In 2002, most of us had no idea that Neil Patrick Harris was a comic genius. It had been five long years since the former Doogie Howser had surprised audiences with his creepy-clever turn in Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers -- five years in which Harris had taken guest appearances in made-for-TV movies and sitcoms, done one season in a little-seen comedy of his own opposite Tony Shalhoub (Stark Raving Mad, from producer Steven Levitan, creator of Modern Family), voiced cartoon characters, and made a name for himself on Broadway in productions of Sweeney Todd, Assassins, Proof and Cabaret.

While most people can recall Harris playing a deranged, drugged-up version of himself in 2004's Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, they may have well missed him in an earlier, equally surprising role in Undercover Brother. It would be another three years before How I Met Your Mother made him an A-list TV star, but the first faint glimmer of that career trajectory can be seen in these two films.
categories Cinematical