The Evolution Of Robert Downey Jr

The Pick-Up Artist (1987)

After a few minor parts, and some notable appearances on Saturday Night Live, Downey Jr. starred in rom-com The Pick-Up Artist .

RDJ plays Jack Jericho, a serial womanizer, who falls for hard nut Randy Jensen (a girl, in case you were wondering).

Charm Factor: Charm-rate is set at medium to high. Randy's a tough cookie, and it takes a lot of strenuous magnetism.

Plus, he's not nearly at his prime. Check out the floppy hair and chubby cheeks. Bless.

He gets there in the end though. (He always does.)

Less Than Zero (1987)

Downey Jr. is Julian, a Berverly Hills Brat who takes a lot of drugs and is in a lot of debt.

It's thought that some of the antics Julian gets up to weren't a million miles away from what was happening in RDJ's personal life at the time.

Charm Factor: Downey Jr. proves that there is are few people in this world as charming as drug addicts persuing drugs, you know, before they go all sweaty and desperate.

He's looking a bit more dapper, too.

Chances Are (1989)

Alex Finch is the re-incarnation of Louie Jeffries, who was killed in 1964 but instantly re-born.

When Alex meets Corinne, Louie's widow, he remembers much of his past life. And then he starts going out with his sort-of daughter from his past-life marriage. Which is pretty messed up.

Charm Factor : Just bear in mind that he's trying to woo mother and daughter.

And that the daughter is actually his daughter .

That's a pretty thick load of charm he's got to layer on.

Soapdish (1991)

A satirical take on the cut-throat world of the soap opera, Soapdish centres around the fictional soap The Sun Also Sets , and features a host of pretty big names.

Downey Jr. is the show's sleazy producer, David, who conspires to oust the show's longtime star, Celeste (Sally Field).

Charm Factor : David himself is charmed by one of the show's stars, who offers herself to him on a plate if she'll help her to elbow out poor Celeste.

So he doesn't need to put in much work there - but he's charming anyway, obviously.

Chaplin (1992)

As the film that proved Robert Downey Jr.'s status as a serious (and seriously good) actor, Chaplin received huge praise from critics.

It was RDJ's sensitive (not to mention, impressively accurate) performance as Charlie Chaplin that gained the loudest applause.

Charm Factor: In character, Downey Jr. takes on a different sort of charisma - he is naïve, earnest, and above all, very, very funny.

It's little wonder the whole world turns to putty in his hand.

Short Cuts (1993)

Based on a series of short stories, Short Cuts was directed by Robert Altman, and stars just about every third actor in Hollywood.

Downey Jr. has a relatively small amount of screen-time, but makes a fair impression as Bill Bush, a make-up artist who's also a sadist.

He likes to paint fake injuries on his wife and wear extremely short shorts.

Charm Factor : It's an odd one, because his character isn't terribly likeable, though he softens up in the more intimite scenes with his wife.

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Oliver Stone’s super-violent, super-stylised flick was a satirical stab at the media, and its glorification of violent crime.

Downey Jr.'s Wayne Gale is the Australian reporter who attempts to elevate the psychotic Mickey and Mallory to a celebrity status. Which is a bit like putting a pair of jackals in teddy bear costumes.

Charm Factor: He's charming enough to worm his way into a maximum security prison for an interview with Mickey (Woody Harrelson) himself.

However, it’s a clawing, paparazzo kind of charm that kind of makes you want to punch him in the face.

Restoration (1995)

Yay! A costume drama! RDJ done a costume drama!

He plays Merivel, King Charles II's doctor. He has a terrible time - his wife dies and he has to give his baby to some nuns, on top of dealing with the plague and the Great Fire of London.

When it rains it pours , eh?

Charm Factor: Downey Jr. sports a rather fetching hairstyle and a passable British accent, which gives him a new Colin Firth / Hugh Grant sort of charm.

He is a bit whiney though.

Two Girls And A Guy (1997)

It's a title that must have led to a considerable amount of online video-search disappointment.

Carla and Lou discover, when waiting for respective boyfriends one day, that they're dating the same guy. Guess who?!

Downey Jr. is Blake, the eponymous Guy, who's having his cake and eating it.

Charm Factor: Even RDJ has a problem charming his way off this fish hook. He manages it, though.

Not only that - he even gets the girls to reveal that they, too, have been unfaithful. And makes them both want to have sex with him. God, he's good.

Wonder Boys (2000)

Something we learnt from Wonder Boys is that Robert Downey Jr. makes a very convincing homosexual.

He plays Terry, publisher to Michael Douglas’ writer and college lecturer, Grady. Terry takes a shining to one of Grady’s most exceptional (though hugely impressionable) students, James (Toby Maguire).

He gets away with all sorts just by being irresistibly charming.

Charm Factor: Downey Jr. is on typical cheeky-chappy form, and his character’s overt sexuality brings a new allure to the twinkle in his eye.

In short: Robert, you are a tart.