Idiot Hero: Film

Films - Animated

  • Emmet from The Lego Movie. A Journey to the Center of the Mind finds his brain is a complete blank slate, and he's had exactly one original idea in his entire life: the double-decker couch, which literally everyone else in the movie thinks is a stupid idea.
    • Ironically, he eventually becomes The Strategist for the Master Builders. And not only that, the double-decker couch saved their lives because it was so stupid, the Big Bad missed it. Additionally, the couch is the only object that survives the destruction of the submarine built by the Master Builders. Why? Because, while they're great a building things individually, working together doesn't come naturally to them, and their individual styles conflict with one another.
  • Disney's Aladdin fits the trope well. He goes about his life carelessly while making the most moronic decisions, spare for a few moments of flash in the pan brilliance when his or somebody else's life depends on it. It's particularly noticeable when you realize how most of the other characters, save for Jasmine, spend their time trying to steer him to a correct choice. Still, his idiocy seems not to extend too far beyond what's needed for the Aesop of the week.
    • And his moronic behavior goes through stages, as well: in the first movie, it's due to his horrifically low self esteem telling him that lying about himself will make people like him, even when it's obvious that Jasmine loves him for who he is. In the show, it shifts to either overconfidence or his chronic inability to pass by a problem and not try to solve it.
  • Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas is probably one of the more justified examples, as his idiotic moments come from not being an idiot per se, but from either not understanding concepts outside of Halloween (the whole Christmas fiasco, thinking the shells were fireworks, etc.) or being so excited for Christmas that he doesn't listen to reason (Sally and her prediction). The only thing he does that is just plain stupid is trusting Lock, Shock, and Barrel to take care of Santa Claus.
    • In one sense, The Nightmare Before Christmas turns this trope on its head because one of the main causes of all the trouble the characters get into is not Jack's stupidity, but his being smarter than everyone else in Halloweentown. Jack is much too worldly and sophisticated to limit his cultural horizons to his provincial hometown, and his desire for cultural diversity is what motivates him to try to combine Halloween and Christmas. In this light, it's the supposedly naive Sally who comes off as the smartest one.
    Santa Claus: The next time you get the urge to take over someone else's holiday, I'd listen to her! She's the only one who makes sense around this insane asylum!


Films - Live-Action

  • Haru (Chris Farley) - Beverly Hills Ninja. The most classic example of this genre.
    Haru: I may not be a great ninja; I may not be one with the universe; but I will say this: NO ONE MESSES WITH MY BROTHER.
  • Forrest Gump. He actually appears to succeed because of his idiocy, or rather, because it never seems to occur to him to do anything other than the Right Thing by traditional standards. He becomes a decorated war hero just by trying to save his Army buddy Bubba and his comrades. His shrimping business succeeds only because a hurricane has sunk every boat in the harbor but his; it is strongly implied this is because Gump has been going to church lately and got God on his side. Other characters who do not share his conventional morality, and explore alternative values and lifestyles as so many Americans did in the 1960s and '70s, act like total bastards and/or make fools of themselves. Even the good-hearted Jenny succumbs to Death by Sex, since she gets AIDS.
  • Wikus van de Merwe from District 9. Let's just say that none of his boneheaded decisions throughout the film are out of character. Though it's more a case of Wikus being a Dirty Coward at best and Villain Protagonist at worst.
  • Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek reboot seems to be playing with this one. Unlike TOS Kirk, the reboot Kirk needs his supporting cast to keep from getting his ass handed to him every five minutes (Spock, Spock Prime, Sulu, Scotty, Bones, and Chekov keep Kirk from killing himself in various interesting ways while Hypercompetent Sidekick Uhura holds the ship together!). Likely justified, due to being raised without a father.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Harry, one notable exchange:
    Harry: I feel badly.
    Harmony:It's bad. Badly is an adverb, So to say you feel badly would be saying that the mechanism which allows you to feel is broken.
    (which later leads to)
    Perry: Sleep badly. Any questions hesitate to call.
    Harry: It's bad. Sleep bad. Otherwise it makes it seem like the mechanism which allows you to sleep is...
    Perry: What fuckhead? Badly is an adverb. Who taught you grammar. Get out, vanish.
  • Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther series is the Trope Codifier
  • Jack from Jack the Giant Slayer is a wide-eyed and gullible farmboy who nevertheless grows to be a true hero.
  • Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction is this at best; his idiocy gets himself and a witness to one of his hits killed and also comes dangerously close to getting Mia Wallace killed.
  • Bill And Ted, in every incarnation. While they have an intuitive understanding of San Dimas Time, their basic response to everything is almost always (a) tell a dumb joke, (b) make a rock music reference, (c) going along with what someone smarter suggests, or (d) some combination of the above.
  • Patchi from Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie was this at first, a chronic complainer with poor survival skills. He finally shapes up when he leads the herd off the frozen lake, the same lake Scowler is leading everyone across.

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