have shown her taking glee from manipulating the press. Here, however, she’s absolutely charming.

8. The Despicable Me series (2010-)

Wiig plays third or fourth fiddle in Illumination’s mega-franchise, after Steve Carell’s Gru and all the zippy visuals. But, as foe turned love interest, she also helps to ground these films in something approaching humanity. It’s almost impossible to do this without being swallowed up by everything else, and yet Wiig hits exactly the right note.

Kristen Wiig’s 20 best performances – ranked! (3)

7. Ghostbusters (2016)

Doomed from the outset, thanks to the furious insistence of some that women should never play roles in remakes of films that they enjoyed as children, it’s strange to watch the 2016 Ghostbusters removed from all the noise. It still isn’t very good, but this is largely down to some of the worst cameos in Hollywood history by the original Ghostbusters, all playing unrelated characters. Meanwhile, Wiig plays it relatively straight, the glue that keeps the whole thing together and almost saves the film.

6. Extract (2009)

Mike Judge’s least-loved film lacks the ambition of Idiocracy and the zeitgeist-hitting satire of Office Space, but is a lot better than its reputation would suggest. A convoluted shaggy dog story about a man who hires a gigolo to seduce his wife to make him feel less guilty about his affair with a sexy con-artist, Wiig’s wife needs much less persuasion to cheat on him than expected. It’s the perfect part for her; seemingly strait-laced, while trying desperately to mask all the weirdness that roils underneath.

5. Adventureland (2009)

Greg Mottola’s nostalgic 1980s-set comedy-drama doesn’t have an awful lot for Wiig to do, but that’s sort of the point. Although the film is ostensibly about Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg slumming through a summer working for a dilapidated amusement park, the supporting cast does an awful lot of the heavy lifting. Wiig plays the wife of the park’s assistant manager, whose job is generally to stand three steps behind him and mumble words of agreement. But the assistant manager is played by Bill Hader, and the pair share such an easy chemistry that the film comes alive whenever they’re onscreen.

Kristen Wiig’s 20 best performances – ranked! (4)

4. The Skeleton Twins (2014)

By far the most successful example of Wiig’s non-comedy work because it’s actually quite funny. True, you do have to get over a bummer of a premise – Wiig’s suicide attempt being interrupted when she learns that her estranged brother has just attempted to kill himself too – but it ends up a masterclass of charmingly understated humour. A lot of this is down to Wiig’s chemistry with her former SNL colleague Bill Hader, who plays her brother. The film’s standout scene sees Wiig and Hader lip-sync Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship. It is endlessly watchable.

3. MacGruber (2010)

MacGruber is a commercially unsuccessful film based on a middling Saturday Night Live character who almost didn’t make it to air for being “too dumb”, but, good lord, is it funny. An all-out spoof of the one-man-army genre of the 80s and 90s, the movie follows Will Forte’s titular MacGruber as he attempts to stop Val Kilmer’s villainous Dieter von Cunth. Wiig, meanwhile, plays Vicki St Elmo, the love interest. In most films, a role like this would be an afterthought, but Wiig gets most of the funniest scenes, including a genuinely unforgettable love one.

2. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

It goes without saying that Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar lacked the cultural penetration of Bridesmaids. This could be down to bad timing, since it came out during lockdown with a muted straight-to-VOD release. But it’s also because it is one of the most aggressively weird comedies of the last 50 years. A film about two sweet friends who inadvertently foil a supervillain’s plot to unleash mosquitoes on a town, Barb and Star is determined to follow every whim as far down the rabbit hole as it can, whether that’s by introducing a talking crab, casting a country music superstar to play a water spirit or making Jamie Dornan perform the year’s best song and dance number. An overlooked masterpiece.

Kristen Wiig’s 20 best performances – ranked! (5)

1. Bridesmaids (2011)

Really the only choice for top spot, Bridesmaids didn’t just launch Wiig as a full-blown movie star, but spawned an entire new generation of female-led comedies. The success of Bridesmaids is partly down to Paul Feig’s loose but unobtrusive direction, and partly down to its galaxy-sized ensemble, all of whom have a chance to shine. But mainly, since she’s the star and co-writer, this is Wiig’s show. The bad news is that her self-generated work stands so far above her other films that it has a tendency to eclipse them. But when that work is as good as Bridesmaids, who cares?


Kristen Wiig’s 20 best performances – ranked!? ›

Wiig was married to actor Hayes Hargrove from 2005 to 2009, and dated The Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti from 2011 to 2013. In early 2019, after three years of dating, she became engaged to actor Avi Rothman. In January 2020, she and Rothman became the parents of twins, a boy, Shiloh, and a girl, Luna, via surrogacy.

Who is Kristen Wiig husband? ›

Wiig was married to actor Hayes Hargrove from 2005 to 2009, and dated The Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti from 2011 to 2013. In early 2019, after three years of dating, she became engaged to actor Avi Rothman. In January 2020, she and Rothman became the parents of twins, a boy, Shiloh, and a girl, Luna, via surrogacy.

What movies did Kristen Wiig play in? ›

Wiig also appeared in such notable films as Greg Mottola's Paul (2011), opposite Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Andrew Jarecki's All Good Things (2010), opposite Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst and Frank Langella; DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon (2010), with Gerard Butler and Jay Baruchel; the Universal ...

What seasons was Kristen Wiig on SNL? ›

Years on SNL

First breaking through as a performer with the Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings, Wiig achieved nationwide stardom during her seven-season tenure as a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 2005 until 2012.

How much does Kristen Wiig make? ›

Kristen Wiig Net Worth
NameKristen Wiig
Net Worth (2023)$30 Million
ProfessionActress, Comedian, writer, Producer
Monthly Income And Salary$0.2 Million +
Yearly Income And Salary$3 million+
1 more row
Jun 20, 2023


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