Funny Movies

Laughing at a movie

Funny movies can be silly, absurd, satirical, or even romantic in nature, but the one thing they all have in common is that they make viewers laugh. Laughing is as natural to being human as any other daily emotion, which explains why comedy is the most popular and welcoming genre of all movie-loving nations around the world.

Different Comedic Strokes For Different Folks

The art of comedy has certainly evolved since the moment of the world's first joke (which was probably caveman slapstick). Especially with the genre-bending art form of film, comedy has grown to respect all senses of humor. From physical comedy and slapstick to the more subtle nuances of intellectual comedy, the genre truly offers something for everyone.

Slapstick

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Slapstick comedy has been one of the genre's most consistent forms of making people laugh. Since the beginning of film with Buster Keaton to the recent days of funny men like Kevin James, slapstick comedy has given audiences a harmless and hilarious way to enjoy the cartoonish physical pratfalls performed by others. Here are some examples of hilarious slapstick films:

  • Duck Soup, a wild story about the fictional country Freedonia (led by Groucho Marx) and the events that ultimately lead the land to war
  • The General, a black and white silent film about a Civil War soldier trying to win a girl and also control a giant locomotive, starring slapstick legend Buster Keaton
  • Dumb and Dumber, a story about two very stupid friends (played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels) who try to return a lost suitcase to its rightful owner
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a story that parodies one king's quest to discover the Holy Grail, featuring the entire Monty Python ensemble
  • Blazing Saddles, a spoof of western movies directed by and starring slapstick royalty Mel Brooks
  • Tommy Boy, a story about a young man's (Chris Farley) determination to save his father's auto parts factory, with the help of a snobby assistant (David Spade)
  • The Waterboy, a sports comedy about a football team's water boy (Adam Sandler) who turns out to be a knockout defensive back
  • Zookeeper, a family-friendly comedy about a zookeeper (Kevin James) who can hear the animals talk when they try to give him good dating advice

Dark Comedy

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Dark comedy presents the grave moments of life in a manner that can defined as delightfully inappropriate. Topics like death, depression, suicide and even nuclear war are used as punch lines in these cynical yet funny films. Often the unusual main characters are flawed, and experience dramatic emotions and situations that any other movie would handle seriously. Popular dark comedies include:

  • Harold and Maude, a story of a young man (Bud Cort) who is obsessed with death until he falls in love with a woman (Ruth Gordon) who is some fifty years older than he is
  • Heathers, a story about two teens (Christian Slater and Winona Ryder) who murder a number of the popular kids in their high school and make the deaths look like suicides
  • Death at a Funeral (2010), a remake of a 2007 British film with the same title. Starring Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence, the story focuses on a series of hilariously unfortunate events that always happen at the wrong time, and in the wrong place.
  • Burn After Reading, a smart movie about regular people caught in the middle of a secret government procedure, featuring silly performances from George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and Richard Jenkins
  • World's Greatest Dad, a pitch-black comedy about a father (played by Robin Williams) who seeks attention from his community after his son accidentally commits suicide
  • Observe and Report, a twisted plot about a disturbed mall cop (played by Seth Rogen) and his failure to create meaningful relationships with those around him, especially a fellow mall employee played by Anna Faris
  • Jennifer's Body, a horror comedy inspired by Heathers about two high school friends (Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox) whose status as BFFs is put into turmoil when one of them is turned into a bloodthirsty demon

Intellectual Comedy

Midnight in Paris movie poster

This is a form of comedy that requires outside knowledge of specific areas of art in culture to fully appreciate the humor. Often these films discuss bigger ideas than regular comedies, such as political institutions or art, while presenting them in the same comedic way that could make any movie funny. If you're in the mood for a different kind of comedy, try one of these titles:

  • In the Loop, a ferociously funny dialogue-driven British satire about Anglo-American relations in our current political climate
  • Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a satire about the rising fear of nuclear weapons that features three different performances from Peter Sellers, along with appearances by George C. Scott and Slim Pickens
  • Midnight in Paris, a film about a man (played by Owen Wilson) who visits Paris and finds a way to be transported to the times of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, Zelda Fitzgerald, and more
  • Love and Death, a lowbrow parody on European art, mixing references to Dostoyevsky and Ingmar Bergman with slapstick and cartoonish style
  • Thank You for Smoking, a comedic take on the tobacco business, starring Aaron Eckhart and J.K Simmons
  • The Invention of Lying, a story about a man (Ricky Gervais) who tells the first lie in a world solely based on people telling the truth

Romantic Comedy

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From the shorts of Charlie Chaplin to the films of Katherine Heigl, film has always been interested the concept of "boy meets girl." The romantic comedy is a subgenre that focuses specifically on the relationships between men and women, and explores the comedic aspects of finding and keeping love. Here are some popular romantic comedies, both old and new:

  • Annie Hall, the Oscar-winning classic by Woody Allen about a writer's life-changing relationship with an unforgettable woman (played by Diane Keaton)
  • When Harry Met Sally, the story of two friends (Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan) whose relationship becomes much more serious than they could have predicted
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a comedy about a woman (Nia Vardalos) from a traditional Greek family who falls for a non-Greek man (John Corbett) to the comedic dismay of her family members
  • It Happened One Night, a 1934 comedy about a pampered socialite (Claudette Colbert) who falls for a sly reporter (Clark Gable)
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love, a story about a group of people with intersecting relationships who learn first-hand about the unpredictability of life and love. This 2011 hit stars Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Emma Stone, and Julianne Moore
  • He's Just Not That Into You, an ensemble comedy about nine people in Baltimore trying to make love work. This movie features appearances from Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long
  • The Proposal, a story about a bossy executive (Sandra Bullock) who fakes a romance with her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) so that she can stay in America despite her Canadian citizenship
  • Sabrina, a charming story about two men (Humphrey Bogart and William Holden) who vie for the heart of their chauffeur's ugly duckling daughter (Audrey Hepburn)

Satire

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Satire is comedy that is devoted to making fun of a particular concept, or a group of people. Often these films tackle political subjects, but no group is safe from the concept of the satire. A popular form for this type of movie is the "mockumentary," which is the fake documentary style made famous by TV shows like The Office. Satirical movies, also called spoofs, include films such as:

  • The Player, a story about a studio executive who is blackmailed by a screenwriter he rejected, starring Tim Robbins, Peter Gallagher, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bruce Willis
  • This Is Spinal Tap, a mockumentary about fake rock group Spinal Tap and their hilarious descent from being musical royalty, starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Rob Reiner
  • Best in Show, a mockumentary about the lives of people who are obsessed with competing in dog shows, starring Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, and Fred Willard
  • Airplane!, a spoof of the Airport films, that shows one fateful night for one flight's cast and crew, starring Leslie Nielsen, Robert Hays, and Julie Hagerty
  • Scary Movie, a gross-out spoof on popular horror films, starring Anna Faris, Marlon Wayans, and Carmen Electra
  • Bob Roberts, a mockumentary about a fake politician (played by Tim Robbins) who tries to win over a country with his ability to sing and play guitar
  • Being There, a subtle comedy about a man (Peter Sellers) who only watches television for a living, but is hailed by everyone else in the world as a prophet
  • Tropic Thunder, a comedy about a group of actors (Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black) who try to make a Vietnam war movie, only to find themselves in the middle of very real violence

Laughs For All Tastes

What's funny to one person may not garner laughs from another, but with so many options for funny movies, it's easy to find lots of titles that will tickle your funny bone. Even if your tastes tend toward a specific genre, try some of the others to see what's out there. You may discover that you actually enjoy other varieties as well. There's plenty of film comedy to choose for your taste buds, but remember - they always go best with popcorn.

Funny Movies