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70 Greatest Comedies of the 21st Century

From rom-coms to raunch-coms, ‘Anchorman’ to ‘Girls Trip’ —our updated list of the funniest movies of the millennium so far

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WHAT’S SO FUNNY? ? If you’re talking about screen comedy in the 21st century, the answer is easy: bumbling manchildren, the more boorish and clueless and stuck in their stunted adolescence, the better. Talking foxes, Huey Lewis-loving serial killers, world-saving marionettes, foul-mouthed political fixers and boisterous bridesmaids — all great as well. German father-daughter duos and goofy stoners? Bring ’em on! Headbanging teachers and backstabbing bureaucrats? Yes, we’ll take them too.

Since the turn of the century, we’ve giggled at the poignant and the perverse, rom-coms and raunch-coms, new-and-improved takes on singular comic types and loose, highly improvised ensemble pieces that spread the spotlight around. Some of these movies have been gently witty, while others have displayed all of the subtlety of a dose of Sex Panther cologne. But they’ve all consistently cracked us up, in a two-decade-plus span in which — let’s be honest — we’ve need a laugh or two. Or three. Or a dozen.

After a number of heated arguments and lots of name-calling and the occasional chaotic pie fight, we’ve narrowed down our choices for the greatest comedies of the 21st century. Culling this down was a tough call; humor is a seriously subjective topic, and every one of our 19 writers weighing in had their own idea of what constitutes “hilarious.” But this list represents the best cross-section of screen comedy of our millennium, a collection that runs the gamut from droll to bladder-loosening.

And, since we’d originally published this list in early 2018, we’ve updated it and added 20 new entries — including several first-rate comedies that were regrettably left off the list. (All apologies, Dewey Cox.) Given the high possibility of sidesplitting, you may wanna have a medical professional on hand. And don’t forget to stay classy, San Diego.

From Rolling Stone US


‘American Psycho’

Yes, it looks more like a slasher flick than a yukfest, what with Wall Street yuppie Patrick Bateman heartlessly dismembering his nearest and dearest. But Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel — which, at the core of its ripped-out heart, was and is a satire — is one of the sharpest splat-stick comedies in recent history, mostly because of how over-the-top it is. Christian Bale’s disaffected apex predator grows homicidally envious of his colleagues’ business cards. He offers a thoughtful critique of Huey Lewis’ discography while wilding an axe. Everybody mistakes each other for somebody else. And it offered a better one-liner for going on a killing spree than anything a Batman supervillain could come up with: “I have to return some videotapes.” KG



On paper, the story of two brainy high school BFFs — Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) — who decide to have one crazy blowout night before graduation, didn’t seem all that different from previous horny-adolescent movies. But in the wake of #MeToo, this boisterous crowdpleaser from director Olivia Wilde felt quietly radical: a sunny but sharp portrayal of super-smart, wiseass teenagers who didn’t fit into the restrictive categories that women usually had to settle for in high school comedies. Our heroes may be “nerds” but they’re also cool and hip, their random hookups and late-night freak-outs endemic of a generation who grew up online, accepting that their coming-of-age will be a very public event. Still, as long as you’ve got a friend as great as Molly or Amy, you can get through anything — including bad drug trips where you turn into a Barbie.—T.G.


‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Sure, Taika Waititi’s take on the God of Thunder’s cosmic misadventures — Thor’s abducted by an even-weirder-than-usual-Jeff-Goldblum, fights a gladiator Hulk in space, yadda yadda yadda — remains a high point of the ongoing saga/endless soap opera/global pop obsession that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it’s also a first-rate comedy, and a surprisingly great vehicle for the New Zealand writer-director’s warped, kooky sensibilities. Seriously, the idea of handing the reigns of a marquee-name intellectual property to the gent whose previous movies were a tender coming-of-age dramedy and a mockumentary about immortal, immature vampires seemed like a gamble at the time. It ended up being the perfect choice, of course — his irreverence punctured the high-mindedness of the series and gave Chris Hemsworth the chance to flex a killer dry wit in addition to his biceps. From the moment our superhero interrupts a chatty demon as he awkwardly rotates himself while hanging above hellfire, you immediately got the sense that offbeat humor was somehow always meant to be Thor’s jam. In the end, the true MVP of the MCU may be a sentient pile of rocks named Korg. He does get the best lines.—D.F.


