Time and time again, Hollywood has proven that a pretty face (and a fit body) can go a long way. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Talent often comes secondary to connections and beauty. The star system is in place so people will go see a movie based on a particular actor or actress. Sometimes it’s based on their amazing acting, but mostly (let’s be honest here), it’s because they’re hot.
Men are subject to this kind of exploitation just as much as women are, having to parade their shirtless bodies around or walk away from the camera butt naked—all in the name of ticket sales or ratings. But, there are some hunky performers out there who just can’t act at all. They’re easy on the eyes and they look the part of a leading man, but they lack the emotional depth needed to actually connect with audiences. Memorable actors make people feel something. Everyone has their own opinion on what makes a good actor—even the most universally hated actors have fans—but in our opinion, these 15 Hunky Actors Can’t Act At All. Sorry, guys.
15. Liam Hemsworth
Liam Hemsworth—so hot right now. But why, honestly? He’s just the scrawnier version of his brother Chris, Marvel’s God of Thunder. Liam learned to act on the Australian soap opera, Neighbors, which should tell you a little something about his skill. Like his brother, he knows how to use his looks to his advantage, but he can’t seem to embody an actual character.
At least when he’s in cute, flirty roles like opposite Miley Cyrus in The Last Song or Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker, his looks can carry him when his acting falls flat. But put him in a more serious role like as Gale in The Hunger Games, and all he seems to be able to do is whisper and brood. Where’s the fire? Where’s the pain? Katniss chose Peeta!
14. Jamie Dornan
Jamie Dornan is one of those handsome actors who only knows how to flirt and be sexy. Put him in a role where he can just smirk and pierce the leading lady with his eyes—you’re golden. But once he starts getting dialogue and has to act, he leaves something to be desired. His very first role as Kirsten Dunst’s love interest in Marie Antoinette is a prime example of this. They have great romantic chemistry together, but the little dialogue he had really lacked any depth or purpose.
And don’t even get us started on the Fifty Shades movies. We may as well be watching a skin flick, because the acting’s just that awful and stiff. Even more recently, his scenes in the Netflix series, The Fall, were so cringe-worthy levels of dull. He’d speak with such lack of feeling or inflection, he was more robot than serial killer. Spoilers, but we’re glad his character was killed off.
13. Finn Jones
We must have been blinded by all those steamy sex scenes in Game of Thrones, because we didn’t quite realize how mediocre Finn Jones’ acting actually was during his days as Loras Tyrell. There was lots of brooding, flirting, and dull pillow talk, but not a whole lot of substance to the Knight of Flowers. Then, for reasons beyond our understanding, Marvel cast him as Danny Rand, aka the Iron Fist, in the Netflix show of the same name. Aside from the fact that the casting was all wrong, we had to witness thirteen episodes of Finn holding his head in his hands and unconvincingly punching people.
Seriously though, how is such a scrawny dude the Iron Fist? Perhaps it’s not entirely Finn’s fault that the series was so negatively received—the pacing was slow, he only had fifteen minutes before a shot to do the fight scenes, etc. etc. Even still, he seemed awfully sulky for someone who was rigorously trained in martial arts since age ten. Perhaps we’ll change our minds about his talent after The Defenders is released, because we really, really want to like that show.
12. Josh Duhamel
Josh Duhamel plays two kinds of characters—hunky, bicep-flaunting romantic lead, and hunky, rugged action hero type. Early in his career, he tried playing the sophisticated socialite, Dorian Gray, in a poorly adapted version of the book A Picture of Dorian Gray, but the result was shockingly laughable and cringe-inducing. He thankfully found his niche, but he’s now become so pigeonholed as these types of characters that he’s almost become a parody of himself.
Pretty much every actor from the Transformers movies displayed nothing but bad acting throughout all four films, but part of that has to do with Michael Bay’s action-over-acting mentality. However, you can’t overlook Josh’s eye-rolling moments of “sincerity” when it’s just him and a lead actress. Pretty much every movie where he has to tell a love interest how he feels comes off as unbelievable. He makes all these weird faces as if he’s trying to convince himself on the spot that it’s true (see Safe Haven for reference). Finding your motivation before the scene starts is Acting 101, man.
