Brad Pitt was in contention for two performances in 2008 this one, and the greater Oscar success The Curious Case of Benjamin. Both characters could possibly be described as a blank slate. Benjamin Button because Pitt's portrays him so dully that there does not seem to be even a though in his head. Chad well he also does not seem to have too many thoughts in his head either, but that is just find because there undoubtedly is plenty of meat perhaps. Anyway the point is Chad is an idiot quite possibly the dumbest character in the film.
Although one could argue almost everyone in the film is some sort of idiot, but Pitt's performance is the one that most revels in it to the greatest effect. Pitt makes no excuses and never winks in his performance with Chad and goes all the way into portraying Chad just the way he should be. Chad just is not very bright as he does his job as a gym trainer, and only seems qualified to do that. He does not understand much else, certainly not how to try to black mail a former CIA analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) with his worthless memoirs who he and his fellow Hard Bodies employee Linda (Frances McDormand).
All I can say with this performance is that although there is not much depth with this performance, there really should not be, there really is only two points to this performance. One is to be a proper idiot, and the other two be an extremely hilarious idiot. Really being a great idiot is a better art form than one might give credit for. After all one will find that such people as Adam Sandler, or Rob Schneider constantly fail at making an idiot funny. Pitt thought follows everything that one must do to be a hilarious idiot the way one needs to be.
Firstly his idiocy is pure Pitt shows wonderfully well that the only thing Chad knows about is the gym that's it, anything else is quite a jump for him and it requires extra effort. Importantly Pitt puts the fact that Chad although knows about the gym is not exactly smart there even acting still like a big dummy even when commenting about something he knows about.This particularly as when he becomes humorously frustrated when not finding a drink to suit him after having to run so far and can't even fully function until he has proper hydration, or his absolutely hilarious line of laughing proudly but in a still dimwitted when fashion when Malkovich's character thinks his bike is a Schwinn.
Secondly and very necessary is that Pitt makes Chad extremely likable. He has such a charm in the role, and he never feels annoying. This is for two reasons Pitt's makes the stupidity feel entirely natural as he never does stop being stupid, but as well he always makes Chad a doofus with a very good nature. Pitt never shows an malice in Chad's mischief, and there is always sense of great fun in his performance. One scene in particular is just one moment of laughter after another brought on by Pitt which is when he meets Malkovich, Pitt's portrayal of Chad is just brilliant as he so ineptly tries to be cool and mysterious and is anything but in the moment.
It is insanely funny how someone like Pitt who usually is portrayed as the coolest man around in his films, can be so amusingly lame. His faces as he tries to act like a tough blackmailer is just gold, and his hangdog expression after being punched in the face could not be better. Every moment Chad is on screen Pitt is doing something funny with this slow witted fellow. Even the act of watching a house for activity Pitt makes the most out of with his enjoyably simple gestures to his music while noticing something more important to him, but Pitt shows that no matter what Chad will keep listening to his music no matter what.
I would say my only problem with this performance is that it ends. I would say for the film's sake too soon as Pitt is by far the best part of the film, and I really say it is only an okay comedy because as soon as Pitt exits the film loses a lot of its entertainment value. I will say that Pitt could not go out better though in his quick almost blink and you miss it, but absolutely priceless reaction. It pretty much sums up Chad in the final moments of a man who even facing the worst will still stare forward with just a giant smirk on his face. This is a great performance from Pitt, and it could not be a better comedic portrayal of an idiot.