‘The Other Guys’

The last of the great Will Ferrell/Adam McKay collaborations was this pointed takedown of corporations, a predatory banking system, and the One-percent. But that’s not what first comes to mind when you think of this inspired riff on the buddy-cop comedy. Maybe it’s Ferrell’s Allen, a normcore NYPD detective who definitely was a pimp in his former life. (“Gator’s bitches better be using jimmies!”) Perhaps it’s Mark Wahlberg as Terry, the stereotypically badass-cop-with-a-dark-past who simply cannot understand how his nerd partner landed such a beautiful wife (Eva Mendes) — whom Allen is always apologizing for because of how “awful” she looks. Or maybe it’s Michael Keaton’s inexplicably oblivious police captain who swears he’s not quoting TLC lyrics all the time. (“I don’t even understand the reference.”) McKay would soon pivot to serious, Oscar-winning fare, while Ferrell would continue gravitating toward the bizarre, but The Other Guys stands as a lasting testament to the focused weirdness that made them one of this century’s best director/actor comedy tandems. We’ll never forget them — or Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson for delivering the funniest death scene in decades.—T.G.


‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’

So the quintessential Wes Anderson dysfunctional family film is … a stop-motion animation adaptation of a Roald Dahl children’s book?! The filmmaker and his cowriter Noah Baumbach are loose with the details but loyal to the author’s fiendish spirit, plopping the irrepressible dandy thief/eponymous patriarch (George Clooney) in between avenging farmers and a community of furry creatures weary of his exploits. Anderson’s deadpan humor has never been better served than by anthropomorphized animal puppet reaction shots while – typecasting at its best – Willem Dafoe plays a rat and Bill Murray’s a put-upon badger. As for Clooney, he delivers a note-perfect, shockingly ham-free comedic performance. What the cuss? EH


‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle’

A stoner comedy about a couple of twentysomething buddies on a “quick” road trip to feed their munchies has no right to be this eccentric, progressive and consistently hysterical. Kal Penn and John Cho rode a cheetah into movie history (and let us see Doogie Howser in a whole new light) as two potheads in search of the perfect slider. But our generation’s version of Cheech and Chong aren’t just out to satisfy their wake-and-bake fast-food cravings – they learn that being young and dumb enough to devote this much passion to getting exactly what you want when you want it is something that fades if you don’t live for the moment. We should all be more like Harold and Kumar. BT


‘I Heart Huckabees’

Jason Schwartzman is the sensitive, lovesick environmentalist getting his life audited by existential detectives Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman. Mark Wahlberg is a philosophically woke fireman, Jude Law is a sleazy department store executive with an identity crisis, Naomi Watts is his beautiful girlfriend/spokesmodel stuck in a behavioral loop and Isabelle Huppert is … the devil? Nihilism? We’re not sure. What matters is that all of these characters are essentially director David O. Russell himself, in this bizarrely hilarious, symbolic and surreal melodrama of American life that keeps going in circles. Don’t let his post-Fighter respectability fool you – this is the movie that probably most accurately depicts what it’s like to be inside the filmmaker’s head.BE


‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’

Imagine Kanye West and Katy Perry had a baby, and that baby turned out to be Justin Bieber, who was then jointly adopted and raised by Rihanna and Beyoncé — you still wouldn’t come close to the god-tier musical phenomenon that is Conner4Real. This send-up of both contemporary chart-topping pop stars and the hagiographic docs about them is the purest big-screen example of what the Lonely Island trio does best (sorry, Hot Rod). If you’ve ever wanted to see Andy Samberg murder a track about how staggeringly awesome his humility is (“Humble”) with some hot Adam-Levine’s-hologram-on-Adam-Levine’s-hologram action in the background; or consider the perils of DJ-ing while wearing an oversized Deadmau5-style helmet; or watch Seal fight a wolf during a celebrity proposal gone bad; or hear Samberg and co-directors Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer drop some deep philosophy onstage (“What if a butterfly/Was made out of butter?/ These small thoughts/Could destroy Big Brother!”), this is the raunchcom for you. P.S.: We still can’t listen to Macklemore’s “Same Sex” after the genius that Samberg & Co.’s deathblow parody “Equal Rights.”—D.F.