11. Stephen Amell
None of the DC Comics shows are particularly spectacular (especially in comparison to what Marvel has to offer), but Arrow is probably the worst of the bunch. A huge part of the fault has to fall on its star, Stephen Amell, as the Green Arrow/Oliver Queen, who’s like a less interesting version of Batman/Bruce Wayne. We all know that The CW puts out mindless fluff that appeals to drama-craving teens, but there are a ridiculous amount of workout scenes on the show featuring a glistening, shirtless Oliver Queen. You can’t blame folks for wanting to watch the show just for a glimpse of the Arrow’s abs and sexy stubble, but that’s about all it has going for it.
On Arrow, and other shows and films Amell’s taken on, he mostly just stands around looking pretty, being tough, or making out with the hottest person in the room. That’s because once he starts talking, you just want to put your finger up to his lips and go “shhhhhh, it’s better this way.”
10. Scott Eastwood
He may be the son of Clint Eastwood, but Scott Eastwood hasn’t quite lived up to his famous last name. While his father wasn’t the greatest actor either, he at least had star power that drew people to the theaters time and time again. Part of that was a consistency in taking the tough guy roles—cowboys and cops—but Clint also had a commanding presence. Scott, on the other hand, has yet to become much of a draw for most audiences, largely because of his mediocre acting abilities.
Like so many other actors on this list, he certainly has the right look—manly build and chiseled features—but he isn’t a strong enough performer to star in anything except heavy action films and cheesy Nicholas Sparks romances. Women might fill the theater to catch a glimpse of his shirtless body in one of the surf films he’s done, and guys might be down to see him race cars in his two most recent films, Overdrive and Fate of the Furious, but that’s about it.
9. Jai Courtney
Maybe it’s partially that he just picks awful movies to act in, but we haven’t really been impressed with Jai Courtney’s talents up to this point. His portrayal of Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genisys was completely unmemorable. They could have cast any other hunky dude in that role and the result would have been the same. Sure, we saw him without his shirt off, but his buffness couldn’t even match Arnold’s from back in the day, so what was the point?
Then, he played a very toned down version of Eric in the Divergent films. The guy was supposed to be completely ruthless and menacing, but he just came off as a prick more than anything else. Ironically, he used that to his benefit in Suicide Squad as Captain Boomerang, but his part kind of got overshadowed by the other (better) actors in the film. Granted, the whole movie was a mess to begin with, but Boomerang should have been way more fun than he was.
8. Adrian Grenier
While Adrian Grenier may have been playing an actor who couldn’t really act on TV, his portrayal of Vincent Chase in Entourage wasn’t actually too far off from reality. Guys may have envied his baller lifestyle and boy-crew of Hollywood hustlers, but no one was talking about how great of an actor he was.
After being on a hit show for seven years, you’d think Hollywood would be breaking down his door with offers. Instead, he’s starred in a host of bad movies, playing “the famous guy” or the love interest, neither of which have done much to elevate his fame. In short, he’s sadly doomed to live in the shadow of a character he played—plagued by bad acting of an even worse actor.
7. Jared Padalecki
Oh boy, Supernatural fans are not gonna like this one. Jared Padalecki is one of those hunky guys who just has no discernible talent. He always plays “the attractive one,” which is basically just different versions of himself. Gilmore Girls tried to make him into a leading man, but he was just no match for Milo Ventimiglia’s bad boy charm. After that, he appeared in a bunch of horror movies that were well suited to his vacant expressions, always staring opened mouth at something or furrowing his brow. Sure, the camera loves him, but that’s because he has the most perfectly symmetrical face ever.
And then of course, there’s Supernatural. How that show has been on for twelve years just baffles the mind. Again, Jared plays the pretty one to Jensen Ackles, who’s the (also pretty) funny/snarky one. They’re always playing tricks on each other and encountering all kinds of paranormal beasties, but there’s no acting involved there. He’s still just the slightly dimwitted, fun-loving surfer bro who would feel more at home on a soap opera.
6. Vin Diesel
Just because Vin Diesel is a self-proclaimed D&D playing nerd and has muscles for days, doesn’t mean he automatically gets a free pass as a good actor. It’s honestly a tall task to think of the last time Vin had an expression on his face that wasn’t a blank, tough guy stare. His gruff voice and monotone reflections made him perfect for the one-liner character of Groot, but they can easily put you to sleep in the already terrible Fast & Furious franchise.
Even in the xXx films, The Chronicles of Riddick, and The Last Witch Hunter, Vin Diesel basically plays the same type of bad boy action hero who’s completely one dimensional and unrealistic. Granted, that’s what people have come to expect from him, so no one is surprised when they go to see one of his films. Still, it’d be nice to see what else he has to offer besides a stiff upper lip and a chip on his shoulder.
