NOTE: Comedy is a very broad genre. A lot of films fall under the category. To the layman it may not be obvious but even Birdman (2014) is a comedy film. Moreover, comedy is a genre that can be blended in with various other genres such as romantic comedies, dramedies, etc. The focus of this list is on ‘pure’ for-laughs comedy films which have minimal blending with other genres.
IN THE LOOP (2009)
This film is political satire at its finest. It has a huge amount of laugh-out-loud moments and it also makes strong and amusing statements on the strange world of politics. The story revolves around the potential of a US and UK led war in the Middle East. Amongst this situation, there are a few government officials in both the US and UK camps who make attempts to prevent the war. One of the best things about the film is the outstanding performance of the whole cast. Everyone is at the top of their comedic game. The language throughout the movie is foul which helps make it funnier and there are some absolutely hilarious one-liners as well.
BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHASTAN (2006)
Borat is a no holds barred comedy. It is extremely funny and extremely raunchy. Sacha Baron Cohen stars as the titular character, Borat, a journalist from Kazakhstan, who gets an opportunity to travel to the United States and make a report on the country. Borat is a born and bred Kazakh who has absolutely no idea of the culture and customs of America. This leads to a string of funny encounters with various American people. The film thrives on Borat’s innocence and gullibility. Moreover, this film does not shy away from making jokes that some might consider to be offensive. It really takes Borat’s cultural misunderstandings to the extreme!
21 JUMP STREET (2012)
A reboot of an old television series, many people were skeptical about this film. But they were proven wrong. 21 Jump Street is full of humor, emotion, and high school satire. The plot focuses of two under achieving police officers who get an assignment to stay undercover as students at a high school and bring down a rising drug ring. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have great bromance. The whole setting of the high school and its various students is bound to invoke nostalgia and generate many laughs. Moreover, 21 Jump Street features a great deal of physical comedy as well.
THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (2005)
Steve Carell shines in this role as a geeky and socially awkward 40 year old man who hasn’t ‘done the deed’ yet. Eventually his work mates find out about this and try to help him lose his virginity which involves a series of hilarious attempts and awkward situations. The film has quite a lot of warmth and charm. It also handles its subject matter with a surprising amount of innocence.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
It really is astonishing to see how much comedy, satire, and violence this movie manages to stuff together in a 90 minute running time. Simon Pegg plays the main character, who has troubles in his personal life and is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend. At the same time, he has to deal with the people in his town who have turned into zombies and are eating the living people. The laugh inducing gags, strange situations and violent thrills blend together to form one hell of an entertaining movie!
This British crime comedy is stylistically and thematically similar to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) which was also directed by Guy Ritchie and featured most of the cast members of this film. Snatch consists of intertwined stories of British gangsters, boxing promoters, bookmakers, robbers and jewelers who are in some way or another after a precious stolen diamond. The movie is fact paced and there is a lot happening at each time. The camera movement is sped up in various scenes to give a kinetic feel to the film. How the various storylines intersect each other is very entertaining to watch. Moreover, the ensemble cast is brilliant, especially Brad Pitt whose weird accent is bound to make you laugh a lot.
MEAN GIRLS (2004)
Mean Girls is the ultimate girl comedy and the ultimate teen comedy as well. The story follows a home schooled teenage girl, Cady Heron, who shifts to a real school where she is exposed to a variety of students and cliques. This film is very smartly written. It brilliantly satirizes the feelings and social pressures of teenage girls and the dynamics of their interactions. Cady is an outcast in many ways until she becomes a part of popular girl group called ‘The Plastics’ consisting of girls who are all spoiled in their own funny ways. Being a part of this changes her in many ways and things take a wrong turn when Cady falls for the ex-boyfriend of the leader of ‘The Plastics’. Mean Girls is a movie that has a lot of heart as well.
MEET THE PARENTS (2000)
Meet the Parents is one of those rare comedy films that is very hilarious without trying too hard to be so. The events of the film occur very naturally and are even relatable at times. The story is about a series of unfortunate events that a nice and good-hearted male nurse (played by Ben Stiller) faces while visiting his girlfriends’ parents’ house. He also faces hostility and bitterness from his girlfriend’s father (played by Robert De Niro). Meet the Parents really succeeds in adding humor subtlety. There are many awkward situations that our main character is put in and these scenes contain a fair amount of both physical and emotional comedy. You will genuinely sympathize with him and feel sorry for him.
Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (loosely based on their own experiences), Superbad is super raunchy and super fun. It successfully balances having both vulgarity and heart. It is about two close high school friends who are about to be separated because they have been accepted at different colleges. Another guy comes into the fold and creates an awkward ‘friend triangle’ situation. The film highlights the desperations of the three to be considered ‘cool’ and lose their virginity, typical of many high schoolers. Hence, the three plan to bring alcohol to a party (despite being underage) and find themselves in many hilariously extreme situations in the process. At its core, Superbad is about the intricacies and awkwardness of friendships.
I LOVE YOU, MAN (2009)
The best thing about I Love You, Man is the comedic duo of Jason Segel and Paul Rudd. They have great bromance and chemistry. This sweet and delightful comedy is about a man (played by Paul Rudd) who has many lady friends but hardly any male friends. He therefore finds himself in a tough situation when he has to look for a best man for his upcoming wedding. Hence, he begins the dreaded search for a friend. This movie really makes a point here that a guy without any guy friends is basically a lonely person. He eventually finds a friend (Jason Segel) who is totally different from him but the two really hit it off. However, this friendship affects his relationship with his fiancé. I Love You, Man is a really heartfelt movie. It shows how friendships and relationships are different yet in some ways, similar to each other.
I am a very passionate cinephile. For me, movies are not just a source of leisure and entertainment. They’re a LOT more than that. I am fascinated by the art of cinema and how it can be used to portray the countless dimensions of the human condition.