The Best Comedies of the 21st Century So Far

Making a good comedy film is hard. You not only have to make them laugh, you have to make them care enough about the characters they’re watching to stick with it for 90-120 minutes. Veer too far into the jokes and you’re left with paper-thin characters. Forget the jokes, and you’ve got yourself a melodrama. But comedy is always evolving, and throughout the 21st century thus far we’ve seen numerous different phases for the genre. No doubt Judd Apatow had a tremendous impact on not only what kinds of comedies audiences respond to, but how comedy films are made—allowing lots of improvisation led to a looseness in a lot of feature films that, frankly, wasn’t there that much before.

But we’ve also seen plenty of other comedic voices arise or return, offering refreshing, unique stories that elevate what could simply be an enjoyable-enough joke-fest to a genuinely great cinematic experience. Folks like Edgar Wright, Shane Black, Phil Lord & Chris Miller, and plenty others carved out very specific voices that spoke to vast audiences, proving you don’t always have to play to the lowest common denominator.

As a result, the past 18 years have been a gold mine for terrific, lasting, and yes hilarious comedy feature films. So we here at Collider wanted to look back and single out the best of the best. Below, our list of the best comedies of the 21st century. So far…

Best in Show (2000)

Image via Warner Bros.

This was a tough one because A Mighty Wind is also pretty great, but in terms of which is funnier, the award goes to Best in Show. It has the excellent cast of characters with every single actor knocking it out of the park combined with the high-stakes/low-stakes platform of a dog show where the stars may be the pets, but it’s the owners who are the colorful misfits. It’s a movie that’s endearing, heartwarming, biting when need be (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchock are wonderfully loathsome as a bickering couple), and the joke with the “two left feet” is an all-timer. – Matt Goldberg

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

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Wet Hot American Summer is an insane movie. Absurdist comedy is certainly not for everyone, and the film was a box office bomb upon release, but those that were able to find Wet Hot and get on its level discovered a treasure trove of comedy gold. The brainchild of The State alums David Wain and Michael Showalter, the film takes place over a single day at a summer camp in the 1980s, chronicling relatable issues like long-held crushes, pranks, and the impending crash of a massive space satellite that could end life on Earth as we know it. The whole thing is ridiculous, and yet thanks to brilliant casting and a deft approach to navigating the tone, Wet Hot American Summer stands as one of the funniest films ever made. – Adam Chitwood

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

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Don Coscarelli’s movies always have some offbeat humor packed in, but Bubba Ho-Tep is without a doubt his most outright hilarious movie yet. Based on a short story from prolific genre author Joe Lansdale, Bubba Ho-Tep stars Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis as two men trapped in a retirement home with a soul-sucking mummy walking the halls and stealing the last days from the elderly. The twist? These old fellas believe they are Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy, respectively, which gives their undignified battle against the ravishes of old age an absurdist slant — not to mention their fantastical fight against an undead assailant. Bubba Ho-Tep is fearlessly ridiculous, silly, and sometimes breathlessly funny, but it’s also a damn fine horror adventure that’s got heart and guts where it counts. — Haleigh Foutch

School of Rock (2003)

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Jack Black had been making his way as a solid comic relief character actor to this point, but Richard Linklater’s script for School of Rock really gave Black a chance to make full use of all of his talents, weaving together his schlubby underdog with his inherently lovable demeanor. And yet it’s Black’s musical ability that’s the film’s ace in the hole since we always buy his character’s musical knowledge and passion. Other films have tried to recapture the special alchemy of Black’s performance to various degrees of success, but he’s at the top of his game in this funny, heartwarming movie. – Matt Goldberg

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

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There may not be a more quotable comedy so far this century. I still can’t look at milk without thinking, “Milk was a bad choice.” Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is delightfully madcap, and yet it still holds together, which is remarkable when you consider that they basically reshot the entire thing and gave it a different plot (the original story, which you can see on the DVD, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy!, involved a group of bank robbers). Will Ferrell has done his fair share of great characters, but the arrogant, stupid, misogynistic, yet oddly lovable Ron Burgundy will probably be remembered as his best. It’s a film packed with so many great jokes and it only gets better on repeat viewings. – Matt Goldberg