‘Girls Trip’

Four college friends plan a ladies’ weekend away at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans; the trip’s organizer, a successful businesswoman named Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall), is a key speaker at the event and is hoping to use the occasion to finally reunite the legendary “Flossy Posse.” Directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Undercover Brother) and cowritten by Tracy Oliver and Black-ish‘s Kenya Barris, Girls Trip is a movie that has its share of comedy bona fides — but it’s also got a secret weapon in its arsenal, and her name is Tiffany Haddish. No offense to Hall, Queen Latifah or Jada Pinkett-Smith, who all get a chance to crack you up. But from the moment Haddish walks into a doctor’s waiting room, yells “It’s chlamydia, y’all! That shit can be cured!” and starts dancing, you feel like a force of nature has just entered the picture. The closest thing you can compare it to is seeing Eddie Murphy in 48 Hrs, in which someone goes from funny performer to comedic superstar in a little over two hours.—D.F.


‘Legally Blonde’

Having just been dumped by her Harvard-bound boyfriend for being too Marilyn Monroe and not enough Jackie Kennedy, sorority president Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) proceeds to prove she can be both. Suddenly, this supposedly ditzy dame is acing her LSATs and recording a video essay for the Cambridge college’s law school in a sparkly pink bikini. Surprise, it works! Take that, Ivy League stuffed shirts!This is the movie in which Witherspoon bend-and-snapped into our hearts, and in a comedy full of laughs, the lawyer with a heart of gold (and a mane to match) gets the last one, defying teachers and classmates’ expectations to become a courtroom superstar – in the most Elle Woods way possible. KYK


‘The Big Sick’

How’s this for a love story: Boy meets girl, boy breaks up with girl, girl is placed in medically-induced coma, boy awkwardly spends time with girl’s parents? Married couple Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani based their Oscar-nominated screenplay on their own unlikely courtship, squeezing big laughs out of culture clashes, generational conflict and the thrill of realizing you’ve found your soulmate — if only she’d wake up. This delightful romantic comedy was Nanjiani’s breakthrough as a big-screen leading man, well-matched with Zoe Kazan at her most endearing and vulnerable. But the film’s most touching relationship may be the one between Nanjiani’s insecure comic and his new girlfriend’s wary parents, played to grumpy perfection by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. In an era when high-concept comedies tended toward the hip and bro-y, here was a legitimately sweet date-night flick packed with wry one-liners — and more than a little wisdom about the challenges of commitment and reconciliation.—T.G.


‘The World’s End’

The set-up is delightfully promising: A group of once-close friends reunite to finish the epic 12-bar pub crawl they attempted as wild, bright-eyed teens. Needless to say, things don’t quite go as planned, and out comes director Edgar Wright’s fondness for the bluster and buffoonery of a very particular kind of Gen-X male. But then the movie soon becomes something quite different, as our heroes are confronted with a hellishly hilarious, gruesome Body Snatchers-type sci-fi scenario – and unlike so many other wild comedic genre twists, this one simultaneously leans into and explodes the idea of learning that things look different from the perspective of age. The Cornetto Trilogy was always about growing up, but The World’s End shows the awesome destructive power of refusing to do so – in ways both heroic and catastrophic. BE


‘Jackass: The Movie’

Want to see a bottle rocket shoot from someone’s ass? How about a topless man in bike shorts rolling around on hundreds of mouse traps? Or a dude attempt to snort high-grade, hot-as-hell wasabi sauce? Imagine the Marquis de Sade remixed by Bozo the Clown and you’ll see the baroque comic-book masochism of Jackass: The Movie, the first in a trilogy of big-screen releases that started life as MTV’s breakout reality show. Johnny Knoxville and his stunt-drunk band of self-flagellant bros pioneer joyously extreme pre-YouTube gags. (And we mean gags literally: along with the onscreen shit, piss, and blood, there’s just so, so, so much vomit – some of it re-ingested.) It’s both riotously gut-busting, even as you worry that these overgrown skate-punk knuckleheads may need punchcards for their local emergency rooms. SG


