10 Essential Aubrey Plaza Movies That Defined Her Career

For more than ten years, Aubrey Plaza has played a range of parts with comic, off-kilter performances. In 2009, she made a breakthrough on Parks and Recreation, where her wry April Ludgate was a standout character.

Since then, Plaza has excelled in a variety of humorous roles, a supervillain part in Legion, and numerous voice acting roles in animated series, such as The Legend of Korra. In more recent movies like Black Bear and Emily the Criminal, Plaza has embraced gritty and realistic roles. She excels at portraying hilarious, vulnerable characters with a dark edge, but it’s debatable if she’s yet landed a part that fully utilises her talent. She is expected to play a significant role in the upcoming second season of HBO’s The White Lotus, a show that seems to play to her skills. In the upcoming drama Olga Dies Dreaming, about two Puerto Rican siblings who are residing in New York at the time of Hurricane Maria, Plaza will again take the lead role.


‘Best Sellers’ (2021) – IMDb: 6.1/10

Plaza plays Lucy, a young publisher who has taken over her late father’s faltering publishing company, in this comedy-drama. She persuades Harris Shaw (Michael Caine), a well-known (and notoriously pessimistic) author, to allow her to publish his most recent manuscript in order to save the company from failure. Harris and Lucy embark on a book tour, but the eccentric author proves to be challenging to manage.

Best Sellers is hardly Plaza’s finest composition. The tale occasionally leans too heavily on feeling, and the script is weak. But Caine is in good form, and he and Plaza get along well. This literary world comedy is a far better choice for anyone searching for something uplifting and lighthearted.

‘Black Bear’ (2020) – IMDb: 6.5/10

Plaza portrays Allison, a director who is experiencing a creative block. In search of motivation, she makes her way to a retreat near a body of water. Allison is faced with her own problems during a rough evening with the young married couple who own the location, Gabe (Christopher Abbott) and Blair (Sarah Gadon). In this intensely meta comedy/thriller about marital conflict, the distinction between fact and fiction becomes hazy.

In the movie, Plaza displays a wide spectrum of emotions, from feigned irony to a complete mental breakdown. Even more remarkably, she maintains her sense of humour the entire while. There is one particularly memorable inebriated moment.

‘Emily the Criminal’ (2022) – IMDb: 6.7/10

Working a minimum-wage job in Los Angeles while making payments on student loan debt, Emily (Plaza) is fighting to make ends meet. Her career condition isn’t made any better by her prior felony record. Due of this, a coworker informs her about a chance to earn $200 in an hour. All she needs to do is make a transaction on Youcef’s name to commit credit card theft (Theo Rossi).

After her first task, Emily makes the decision to fully immerse herself in the illegal activity. She succeeds at first, but eventually the situation deteriorates as competing criminals and the government close in. Plaza commands attention as Emily, a desperate individual with nothing to lose who is independent but vulnerable. Her most dramatic performance to date may have been that one.

‘Happiest Season’ (2020) – IMDb: 6.6/10

A couple named Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) visit Harper’s family for Christmas in this holiday rom-com. Harper confesses that she hasn’t told her parents about her sexual orientation yet but plans to do so after Christmas. Reluctantly, Abby consents to pose as Harper’s roommate while they are visiting. From then, the situation becomes more precarious as some old secrets come to light.

The cast is strong, but Happiest Season is constrained by a somewhat predictable storyline. Riley, an ex who Harper dumped many years ago, is played by Plaza. The friendship between Riley and Abby and the sequences starring Stewart and Plaza among the film’s strong points. One almost starts hoping they get together in the end.

Ingrid Goes West (2017) – IMDb: 6.6/10

An unstable, social media-obsessed lady named Ingrid (Plaza) relocates to Los Angeles in order to be near her influencer idol Taylor (Elizabeth Olson). She goes above and beyond, undergoing a complete makeover to resemble Taylor, and even stealing her dog.

Similar to the iPhone Age version of The King of Comedy, it is a dark parody of social media and celebrity that centres on a seriously disturbed anti-hero. Plaza exhibits a really intricate performance as Ingrid. Guillermo Del Toro dubbed the movie “a cautionary Instagram story of labyrinthine narcissism” in a tweet and applauded Plaza’s performance.

‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ (2016) – IMDb: 6.0/10

Zac Efron and Adam Devine’s characters, the titular brothers, advertise online for dates to their sister’s Hawaii wedding. The females who respond to the post, Tatiana (Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), only want to use Mike and Dave as a free holiday, despite their hopes of partying and engaging in other mischief.

Plaza and Kendrick are excellent, and their opposing roles make for interesting counterpoints. Kendrick is the nerdy sidekick to Plaza’s impulsive and domineering personality. Some of the best sequences in the movie are when they have random chats about what they’re going to do with their life. Although it’s not a very memorable romantic comedy, Plaza lovers who haven’t watched it yet should enjoy it.

‘Mystery Team’ (2009) – IMDb: 6.6/10

For Plaza, 2009 was a crucial year. She appeared in a supporting part in Judd Apatow’s Funny People that same year, as well as Parks and Recreation. Her work in Mystery Team, a movie by Dominic Dierkes, DC Pierson, and Donald Glover’s sketch comedy troupe Derrick Comedy, is less well-known.

It’s a silly comedy about three amateur detectives who aim to solve a double homicide case to show that they are “real” detectives. It’s a very low-budget production that comes out as unprofessional, but it provides an interesting look at Plaza and Glover’s early careers before they went on to popularity, success, and (in Glover’s case) various career eras.

‘Ned Rifle’ (2014) – IMDb: 6.2/10

The most recent film by Hal Hartley, who made the legendary 1990 black comedy Trust, is Ned Rifle. It is the third and final picture in a trilogy that also features Henry Fool and Fay Grim. The title character, played by Liam Aiken, is the son of the two previous films’ leads. While his mother is serving a prison sentence, Ned has been living under witness protection. He sets out into the world on his 18th birthday in an effort to track down and murder his missing father.

Susan (Plaza), a broke college student who has her own motivations for locating Ned’s father, complicates Ned’s strategy. The story that follows is oddly humorous, travels quickly from scene to scene, and packs a lot into its short 85-minute running time.


‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ (2012) – IMDb: 6.9/10

In this science fiction comedy from Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, Plaza co-stars with Mark Duplass. Plaza plays magazine intern Darius, who is asked to look into a classifieds item that asks for a partner for a time-travel mission by one of the writers (Jake Johnson).

Darius disguises himself as a job applicant and starts interacting with the eccentric, heartbroken Kenneth (Duplass), the author of the job posting, who says he has a time machine that he plans to use to reunite with his long-lost love. It’s a surprisingly heartfelt romantic comedy that gives time travel clichés a new spin.

‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ (2010) – IMDb: 7.5/10

Plaza plays the sarcastic Julie Powers in Edgar Wright’s overly stylized Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. She regularly swears at Scott (Michael Cera), who she treats particularly badly. They’re called jobs, something a *censored* ball like you wouldn’t know anything about, and For the Record, I am so pissed off for you right now, are just a couple of the amazing quotes from Julie.

Wright and Bryan Lee O’Malley, the creator of the first Scott Pilgrim comic, even went so far as to divulge ten character-related secrets to Plaza in order to enhance her portrayal of the character. Wright expressed his delight at the Scott Pilgrim casting and said that he had already chosen Plaza before she made an appearance in Funny People or Parks and Recreation. Plaza had a vital influence in helping to propel her to her current position.

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Being a binge-watcher himself, finding Content to write about comes naturally to Divesh. From Anime to Trending Netflix Series and Celebrity News, he covers every detail and always find the right sources for his research.

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