Mean Girls (2004)

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Plenty of Saturday Night Live alums try their hands at the feature film world, but successfully navigating that crossover is oftentimes hard. Tina Fey, however, had no problems whatsoever when she decided to write Mean Girls, based on the self-help book Queen Bees & Wannabes. Fey approaches the material with tact, humor, and insight, crafting a now-classic comedy about what it’s like to navigate the social hellscape known as high school. It’s wildly memorable and hilarious, but also surprising. The film doesn’t take a traditional narrative track, offering twists and turns that put a fresh spin on well-worn territory. Nabbing Freaky Friday filmmaker Mark Waters to direct was a stroke of genius, as the material is treated seriously but not too seriously, and Fey’s dialogue cracks with wit to spare as the talented ensemble fills their roles perfectly. While details may have evolved in the near-decade-and-a-half since the movie was released (!), its truths still sting—and leave you in stiches. – Adam Chitwood

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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While funny is funny, there’s a pretty diverse set of subgeneres within comedy. Edgar Wright’s breakout film Shaun of the Dead, however, is in a class of its own. The “zomromcom” combines elements of horror, comedy, romance, and bromance to result in a perfect cocktail of a movie. I wouldn’t even necessary classify it in one genre—it’s just a great film, full-stop. But it is incredibly funny thanks to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s brilliant performances, an airtight script by Pegg and Wright, and last but definitely not least, Wright’s cinematic style. While a lot of comedy filmmakers simply point the camera at funny people and let them do the work, Wright takes advantage of finding a joke anywhere he can, be it in a transition, a hard cut, or the way in which a scene is framed. It elevates the material to a true piece of classic cinema, and if you take the same script and cast but remove Wright as the filmmaker, you lose a tremendous amount of what makes Shaun of the Dead so special in the first place. – Adam Chitwood

Team America: World Police (2004)

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Writers/directors Trey Parker and Matt Stone say they instantly regretted their decision to make Team America: World Police once they saw the puppets in motion, but thank God they finished it out. While the South Park creators haven’t dabbled too much in things outside the realm of their Comedy Central series, when they do they tend to strike gold. Team America hilariously skewers post-9/11 panic and The Bush Doctrine, as well as liberal response to the George W. Bush presidency. It does all of this without coming off as (too) preachy, and first and foremost, is downright hilarious. The deadly serious tone of the action heroes makes their buffoonery that much funnier, and the decision to model the film’s structure off Michael Bay action movies was ::chef’s kiss::. – Adam Chitwood

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

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It’s almost like someone said, “You can’t have comedy in a noir,” and Shane Black said, “Challenge accepted.” The plot of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang has all the trappings of a hard-boiled noir, but Black imbues everything with razor-sharp comedy expertly delivered by Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer giving a couple of the best performances of their careers. It’s the kind of film that could be only be made by someone who knows the rules of screenwriting so well that he perfectly knows how to break them. The narration and structure are playful, knowing, but never self-satisfied or smug. Black wasn’t a newcomer to Hollywood when he made this film, but it’s still a shockingly self-assured directorial debut that feels like it only could have come from his mind. – Matt Goldberg

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

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Judd Apatow single-handedly changed the face of comedy for a few years there in the mid-2000s. In the place of high-concept gags or romcoms, The 40-Year-Old Virgin brought a looseness to the genre thanks to Apatow’s willingness to let his cast improvise, but he also aimed to thread James L. Brooks-esque drama into his films. The 40-Year-Old Virgin kicked off this whole trend (which, it should be noted, was also very male-heavy) and it still stands today as an incredibly funny story of a, well, 40-year-old virgin. The casting of Catherine Keener as the love interest was a stroke of genius, and the film also did a great job of reminding the world that Paul Rudd is a hilarious delight. While Apatow’s subsequent features would be commercially successful if a bit of a mixed bag quality-wise, the legacy and impact of The 40-Year-Old Virgin looms large. – Adam Chitwood