‘Kung Fu Hustle’

Stephen Chow understands one thing about martial-arts movies that’s too often forgotten: They should be fun.Kung Fu Hustle works so well because its director/cowriter/star knows – hell, embraces – that his story of a wannabe gangster in 1930s Shanghai is the kind of movie that needs to be constantly topping itself. So he does just that, making each action sequence – a physics-defying fight against dozens of dapper thugs, a stand-off with a warrior named “the Beast,” a man-versus-axes showdown – more pulse-pounding yet hysterically ridiculous than the one before. It’s both a wuxia epic and a parody of one at the same time. If Buster Keaton and Jackie Chan had a baby, that kid would grow up to make this movie. BT


‘Hail, Caesar!’

A madcap comedy that doubles as an oddball morality play, the Coen brothers’hooray-for-Hollywood hootenanny stars Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix, a studio fixer in early Fifties Tinseltown dealing with dim actors (see: George Clooney’s sublimely ridiculous Baird Whitlock), pregnant stars, miscast cowboys, scheming communists and other threats to his studio employers — all while trying to decided whether or not to pack it in. It’s as silly as any film the Coens have made, but it’s also rich in behind-the-scenes detail and surprisingly reflective on its hero’s Catholic faith. Anyone showing up for over-the-top musical numbers won’t be disappointed, either. KP


‘Force Majeure’

How funny is it to watch a grown man cry? If it’s a Swedish man who, in a moment of weakness and terror, abandons his wife and kids to die in an avalanche, the correct answer is: “very funny, very funny indeed.” Filmmaker Ruben Östlund’s alpha-dude-in-crisis moviewas plenty relevant when it came out in 2014; nowadays, it feels almost prophetic, having anticipated the epidemic of masculine selfishness that seems to be running roughshod over the culture. In that sense, it’s as much a horror movie as it is a masterpiece of cringe comedy – and a reminder that those two genres aren’t always that far apart. KL



Alexander Payne’s oenophilic comedy has likely put a dent in merlot sales forever, but it’s aged into a quaffable vintage, courtesy of Paul Giamatti’s performance as a self-loathing wine connoisseur. As he and his soon-to-be-married friend (Thomas Haden Church) venture to California wine country for a bachelor weekend, Sideways develops a sharp buddy-movie dynamic between a pungent misanthrope and a pleasure-seeking horndog. There’s sweetness at the film’s core, drawn out in his boozy courtship of a fellow enthusiast (Virginia Madsen), but Payne gets a buzz off Giamatti’s ornery belligerence, which at one point has him lunging for the wine-tasting spittoon. ST


‘Wet Hot American Summer’

Meet the only film on this (or any other) list in which a deranged Vietnam veteran played by Law & Order: SVU’s Christopher Meloni learns valuable life lessons from a talking can of vegetables that can suck its own dick. (“And I do it a lot.”) With a gaggle of alums from the influential sketch comedy group the State both in front of and behind the camera – and a cast of soon-to-be superstars including Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks and Paul Rudd – this send-up of raunchy Reagan-era teen comedies has an anything-for-a-laugh approach that actually gets laughs every time. This one-time cult curiosity has since spawned two Netflix spinoff series … as well as a legendary DVD audio commentary track that just adds extra fart sounds. STC


‘Knocked Up’

Filmmaker Judd Apatow’s chronicle of a one-night stand gone horribly wrong would have worked perfectly fine as Farrelly Brothers, gross-out comedy. But it’s the writer-director’s attention to detail that made this a classic. In addition to watching Seth Rogen bumble around after getting Katherine Heigl pregnant, Apatow included a horde of its schlubby hero’s screwball friends, i.e. guys who fart on their buddy’s pillows to give each other pinkeye. And for all of the romcom’s relentless gags, it has a heartstring-tugging story arc that keeps you rooting for Rogen’s natural underdog until the last scene. KG


‘High Fidelity’