5. Zac Efron
Like so many other Disney Channel stars, Zac Efron has been getting by on his good looks since he was a teenager. Sure, he was the cute one in the High School Musical movies, but in terms of actual talent, he was lacking to say the least. He should have stuck to musicals, because he can actually sing, but Hollywood wanted to bank on his looks and popularity as a leading man instead. So he’s gone back and forth between romantic comedies and dramas, but his true calling is probably that of a shirtless goon for guys and gals to drool over.
Zac has appeared in a bunch of brainless comedies throughout his twenties like Dirty Grandpa, Neighbors, and most recently Baywatch, basically playing versions of himself. But, as we’ve seen him grow into the muscley man he is today, his acting seems to be going out the window, in favor of teaming up with Seth Rogen & James Franco. We’ll get a better look at what he’s capable of when he plays Ted Bundy, but until then, he’s firmly entrenched with the other bad actors on our list.
4. Ashton Kutcher
Dumb and cute aren’t exactly the first two words you’d use to describe a great actor. Nevertheless, that’s what many bland actors get by on, including Ashton Kutcher. He was the the dumb vain one on That ’70s Show, the even stupider counterpart to Seann William Scott’s character in Dude, Where’s My Car?, and the clueless cutie in My Boss’s Daughter. He even had his own reality show, Punk’d, where he got to play the prankster, duping unsuspecting celebrities and everyday people with stupid scenarios meant to rile them up.
While he seemed to have admitted to the world at that point that he was no more than a court jester, he still tried to have a serious acting career. In Jobs, you could still see Michael Kelso shining through despite his best attempts to get into the character. Now, he’s back again in the Netflix comedy, The Ranch, where he’s completely overshadowed by the acting chops of Sam Eliot and the scene-stealing wit of his That ’70s Show co-star, Danny Masterson.
3. Paul Walker
We’re not out to disrespect his memory or anything (we’re sure he was a standup guy), but let’s be frank: Paul Walker couldn’t really act. That’s not why he was cast in the Fast & the Furious franchise. He was cast for his blond hair and blue eyes—a pretty boy type that could be molded into the next action hero. However, when he shared a serious scene with someone, he often just stared at them, as if there was no inner monologue going on in any of his characters’ minds. He was actually much better when he was just by himself, reacting to something or delivering a line or two between action.
In the last few years of his life, he put out a couple of thrillers that did show his potential as an actor. The Lazarus Project and Hours weren’t half bad. Both showed a man struggling with loss, desperate to get his family back. Despite possibly becoming a good actor before his tragic death in 2015, Walker probably would have kept riding those Fast & Furious films anyway. And we can’t fault him for that.
2. Orlando Bloom
Orlando Bloom is like a purebred cat, all he has to do is stand there and look pretty while the world oohs and ahhs at him. He constantly takes roles where his majestic beauty can truly shine—Legolas, the mystically beautiful elf with perfect aim and even more perfect hair, or Will Turner, the pretty boy son of a pirate who just happens to be an ace sword fighter.
But once you strip away all the action, stunning cinematography, and sweeping scores, all you’re left with is an attractive man reciting lines and gaping at the other actors. Most of the roles he takes don’t actually require much acting, to be fair, but the ones that do sadly aren’t that memorable. You have to wonder if he’s just in it for the money, or if he likes being a “movie star” rather than an actual “actor.”
1. Taylor Lautner
Probably one of the worst actors on this list, Taylor Lautner has collected a staggering nine Razzie Award nominations, along with two wins for both Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Screen Couple in The Twilight Saga: Break Dawn-Part 2. Sure, he was a sweetheart in the first couple of films, but there was absolutely no emotional depth to his portrayal of hunky werewolf-dude, Jacob Black. Then, when he transformed his bod for the later films, all Twilight fans were looking at were his abs anyway, so any bad acting was graciously overlooked.
Still, his performances were pretty much universally panned by critics, and it only got worse for the guy when he tried starring in movies of his own. Abduction, Tracers, and Run the Tide‘s Rotten Tomatoes scores average out at about 14%, which is pretty damn awful. It’s no wonder Hollywood won’t cast him as a leading man anymore, or come anywhere near matching his Twilight salaries, which were well over eight figures.
What other Hollywood actors lack in the talent department? Let us know in the comments.
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