Borat (2006)

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The “Borat” voice and Sacha Baron Cohen’s shtick have become so familiar at this point that it’s hard to remember that this film hit like a bolt from the blue when it was released. Some people were familiar with the Borat character from The Ali G Show, but no one saw Borat coming and how far Cohen was willing to go for a joke. It’s a movie that’s truly getting away with something in just about every scene, and it’s a comedic marvel not just for the set-ups of the scenes, but also for how Cohen is able to think on his feet without ever breaking character. While we may all have a Borat impression in our back pocket, this film has never been truly replicated, even by Cohen himself. – Matt Goldberg

Idiocracy (2006)

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Filmmaker Mike Judge’s Idiocracy was intended to be a satire, crafted in the midst of the Bush Administration as a hilarious, far-fetched sci-fi tale about where humanity could be going. As it turns out, Judge was depressingly way too on the mark. Watching Idiocracy now is like going through the looking glass, peering into an all-too-familiar future that seems far closer than it’s supposed to be. From President Camacho to the public’s eagerness to be as dumb as possible, Idiocracy is a biting satire about the American citizenry at its worst, and, possibly, at its most candid. It’s still funny, but hoo-boy this is a tough one to watch these days. – Adam Chitwood

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

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Walk Hard is an all-time great spoof that savages the music biopic genre so badly that it basically killed anyone trying to play by those rules in the future. While its clear inspirations are contemporaries Walk the Line and Ray, Walk Hard goes beyond by expanding its parody to a history of American music in general. John C. Reilly is amazing (as always) and the songs are as catchy as they are witty parodies of various artists. It’s a film that pokes fun at music and biopics in equal measure and succeeds wildly at both. – Matt Goldberg

Superbad (2007)

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Superbad was a stone-cold classic from the first time it hit theaters. Immediately, the film had a timeless quality that was reminiscent of coming-of-age comedies like Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, and a large part of that is due to the care and personal nature of the screenplay by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Inspired by their own experiences, Superbad is essentially the story of two high school best friends coming to terms with the fact that once they go to college, they may not be best friends anymore. It’s a realization that many face, but in Superbad it’s captured with heart, humor, and lots of dick jokes. Superbad is basically a love story between Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, and that heart that permeates all Judd Apatow productions elevates the material to something truly special. Not to mention the fact that Superbad first introduced audiences to the incomparable Emma Stone. – Adam Chitwood

Hot Fuzz (2007)

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While there certainly could have been the temptation to do “Shaun of the Dead with cops” for Hot Fuzz, the trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost reunited for something completely different but equally ambitious. The film doesn’t rely on the same tricks that made Shaun of the Dead so great in the first place, and instead allows Wright to show off different skills as a filmmaker as he crafts a bona fide action movie about British cops in a sleepy countryside town. Like Shaun it’s still hilarious, and Wright continues to mine jokes out of cinematic techniques, but the story’s twist adds yet another layer of humor and intrigue, culminating in an action finale the likes of which you’ve never really seen before. – Adam Chitwood

Step Brothers (2008)

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Step Brothers is Adam McKay’s masterpiece. While films like Anchorman and Talladega Nights are great, Step Brothers on a whole other level—and I’ll be honest it took a couple viewings for me to come around to this. The commitment to the gag—that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play adult men who literally behave like children when their parents get married—is intense, and while there was no doubt plenty of improvisation in the filming of Step Brothers, the final product runs like a swiss watch. The cast is tremendous, the story takes delightfully wild turns, and yet somehow the film is able to hone in on some really relatable aspects of family despite also having a sequence in which Reilly dresses up as a Klansman and Ferrell dresses up as a Nazi in order to deter new home buyers. – Adam Chitwood