Stephen Frears’ adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel wryly tackles the culture of record-store gatekeepers, led by a stubbornly romantic John Cusack in the definitive Cusackian performance (all apologies, Lloyd Dobler). Aided by a manic breakout performance by Jack Black, this comedy functionsas a gentle tribute to anal-retentive, list-making music snobs everywhere, even as it skewers the adolescent male dream of waiting for “the perfect girl.” Watch out for a pitch-perfect Springsteen cameo and the ultimate rejoinder to anyone who demands taste supremacy: “How can it be bullshit to state a preference?” VM


‘Bad Santa’

Grinches never had a Christmas movie to call their own. And then Billy Bob Thornton slapped on a gin-soaked beard and a vomit-encrusted Santa suit, and tucked everyone’s stockings with the fattest piece of coal in the mine. What’s remarkable about Bad Santa is how far its director, Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World), goes to avoid any hint of Yuletide sentimentality: Thornton’s thieving Kris Kringle is a degenerate alcoholic who works malls, hates kids and loves anal sex with equal passion. Not to mention that the snot-nosed, Claus-crazy imp who’s supposed to redeem him, the unfortunately named Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), is the rare outcast that’s genuinely disturbing. We are all John Ritter reaction shots. ST



An “adaptation” of New Yorker writer Susan Orlean’s book about a true life Floridian flower thief, one starring Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Nicolas Cage, doesn’t naturally suggest comedy … except for the fact that it was written by the era’s great meta-fictional gag man, Charlie Kaufman. The neurotic genius turned an ill-fitting gig into a hilariously self-incriminating vivisection of the movie business, with Cage playing both Charlie and his less scrupulous brother (fictional but credited as a co-writer, because of course), absolutely straight – and still getting laughs through fidelity to Kaufman’s rapid-fire self-owning. It proved that an aggressively smart, formally disorienting movie could still let everyone in on the joke. EH


‘Game Night’

We always hear that they just don’t make star-heavy, studio-sanctioned ensemble comedies anymore — but occasionally they still do, and the results are glorious. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams lead a first-rate cast as a longtime married couple whose regular, hyper-competitive game night becomes an unexpectedly high-stakes affair, thanks to the participation of his shady brother (Kyle Chandler, beautifully subverting his nice-guy image). Bateman’s intelligence and slow-burn impatience has rarely been put to better use, Jesse Plemons steals scene after scene as a socially inept neighbor, and Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Kyle Bunbury and New Girl‘s Lamorne Morrison all do bang-up work. But the MVP here is McAdams, a heretofore unacknowledged screwball comedy heroine of the Myna Loy school; her reading of the line “Oh no, he died!” will make you despair she spent so many years making wispy time-travel romances instead of broad comedies.—J.B.


‘Palm Springs’

There’s a bit of a twist to this romantic comedy from director Max Barbakow about a bridesmaid (Cristin Milioti), a wedding guest (Andy Samberg) and a never-ending ceremony that you may have heard about; we’re not keen on spoiling anything for those who haven’t seen it yet. Let’s just say this: It’s produced by the Lonely Island gents, so expect that level of lunacy. Fans of certain early 1990s comedies — one in particular — will get a kick out of the conceit. It’s a movie with some substantial concepts on its mind, yet is so easy going down that its more cerebral, existential elements are balanced out by its go-for-broke absurdity. There’s a reason it’s on our list, i.e. it’s hilarious. And we’d be perfectly happy if Milioti and Samberg, who have insane screen chemistry, were cast in a series of movies together and become the foul-mouthed Doris Day and Rock Hudson of the 2020’s.—D.F.


‘Ghost World’

This just in: Precocious teens can be real assholes. Directed by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb), the film adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ comic cast Thora Birch in the career-defining role of smart, cruel young woman named Enid, who distracts herself with obscure music, afternoons at the diner and a flair for talking trash about hometown dorks with her best friend, Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson). It takes a middle-aged record geek (Steve Buscemi, going full-on Steve Buscemi) to crack Enid’s derisive shell – at which point this bittersweet comedy catalyzes her timeless realization that it’s easier to mock other people’s lives than to make one of your own. JBe


‘The Lobster’

