Everyone has bad days once in a while. If you could use a good pick-me-up, why not watch a good comedy? We’ve rounded up all the best comedy movies and a couple of stand up specials that are available on Netflix right now. Admit it: you could use a good laugh.
‘Taladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’ (2006)
Metacritic score: 66
One of Will Ferrell’s best comedy movies, “Taladega Nights” follows Ricky Bobby’s (Ferrell) absurd and hilarious rise to the top of the Nascar standings, bringing Cal Naughton, Jr (John C. Reilly) along for the ride. The biggest challenge comes when formula one champion Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) joins Nascar and starts winning races, forcing Ricky Bobby to turn up the heat. Honestly, there are so many quotable moments, but “If you’re not first, you’re last!” has the one of the best payoffs.
‘Tommy Boy’ (1995)
Metacritic score: 46
Chris Farley’s first starring role in a comedy movie is a classic. He plays Tommy Callahan, who works alongside Richard Hayden (David Spade) to save his family’s auto parts business after his father dies. One of the all-time comedy greats from SNL, Farley was a one-of-a-kind comedy legend, and “Tommy Boy” is a must watch.
‘Young Frankenstein’ (1974)
Metacritic score: 80
If you haven’t seen “Young Frankenstein,” stop reading this and go watch it right now. If you’ve already seen it, go watch it again. This is truly a comedy classic, starring some of the all-time great comedic actors. Gene Wilder is joined by Terry Garr, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Madeline Khan and Gene Hackman. Word of warning: you will be quoting this movie for the rest of your life.
‘Tropic Thunder’ (2008)
Metacritic score: 71
Ben Stiller’s satirical action comedy stars Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. The premise is great: When rookie movie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) can’t get the drama he wants from his prima donna cast, he decides to shoot his Vietnam action movie in the jungle and CGI the effects in later. Robert Downey Jr. as Kirk Lazarus is just one of many hysterical performances in this film, which features a shockingly funny bit role from Tom Cruise.
‘Trading Places’ (1993)
Metacritic score: 69
“Trading Places” is an 80s classic. Stock market exec Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) trades places with panhandler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy). Winthorpe’s bosses bet that Valentine could do Winthorpe’s job, uprooting both men’s lives. Both Murphy and Aykroyd have very funny moments as does Jamie Lee Curtis as Ophelia, Winthorpe’s love interest.
‘Police Academy’ (1984)
Metacritic score: 41
The first of a long line of Police Academy movies, the original involves the town mayor deciding they need to strengthen their police force by accepting all those who are willing — competent or not. A young Steve Guttenberg and a bunch of other now-legendary misfits join up to train to be officers. It’s not the best comedy you’ll ever see by a long shot, but it still has its moments with fun characters that make each scene enjoyable.
‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007)
Metacritic score: 81
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is an overachieving London cop who gets transferred to a small town force mainly because he was making the officers of his former precinct look bad in comparison. He is sent to a small village and teams up with a new partner in Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) and both come to find out something much darker is taking place in the town. Pegg and Frost’s onscreen chemistry is undeniable as Pegg plays the straight man to Frost’s somewhat bumbling small town cop.
‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ (1988)
Metacritic score: 83
In 1988 “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was billed as combined live-action and animation movie, and though it’s pretty dated compared to special effects today, it’s still a lot of fun. It uses a lot of slapstick humor in a world where cartoon characters and people live together, but there are also fantastic performances from Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd alongside terrific voice acting from Charles Fleischer as Roger Rabbit and Kathleen Turner as Jessica. It’s a fun ride from start to finish.
‘Finding Dory’ (2016)
Metacritic score: 77
Family friendly and beautifully animated by Pixar Animation Studios, Finding Dory is a fun 3D computer-animated adventure. With excellent voice-acting performances from Ellen Degeneres as Dory, Albert Brooks as Marlin, and several others, and it’s a hilarious and heart-warming adventure. You kids will love it and probably watch it again and again.
Metacritic score: 73
A darker comedic entry than most in the list for this month, Heathers is an iconic 80s movie that follows a string of murders at a small town high school. The most popular girls in the school are gradually picked off by Veronica (Winona Rider) and a sociopathic J.D. (Christian Slater). Did I mention it was dark? It is. But it’s also filled with funny dialog and a ton of ’80s nostalgia.
‘Best in Show’ (2000)
Metacritic score: 78
“This is Spinal Tap” star Christopher Guest has some funny movies to his credit, but “Best in Show” is definitely one of his greatest. It’s a mock documentary about the lives of five eccentric participants in a prestigious dog show following their journey and what happens once they get there. If you’re looking for something funny and different, “Best in Show” is excellent.
‘Men in Black’ (1997)
Metacritic score: 71
Will Smith got his start in the rap music business, then starred in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” But it wasn’t until the “Men in Black” franchise that he really hit it big. The guy is just plain charismatic. Combine his in-your-face style with the deadpan Tommy Lee Jones, then drop them into a fictitious organization that monitors alien activity on Earth and you have the perfect combo.
‘Chicken Run’ (2000)
Metacritic score: 88
A claymation comedy created by Nick Park (the same person behind “Wallace and Gromit”), “Chicken Run” sees a group of hens hatch a plan to escape the Tweedy family farm before the Tweedys are able to turn it into a chicken pot pie factory. The dialog is funny, but the expert claymation and the expressive faces of the characters are what make this movie great.
‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ (2004)
Metacritic score: 62
Bill Murray plays as Steve Zissou, an eccentric and formerly famous oceanographer who hasn’t made a successful documentary in 9 years. When his chief diver is eaten by what Zissou describes as a Jaguar shark, he comes up with a plan to chase the shark and document its path of destruction. Wes Anderson’s distinct visual and narrative style accompany great performances from Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum and Anjelica Huston as they struggle to revive Zissou’s career.
‘Mean Girls’ (2004)
Metacritic score: 66
Tina Fey’s first full-length feature film stars Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, a high school student who is forced to navigate the cutthroat female social cliques in an Illinois public high school. Tina Fey is Cady’s math teacher and tries to repair the damage when all the girls turn on each other. This one is must watch with too many funny moments and memorable quotes to count.
‘Bad Santa’ (2003)
Metacritic score: 70
This dark comedy stars Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Soke, a professional thief who disguises himself as Santa Claus every year in order to rob shopping malls. He’s also an alcoholic and a sex addict, and when his poor lifestyle choices start to affect his work alongside partner in crime, Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox), things start to go awry. While it probably won’t become a family holiday tradition, it’s a hilarious story with great performances all around.
‘The Overnight’ (2015)
Metacritic score: 65
Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are in Los Angeles for their first time when they meet an eccentric couple who invite them for a playdate with their sons. But when the sons go to sleep, Alex and Emily find out just how strange Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) really are.
‘For a Good Time Call’ (2012)
Metacritic score: 65
Two female roommates start a phone sex business out of their apartment when they need to raise money. I’ll warn you now that this won’t be the best movie you’ll ever see, but I’m told by trusted sources it’s a great movie to watch with your girlfriends.
‘Dave Chappelle: The Age of Spin’ (2017)
Metacritic score: 78
After a long break from standup, Dave Chappelle makes his triumphant return with two new Netflix comedy specials. Even after all this time, he’s still got it.
‘Patton Oswalt: Annihilation’ (2017)
No Metacritic score yet.
This is one of the only comedy shows I’ve ever seen that made me cry. While probably not a great endorsement for a standup special, the reason it is both funny and heartbreaking is because it’s Patton Oswalt’s first time doing standup since the unexpected death of his wife last year. Amazingly, he can still make us laugh while talking about great personal tragedy.
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