In Bruges (2008)

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Celebrated playwright Martin McDonagh made his filmmaking debut in 2008 with In Bruges; a prickly, venomous spin on the crime comedy that starts out as pure quick-witted banter between a pair of Irish assassins, played by the always wonderful Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in a career-redefining turn, but the film quickly transforms into something closer to tragedy. Or perhaps more accurately, and fitting for a debut film from a man of the theater, In Bruges is like watching the tragedy and comedy masks merge into a heart-breaking, hilarious, and unusual tale about grief, guilt and redemption, set in the cinematic fairy tale streets of Bruges. As the bullets fly and the bloodshed mounts, McDonagh keeps the zingers coming and even when In Bruges breaks your heart, it somehow leaves you with a crooked smile on your face. — Haleigh Foutch

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

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Romantic comedies count too, obviously, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall stands as one of the best of that subgenre. As Judd Apatow‘s cohorts started to branch out and write their own material, Jason Segel birthed us this delightful, sincere breakup romp. It’s hilarious and heartfelt in equal measure, which makes it special. But it’s also wickedly raunchy, as evidenced by Segel’s now-famous full frontal breakup scene at the beginning of the movie. It takes a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and while Segel and Nicholas Stoller would further blur the lines between comedy and drama in films like The Five-Year Engagement, this one still stands a cut above thanks to its fairly tight narrative and huge heart. Oh, and Kristen Bell is lowkey the film’s MVP. — Adam Chitwood

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

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How do you take a thin children’s book and turn it into an inspired disaster comedy? Look no further than Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which is far better than it has any right to be. It’s unabashedly weird and sometimes downright disturbing (I have no idea how they got away with the snowball scene), but it’s always wonderful with so much heart at the center of its unrelentingly goofy comedy. This film makes the list for a variety of reasons, but we’d probably have to include it because it’s the only movie in history with a Welcome to Mooseport joke, and that includes Welcome to Mooseport. – Matt Goldberg

The Informant! (2009)

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Steven Soderbergh has lowkey been making great comedies for well over a decade now, but The Informant! is one that can 100% be classified as such. Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns took what other filmmakers might turn into an Erin Brockovich-esque drama and made a true story farce. Matt Damon is next-level as Mark Whitacre, a whistle-blower who is far more stupid than he thinks he is. The film features quite possibly the best narration in cinema history, as Whitacre’s actions are juxtaposed with his odd, meandering, hilarious thoughts that oftentimes directly contradict what he’s doing. It’s gorgeously shot, impeccably crafted, and a blast from start to finish. The Informant! is proof positive that Steven Soderbergh is one of the funniest filmmakers working today. – Adam Chitwood

MacGruber (2010)

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This movie should not have worked. When it was first announced, the reaction was, “A film based on a sketch where the only joke is that a MacGyver-type always blows up? How do you make that feature-length?” But they found a way to make a brilliant R-rated comedy that makes full use of Will Forte’s go-for-broke comedy (“Just tell me what you want me to fuuuuuuck!”) while still keeping the basic core of a character who’s always out of his depth. MacGruber is an ingenious mix of 80s-action tropes with raunchy comedy. Also, the sex scenes are among the funniest jokes, not just of the 21st century, but of all-time. – Matt Goldberg

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

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After the one-two punch of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright dipped a toe into straightforward adaptation with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. If those first two films were hard to pin a genre on, his spin on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s beloved comic books certainly follows suit. It’s a great comedy, action movie, love story, and time capsule of the proto-hipster indie/emo scene that boasts a heck of a cast of movie stars in the making, including Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Brie Larson, and Chris Evans. Wright delivers comedy with his signature flourish for cinematic invention, punctuating jokes with snappy editing, tightly choreographed fight scenes, and graphic imagery, and cooking up his own strange alchemy that allows all the disparate elements to come together in a perfect potion. — Haleigh Foutch

