10 Actors Who Aren't Afraid To Mock Themselves

Actors must be able to take criticism, especially their own...

Birdman Edward Norton
New Regency

It's a cliché that all actors are self-important, pampered, and pretentious. Many movie stars aren't afraid to take the piss out of themselves in fourth-wall breaking comedies or mock-documentaries. Joaquin Phoenix famously "quit acting" to pursue a rap career, all of which was a daft ruse to be documented in the film I'm Still Here, directed by Casey Affleck. Other actors prefer to take on roles that directly subvert their screen image, in an attempt to do something more creatively satisfying.

For example, everyone knows that Channing Tatum can do comedy, but before the likes of 21 Jump Street and The Lost City, he proved this by playing the pretty boy lover of Kevin James' wife in the woeful Vince Vaughan comedy The Dilemma. Tatum, coming off the back of the Step-Up franchise, was hands-down the funniest performer in the whole film.

This list collects some of the great performances by actors playing twisted versions of themselves, or mocking their public image in thinly veiled fictional characters.

10. Al Pacino's Dunkaccino Commercial - Jack And Jill

Birdman Edward Norton
Columbia Pictures

Al Pacino's late-period career choices have been more than a little dubious. For every The Irishman, there's a Righteous Kill. However, one of Al's more questionable movie roles was appearing as himself in the notorious Adam Sandler-in-drag movie Jack and Jill, in which he also sent up these same dodgy career choices.

This fictional version of Al is being courted by Sandler's commercial director Jack, who wants him to star in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial. Pacino refuses the role, considering himself to still be an artist despite his star being on the wain. His mind changes however, when he meets Jack's sister Jill (also Sandler) and falls head over heels for her. His courting of Jill is Pacino in full flow, hamming it up in full "Great Ass" mode.

The story builds to a genuinely hilarious scene in which Pacino records the Dunkaccino commercial. Pacino plays it straight and for all of Jack and Jill's flaws it's a brilliant satire of Art vs. Commerce. It's so funny that the scene has been stripped off any context and meme'd into oblivion on social media. It says a lot for Pacino's career choices that some people believe it to be a genuine advert. However, Al Pacino's self-awareness is on full display throughout Sandler's film, and he's clearly having a ball taking the piss out of himself.


Citizen of the Universe, Film Programmer, Writer, Podcaster, Doctor Who fan and a gentleman to boot. As passionate about Chinese social-realist epics as I am about dumb popcorn movies.