Welcome to the darkest of dark comedies – a satire of romance in which the laughs all have serrated edges. Director Yorgos Lanthimos, who previously crafted the bleakly hilarious family drama Dogtooth, introduces us to a future society in which everyone must find a mate or be turned into an animal. Colin Farrell is magnificently deadpan as the newly dumped David who goes looking for love in all the wrong places. With The Lobster, Lanthimos doesn’t just poke fun at the grimness of dystopian dramas: He’s gleefully ridiculing a culture in which marriage is a convenient distraction from loneliness and true love is a lie you tell to trick someone into settling down. And it’s got the best EDM joke ever. TG


‘The Royal Tenenbaums’

Set in a storybook vision of New York drawn in equal parts from old New Yorker cartoons and Salinger’s Glass family stories, Wes Anderson’s sprawling third feature mines laughs and pathos from one family’s decades of pent-up resentment, disappointment and unexpressed desires. Gene Hackman plays the neglectful patriarch of a family that includes a resentful ex-wife (Anjelica Huston) and three children who never lived up to their early potential: a burnt-out athlete (Luke Wilson), a failed playwright (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a paranoid stockbroker (Ben Stiller). The director’s signature precise-to-precious filmmaking, clever dialogue and painstakingly designed world of board game closets, tracksuit-clad kids and wannabe cowboy authors keep it funny. The emotions roiling beneath its colorful surface keep it real. KP


‘Love & Friendship’

In his Nineties indie classics Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco, Whit Stillman told witty tales of cultured New Yorkers, obsessed with social codes adopted from Jane Austen novels. Given the chance to adapt Austen’s actual work, the writer-director unexpectedly embraced one of author’s most unapologetically amoral characters: the social-climbing widow Lady Susan, from the novella of the same name. Kate Beckinsale is an absolute delight as the anti-heroine, who conspires with her equally shameless American pal (Chloë Sevigny) to manipulate the super-rich, including a moneyed doofus well-played by Tom Bennett. Throughout Love & Friendship, Susan amusingly weaponizes upper-class politeness, exploiting her hosts’ fear of rudeness to milk them for all they’ve got. NM


‘Eighth Grade’

Stand-up comic Bo Burnham’s directorial debut is so attuned to the life of its 13-year-old heroine Kayla (Elsie Fisher) and her social-mediafied, status-obsessed middle school world that it feels like a documentary at moments; you don’t have to be a preteen or the parent of one to recognize the misfit anxiety, the giddiness behind a mall hangout, the need to connect and the sense of being stuck in the middle of purgatory (or worse, puberty). It’s a Tales of an Eighth-Grade Nothing that will crack you up one second and make you tear up the next. And to quote Kayla, it’s 100-percent “Gucci!”—D.F.


‘Hot Fuzz’

Mel Brooks once noted that parody plays best when it looks like the real thing – a lesson that director Edgar Wright has definitely taken to heart. Reteaming with frequent co-writer/star Simon Pegg and their partner-in-crime Nick Frost, the filmmaker and friends send up the conventions of the contemporary, “Bayhem”-infused cop action flick in this story of a maverick London detective reassigned to a provincial police force. There’s only the tiniest degree of separation – and silliness – between Hot Fuzz‘s big set pieces and those of Bad Boys 2 or Point Break (both of which are explicitly referenced). But in that sliver, the movie finds huge laughs and a delightful sense of small-town anarchy in the U.K. JBa


‘Team America: World Police’

Remember the halcyon days of 2004 when the United States didn’t yet realize 9/11 and our invasion of Iraq would trigger decade(s)-plus of escalating chaos? South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone turn a goof on an old, semi-obscure Sixties kids’ show (Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds) into a take-no-prisoners puppet-apalooza, ripping into gung-ho military jingoists, foreign-policy hawks, limousine-liberal movie stars, broadway musicals and every single movie montage set to a patriotic country song. The fact that it has not dated at all but seems more timely than ever is, frankly, depressing and sad. But then you remember that it features puppets having the most pornographic sex imaginable.Amer-i-ca! Fuck yeah!AN