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

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When it comes to horror comedy, many have tried, few have truly succeeded. Sometimes the horror sucks the fun out of the jokes, sometimes the laugh sap the tension out of the scares; but when a film sticks the landing like Eli Craig‘s Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, the laughs and adrenaline fuel each other in a thrilling cinematic symphony. Horror and comedy share a cinematic set-up – it’s all about set-pieces, pacing, and building up to the gag, and with Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, you never quite know if they’re setting you up a gore gag or a laugh; usually a bit of both. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are perfection as two backwoods bros just trying to make a spot of peace and quiet for themselves when a bunch of preppy college up and mistake them as psycho killers and the chaotic carnage that follows never fails to follow-through on the set-up, whether it’s a punchline or a pile of guts. — Haleigh Foutch

The Other Guys (2010)

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Who could have guessed that Mark Wahlberg would become one of Will Ferrell’s best comedic partners, but after three films together, it’s abundantly clear that the odd-couple duo are comedy gold. Shout out to Adam McKay and his casting director for seeing a comedic diamond in the rough in Wahlberg, who had previously done semi-comedic performances in I Heart Huckabees and The Departed but nothing on the level of 2010’s The Other Guys, which stared Wahlberg and Ferrell as two mismatched police officers who try to step up and become NYC’s top detective with uproarious results. The film changed the trajectory of Wahlberg’s career (a decade later, he’s arguably better know for comedies than dramas) and for good reason, it’s one of the funniest dang movies I’ve ever seen, and Wahlberg and Ferrell’s unexpected chemistry is the fuel to McKay’s absurd comedic fire. McKay is an absolute artiste of stupid-smart humor and there’s perhaps no greater example than The Other Guys’ opening scene, which features Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson in an unforgettable, outrageously goofy parody that announces the heightened, hilarious tone of the film out of the gate and sets the stage for the next 90 minutes of non-stop ugly laughs. — Haleigh Foutch

Bridesmaids (2011)

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You can draw a pretty straight line from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Bridesmaids. Not only are they both produced by Judd Apatow, but six years after Apatow infused the comedy genre with loose improvisation and stories about manchildren, the culture, climate, and audience interest had changed. Kristen Wiig wrote a script for a story about a group of women, so Apatow produced, Paul Feig directed, and a smash hit was born. As with some of Apatow’s films, Bridesmaids features some heavy improv as well as a strong dramatic undercurrent—this is a story about friendship and relationships at heart, which makes the film not only memorable, but enduring. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes in Bridesmaids are fantastic and it’s a hilarious movie, but I don’t think it would have had the same impact without the terrifically dynamic performances of Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Rose Byrne. The situations are funny, but the emotions are real. And, of course, this is the film that made Melissa McCarthy—one of the funniest people on the planet—a star. Many imitators followed, but none were able to capture the same magic that permeates Bridesmaids. – Adam Chitwood

Frances Ha (2012)

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Before Frances Ha, filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s sensibility was a bit more…melancholic. Films like Greenberg or The Squid and the Whale certainly had moments of humor in them, but they also dug deep into the human experience in a somewhat depressing way. Frances Ha, however, is pure unaltered joy mainlined directly from star/co-writer Greta Gerwig. The film is a delightful chronicle of late-twenties meandering, shot beautifully in black-and-white and peppered with insight into the human experience—except now with far less depression. – Adam Chitwood

21 Jump Street (2012)

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Here’s the M.O. of directors Christopher Miller & Phil Lord: Take a premise that shouldn’t work and knock it out of the park. 21 Jump Street comes right up to the line of a spoof, but it’s a genuine buddy comedy with outstanding chemistry between leads Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The jokes are painfully funny, but what makes the film work so well is that it not only satirizes stereotypes, but there’s also a genuine bond between Jenko and Schmidt. For all of its painfully hilarious moments, the central story about two friends who realize they’re no longer beholden to their high school baggage is what always shines through. – Matt Goldberg

