Chris Pine goes for laughs in Horrible Bosses 2
James Tiberius Kirk and Jack Ryan.
Chris Pine has had the opportunity to play two of pop culture's most popular action heroes.
Yet, those roles have not taken his career to the stellar heights of his peers, like the newly-crowned Sexiest Man Alive Chris Hemsworth or the other famous Chris - Evans.
It's not that Pine - who ticks all the boxes of a Hollywood leading man when it comes to good looks, hunky physique and acting chops - isn't good at what he does.
It's also not because the 34-year-old US actor isn't a bankable star.
There's just something about his movies that don't quite connect with the audience.
J.J. Abrams' 2009 Star Trek reboot launched Pine's action-man status, and its 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness cemented it.
Yet, both weren't the big winners at the US and worldwide box offices in their respective years.
Pine's other star vehicle Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which was meant to reboot the famous Tom Clancy spy franchise, saw a miserable response both in the US and globally.
Though he admitted to Men's Journal that franchises are his "safety net", he also feels Hollywood should move away from action and science-fiction genres.
Perhaps he's taking his own advice by dabbling in comedy, a genre he told Total Film that he would "do all day long".
WHALE OF A TIME
Pine attempts to split your sides in Horrible Bosses 2, opening here tomorrow, where he joins Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, who reprise their roles as hapless employees turned self-employed entrepreneurs.
Pine plays Rex, the only son of multimillionaire Bert (Christoph Waltz), who has a whale of a time trying to turn the trio's lives upside down.
In what is arguably the best scene in the sequel, Pine shows he has great comic timing and an adeptness in physical comedy when he gets kidnapped by Bateman and company.
Here's why we think he will find better success as a funnyman.
1 ACTION HERO OVERLOAD
Other than his above-mentioned namesakes Hemsworth and Evans, Guardians Of The Galaxy star Chris Pratt - who came on the scene around the same time as Pine in 2008 - has established himself as the newest action hero.
Then there's Channing Tatum, who has become Hollywood's go-to action guy. Hollywood imports such as Henry Cavill and Tom Hardy look set to command the silver screen next year.
There are also older action stalwarts like Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, who sure aren't planning to give up their thrones in the near future.
2 EVERYONE LOVES COMEDY
Horrible Bosses was a huge hit when it was released in 2011, taking in over US$201 million (S$262 million) worldwide, and Pine obviously knows where the audience's hearts lie. He told Total Film: "I turned to Bateman and I said, 'I totally get why you do this. Why would anyone want to make The Machinist'?
"It's fun making other people laugh. We don't go out to dinner and try to make people cry."
3 HE'S ACTUALLY FUNNY
Born to a family of performers, Pine is quite adept at comedy.
Horrible Bosses 2 director Sean Anders wrote the part of Rex specially for him, having remembered seeing a then largely unknown Pine on stage in a 2007 dark comedy play called Fat Pig.
Said the US film-maker to LA Times: "Let's face it: Most, for lack of a better word, 'pretty-boy' actors don't have the chops that a lot of the comedy guys have.
"But every now and then a guy like Alec Baldwin or Jon Hamm comes along. I knew Chris was one of those guys."
More proof of Pine's abilities can be seen on comedy video website Funnyordie.com, where he hams it up in sketches such as Vampire Lawyer and Pa-gents.
4 CHANGING PERCEPTIONS
Pine is aware the industry has put him in the action-oriented leading man box.
He told LA Times: "Once the business sees you in a certain light, they want to capitalise on that. You have to go out of your way to let people know you're interested in doing other things."
And doing other things is just what he has lined up. Like musical-comedy Into The Woods, where he plays Prince Charming in Rob Marshall's take on the award-winning Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim.
5 STRETCHING HIS LIMITS
He's also decided to go behind the camera, experimenting with screenwriting and producing work.
His debut project Mantivities, an indie comedy about a group of men who try to instil responsibility in their former child star pal by taking him on a day of activities, will be released next April.
He told Deadline Hollywood: "I couldn't be happier to begin the adventure of making Mantivities knowing how much fun we all had writing it.
"Somehow I get to laugh with my friends and call it work."
Scary slave drivers
Working under these big-screen horrible bosses guarantees nightmares every day
1 Darth Vader
Star Wars: Episode IV, V & VI (1977, 1980, 1983)
2 Miranda Priestly
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
3 John Milton
Devil's Advocate (1997)
4 Edwin Epps
12 Years A Slave (2013)
5 Dave Harken
Horrible Bosses (2011)
6 Gilbert Huph
The Incredibles (2004)
7 Margaret Tate
The Proposal (2009)
The M Match-Up
YOUNG JEN vs OLD JEN
US actress Jennifer Aniston's career is still alive and kicking, even after a couple of decades in showbiz. Question is, do we love the young and friendly Jen, or the old and bossy Jen?
YOUNG JEN: Aniston burst onto the scene with Friends in 1994. The show took off like a rocket, making the then-25-year-old an instant star. Even her hairstyle - The Rachel - became famous. Young Jen soon hit the big screen with mostly forgettable rom-coms such as Picture Perfect (1997) and The Object Of My Affection (1998).
OLD JEN: Now a weathered Hollywood veteran, Aniston has been a huge star for a very long time. That said, she hasn't made many good movies. The Horrible Bosses flicks are among the highlights in a recent filmography that includes the likes of Just Go With It (2011) and Wanderlust (2012). We're The Millers (2013) is pretty good though.
ROUND ONE: YOUNG JEN
She was everyone's special friend with special hair.
YOUNG JEN: Young Jen managed to land the biggest catch of the 90s by marrying none other than the mighty Brad Pitt. They got together in 1998, married in 2000, and divorced in 2005 - a pretty solid relationship by Hollywood standards. Hollywood's golden couple split after Pitt met Angelina Jolie.
OLD JEN: When you still look as good as Aniston does in her 40s, you don't have to settle for second best. She is currently engaged to the super-handsome Justin Theroux, who stars in the hit TV show The Leftovers. He may not be as famous as Pitt, but he's still hella hunky.
ROUND TWO: YOUNG JEN
She won the lottery with Pitt.
YOUNG JEN: There's never been a sex symbol who looks quite like Aniston. She has a killer bod and a gorgeous smile - not forgetting that hair, of course - but at the same time she radiates smarts and class. In the 90s, her sense of style was an inspiration to women. Flirty but never slutty; she was the whole package.
OLD JEN: At 45, Aniston still looks absolutely stunning. In Horrible Bosses 2, she plays a sex addict, and she has absolutely no trouble finding partners. One of the highlights of We're The Millers was her show-stopping striptease. Aniston is living proof that 45 is the new 30.
ROUND THREE: IT'S A DRAW
THE VERDICT: YOUNG JEN
Though Aniston remains a force to be reckoned with, she reached her peak a while back. Still love her, though! - Jason Johnson
GIVEAWAY: WIN HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 MOVIE PREMIUMS
We are giving away five sets of Horrible Bosses 2 movie hampers, courtesy of Warner Bros.
Each hamper includes a magnetic clip, a pair of touch-screen gloves, a set of postcards, a golf ball set and a bookmark.
To win, answer this question:
Name one of the actors in Horrible Bosses 2.
1. Chris Pine
2. Chris Evans
3. Chris Pratt
SMS your answer to 146077877 in the following format:
TNPMBOSSES Answer NRIC Name
Each SMS costs $0.21 (with GST). Contest ends on Sunday, 11.59pm.