Taking a page out of their mentor Judd Apatow’s book, cowriters/BFFs Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg went back to their youth and crafted a teen comedy with dick drawings (dozens of ’em), dirty jokes … and a heart and soul. Yes, it’s about two high-school dudes (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) trying to get laid, and the antics involving a party gone out of bounds, period blood, a character named “McLovin’,” kooky cops and copious alcohol consumption that ensue – so far, so grossout. But underneath all the teen-boys-are-genuinely-disgusting humor and Porkys-style shenanigans is a thread of deep-seated insecurity, stemming from the fact that adulthood is fast approaching and soon these close friends will be heading off to different colleges. By that time that talking about “p in vagee” gives way to an affectionate “boop” at the end, you’re smitten. All this, plus a near-perfect turn from Emma Stone. Super, indeed. EZ


’24 Hour Party People’

Thanks to his signature character Alan Partridge, comedian Steve Coogan is an expert at playing a legend in his own mind. But what if the legend lived up to the hype? That’s the wild sex-drugs-and-rock & roll thrill behind thisstranger-than-fiction true(ish) story of influential music-biz pioneer Tony Wilson – a blowhard TV-news cornball turned record-label founder and nightclub impresario who brought Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays to the world before going broke. Coogan and his frequent collaborator, director Michael Winterbottom, chronicle Wilson’s rise and fall with fourth-wall-breaking bravura and good-natured glee. STC


‘Frances Ha’

Who likes understated, black-and-white slice-of-life dramedies that pop with colorful humor and awkward comments? Twentysomething angst doesn’t get any better or more comically bittersweet than this cracked character study from director Noah Baumbach and cowriter/star Great Gerwig, in which the eponymous heroine aimlessly pings from downtown Manhattan to Northern California, Paris to Vassar – yet really just ends up going endlessly in circles. There are plenty of slapstick comedy moments as Gerwig’s lost soul busts up old friendships and burn bridges, but this minor gemthrives on the laughter bred from cringe-worthy moments. “I’m embarrassed. I’m not a real person yet.” Neither are we, Frances. Neither are we.KYK



Meet Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst who must reluctantly step away from her longtime desk post and fill in as a emergency-replacement field agent in order to track down an arms dealer’s daughter. Spoiler: It initially does not go well. Bridesmaids director Paul Feig and star Melissa McCarthy reunited for this uproariously funny send-up of Bond, Bourne, and their lesser espionage brethren. The notion of McCarthy as would-be super-spy is a grand slam to begin with, but the movie never goes for the easy gag. The laughs come from the sheer force of McCarthy’s personality, and her performance recalls the quick-thinking, fast-talking, foul-mouthed genius of Eddie Murphy’s early work; she’s perpetually underestimated but always the smartest person in the room, and the film’s witty screenplay serves as a wry, sly commentary on gender roles and workplace discrimination without ever stopping to obvious messaging.—J.B.


‘School of Rock’

There were always hints of Jack Black’s potential greatness in the acoustic-metal grandiosity of Tenacious D and the record-clerk pomposity of High Fidelity – but it took Richard Linklater to get a full-service performance out of him. The comedian’s passion for the guitar gods of yesteryear made him the only choice to play a would-be rocker who fakes his way into a fifth-grade substitute teaching gig and turns his musically gifted students into his backing band. The jam sessions and “rock appreciation and theory” classes find Black perfectly in his element, but little touches make the difference, too: His poor, rumpled approximation of what a teacher is supposed to sound like; his little shimmy toward Joan Cusack to Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen”: and his tender treatment of a young singer with stage fright. Play this comedy loud. ST


‘Burn After Reading’

It truly says something about the genius and prescience of the Coen brothers that they made the most pointed, insightful comedy about the Trump era…back in 2008. Assembling a cast of both repertory-company regulars (Frances McDormand, George Clooney, Richard Jenkins) and delightful one-and-doners (Brad Pitt, John Malkovich), Burn nails the deliciously dark and emotionally merciless vibe the filmmakers were clearly aiming for with near-misses like The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty, weaving a tale of deception, blackmail and murder on the fringes of the D.C. intelligence community. Pitt crafts one of the great dumb-guy supporting turns (topping even his own previous career best, True Romance) and Malkovich is at his Malkovich-iest, while the carefully crafted set-up and punch line to the mysterious goings-on in Clooney’s basement remains one of the single biggest laughs in the Coen canon.—J.B.


