This is a Kat Dennings appreciation post. The hilarious and gregarious actress started in the industry young, playing a teen on “Sex and the City” and going on to shine in rom-coms and dark comedies, in particular. So if you’re curious, we’ve ranked the incomparable Kat Dennings’ best performances.
10“Sex and the City” (2000)
Episode: “Hot Child in the City”
The infamous performance of Jenny Brier is the stuff of legends. In the HBO classic series “Sex and the City” episode, Dennings plays a wealthy, bratty teen who hires Samantha (played by Kim Cattrall) to plan her Bat Mitzvah. The young star delivers on the sass that we’ve come to know and love.
9“To Write Love on Her Arms” (2012)
dir. Nathan Frankowski
Dennings stars as the 19-year-old Renee Yohe, a young woman–and survivor–battling depression, addiction, and self-harm. With the help of friends, she transforms her pain into an organization that helps other survivors. Dennings is a commanding force in this powerful film.
8“Daydream Nation” (2010)
dir. Mike Goldbach
Michael Goldbach’s drama-packed film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, showcasing Dennings as the captivating star. She plays Caroline Wexler, a high schooler forced to move to a small Canadian town by her father. Caroline quickly gets involved in a dysfunctional relationship, and her world and the world around her becomes messier by the day.
dir. Kenneth Branagh
In Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh‘s MCU debut, Dennings plays Darcy Lewis, the fun, quippy lab assistant in one of Marvel’s most captivating releases. Although her role is supporting, she shines just as always alongside great actors like Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Natalie Portman. Perhaps a surprise appearance in “Avengers: Endgame” is in the future?
6“The 40-Year-Old Virgin” (2005)
dir. Judd Apatow
The irreverent comedy is classic Judd Apatow, and also coincidentally acts as classic Kat Dennings. She plays Marla, the teenaged daughter of Andy’s love interest (played by Oscar-nominee Steve Carell) Trish, (played by the effervescent Catherine Keener). Marla feigns sexual experience, which leads up to an unforgettable scene with Andy at the local sexual health clinic and a warm exchange that becomes one of the film’s highlights.
5“2 Broke Girls” (2011-2017)
Creators: Whitney Cummings, Michael Patrick King
Co-starring with Beth Behrs, Dennings played Max Black in this gloriously lewd CBS sitcom that ran for six seasons. Dennings and Behrs exhibited tremendous chemistry, while Dennings, in particular, showcased her impeccable comedic chops. It was sad to see the show get the ax before Dennings got a proper citation from the Emmy awards in Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
4“Big Mouth” (2017-Present)
Creators: Jennifer Flackett, Andrew Goldberg, Nick Kroll
The raunchy Netflix animated series is one of the surprise hits of 2017, and Kat Dennings plays a huge part in it. Playing dual roles: one as Leah Birch, the confident, empowered sister of Nick Kroll’s character, and the other as Lorraine, the Hormone Monstress that garners some of the show’s biggest laughs. Dennings brings the rebellious spirit that we have come to know her for into the role–and the result is genius.
3“The House Bunny” (2008)
dir. Fred Wolf
A staple of the late 2000’s pop culture, and the film that helped launch Academy Award winner Emma Stone’s career, “The House Bunny” is a sorority film with grit and heart. A strange ensemble in which Hugh Hefner plays a role, and even Tyson Ritter of the band “The All-American Rejects” plays a love interest. Dennings brings the lovably edgy Mona to life.
2“Charlie Bartlett” (2007)
dir. Jon Poll
Dennings plays Susan Gardner, the acerbic, cigarette-smoking daughter of the school principal in Jon Poll’s eclectic comedy. She brings wit and brilliant charisma to the role in this teen hit co-starring the late Anton Yelchin. The film is a classic teen comedy, somewhat reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore” and stands tall in Dennings’ filmography.
1“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” (2008)
dir. Peter Sollett
This is not only one of the most underrated rom-coms, but also one of the most underrated films, full stop. Directed by Peter Sollett, and based on the book co-written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, it is a marvel. Dennings plays the titular “Norah” to Michael Cera’s “Nick,” and she adds so much life and humor. Truly, no other actress could have played that part better. And of course, the soundtrack is as spectacular as one would expect from a film about an “infinite playlist.”
What are your favorite Kat Dennings performances? Let us know in the comments below!