7. THE RECRUIT (2003)
One can see the attraction Farrell had to The Recruit, a project that allowed the then-on-the-rise actor to spar with big screen great Al Pacino. Seemingly blinded by such a grand opportunity, Farrell neglected to realize that the script was a what’s-what of CIA movie clichés and that Pacino already made an identical movie six years earlier, The Devil’s Advocate, only that one had horror elements, a naked Charlize Theron, and wasn’t completely devoid of original thought.
Farrell plays a computer whiz recruited by Pacino’s character to join the CIA, and that’s where the familiarity begins. You’ve got a supermodel-looking fellow trainee (Bridget Moynahan) who becomes a love interest, a subplot involving Farrell’s dead father and daddy’s connections to son’s new place of employment, unnecessary car chases, and obvious late-game twists—all standard components for CIA cinema, though done with even less ingenuity than before.
The aftermath: Farrell’s star power rose as Pacino’s credibility began its downward spiral into Righteous Kill/88 Minutes territory. A double loss for us all.