‘The Trip’

In which British comedians and longtime buds/collaborators Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon drive through the English countryside, sampling food and wine that costs more than your monthly rent and turning dueling Michael Caine impersonations into a game of showbiz oneupmanship. The first in a series of comic travelogues that the duo did for the BBC and turned into feature-length free-for-all goofs, it’s a road movie that enjoys taking the piss out of male insecurities and showbiz narcissism almost as much as providing a showcase for its stars’ particular gifts. It’s the comedic My Dinner With Andre that you never knew you were waiting for. KL


‘Sorry to Bother You’

For years, Boots Riley blew minds as the leader of the political rap-funk group the Coup, dropping tracke wherein he decried racism, spat in the face of capitalism, and had some dark laughs about how fucked-up life can be. No surprise, then, that his feature debut as writer-director would be similarly brazen and hilarious, with LaKeith Stanfield playing a going-nowhere Bay Area dude who takes a job as a telemarketer. He then discovers that he can be a superstar salesman by affecting a dopey white-guy voice on his calls. Part enraged commentary about racial inequality, part Charlie Kaufman-y trip into the surreal, this freewheeling satire gathers a brilliant ensemble — including Tessa Thompson, Danny Glover and Steven Yeun — who are all on Riley’s warped wavelength. But don’t let the title fool you: Riley and his coconspirators very much want to bother you, provocatively challenging our allegiance to corporations and the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Few films in recent years possess the chaotic energy and righteous anger of a street protest, but it’s also WTF hysterical: It says something about this shocking comedy that now-disgraced star Armie Hammer’s cameo as a whacked-out CEO is far from the movie’s strangest sight.—T.G.


‘The LEGO Movie’

Forget theSolo debacle: No two filmmakers are better at skewering the whiz-bang sugar rush of blockbuster cinema than Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The geniuses behind the Jump Street films transformed what could have been a toy ad into a subversive, thrilling action-comedy that celebrated the power of make-believe while mocking the conformity of corporate culture. Chris Pratt voiced the sweet, enthusiastic Emmet, who learns that he’s “the one” who alone can save the universe – a clichéd movie trope that, like many other tentpole tenets, Lord and Miller have a ball spoofing. Equally hilarious and heartfelt, The Lego Movie is a tsunami of sight gags, pop-culture ribbing and killer zingers. It imagines a universe where Superman desperately wants to get away from the super-needy Green Lantern; where the love interest goes by Wyldstyle but really doesn’t want you thinking she’s a DJ; and where Batman is the biggest douche on the block. Everything is awesome!TG


‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’

Was Sacha Baron Cohen exploiting his unsuspecting marks – be they big city feminists, bigoted rodeo audiences, psycho gun merchants, unsuspecting news anchors or craven politicians – by pretending to be a dimwitted, bigoted Kazakh journalist on a journey through America? Was he being unfair to the people of Kazakhstan? Is it against the law to take a dump in front of Trump Tower? Should people refrain from ever saying “my wife” in that accent? All of these things may be true, and yet Borat has lost none of its punch as a laugh machine, in part because the humor often come from deeply uncomfortable places. Indeed, it sometimes feels like the film both captured and embodied something rotten in the American soul at a critical point. Yes, this movie becomes harder to watch as the years pass by. And yet, somehow, it also becomes funnier. BE


‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Wes Anderson drops his patented doll-house stylistics and deep-cut quirk into Mitteleuropa on the eve of World War II, as various folks pass through a lavish luxury hotel run by one Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) – a buffoonish dandy, “ruthless adventurer and a con artist, who prays on feeble-minded, sick old ladies” and realizes, too late, that his worldview is on a collision course with history. There’s the usual stable of Anderson rep company players (Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton), a mentor/student relationship involving a bellboy named Moustafa (Tony Revolori) and absurd side plots involving invaluable paintings and prison breaks. But what really makes this comedy work is the Fiennes madness at its center; done in between Voldemort duties and other villainous roles, his living relic of a bygone age is one of the greatest comic creations of recent years, elevating themovie beyond the meticulous charm the filmmaker naturally delivers. “I go to bed with all of my friends.” EZ