This Is the End (2013)

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As Apatow’s “machild” started to phase out of the comedy genre, a weird thing happened. Apatow and his collaborators didn’t become irrelevant, they evolved. They began crafting new kinds of stories catering to different audience tastes, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg began their impressive directorial career with 2013’s hilarious, insane This Is the End. The premise for the movie sounds terrible—a fictional story where Rogen, James Franco, and other famous actors play themselves coming to terms with the impending apocalypse. But in practice, This Is the End is a delightful, surprisingly grounded, and hilarious phantasmagoric comedy. The actors play into their personas in terrific ways, and Rogen and Goldberg prove more than adept behind the camera, maintaining a consistent—if nutty—tone throughout. What makes This Is the End truly special, however, is Rogen and Goldberg’s willingness to take their premise to the extreme.

There’s no concession to bridge audience gaps or play to broad tastes—they’re going to portray a giant demon with a swinging dick trying to grab Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel as they ascend into heaven. And then, they’re going to have the Backstreet Boys perform in the finale. Because it’s hilarious, but also because it kind of fits with everything that came before. This is insanity. Pure, gleeful, fine-tuned insanity. – Adam Chitwood

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

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The Brainchild of Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi and Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement, What We Do in the Shadows skewers the vampire genre with a cheeky grin and a knowing nod. There’s a giggling gleefulness to their distinctly New Zealand spin on creatures of the night, helped no doubt by Waititi’s giddy performance as Viago, a romantic Victorian vampire in the Anne Rice tradition who guides a faux mockumentary team into the world of the undead. Clement also stars as Vladislav, a brutish bloodsucker a la Vlad the Impaler, alongside Jonny Brugh as the young gun rock ’n roll vamp. Together, they make a delightful batch off mismatched undead roomies, with more offbeat characters entering the mix along the way. Waititi and Clement embrace vampire tradition as much as they subvert it, and while they stack visual gags on physical gags on endlessly quotable one-liners, they also make sure to lace the comedic beats in with entertaining action and a surprisingly rich story about the mundane monsters skulking around the streets of New Zealand. — Haleigh Foutch

The LEGO Movie (2014)

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Even if you’re not a fan of LEGO, The LEGO Movie is absolutely magical, managing to not only be painfully funny, but also surprisingly sweet and constantly imaginative. Granted, it opened the door for other movies based on horrible ideas (looking at you The Emoji Movie), but that’s the fault of studios who failed to understand the unique alchemy Lord & Miller brought to the project. It’s a movie that’s not only funny, but also one that brilliantly subverts the “Chosen One” trope to deliver a powerful message about finding what’s special in you and letting it shine rather than waiting for some prophecy to name you “The Special.” Also, there are alligators with police hats. – Matt Goldberg

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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When we look back on Guardians of the Galaxy in 5, 10, or 20 years, I have no doubt it’ll turn out to be one of the most influential films of this era. Writer/director James Gunn was able to craft a wild space adventure that also works as a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and has a genuinely emotional core and is legitimately, surprisingly funny. It’s a miracle of a film, a balancing act of tone and far-flying spectacle, but at root I think it can reasonably be considered a comedy. Nowhere is this more evident than during the breakout sequence, in which the core Guardians of the Galaxy are forced to work together for the same time, with their individual egos and quirks bouncing off of one another like a ping pong ball in a steel box. The timing is impeccable, but the secret is in the performances of the ensemble cast—none of them know they’re in a comedy, which makes their reactions and line readings that much funnier. So yeah, in more ways than one this is an all-timer. – Adam Chitwood

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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Wes Anderson’s “schtick” is certainly not for everyone, but it’s hard to resist the charm of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Eschewing twee stories of children or families, Grand Budapest instead is a Russian nesting doll-type tale chronicling the misadventures of a hotel concierge and his lobby boy, and the kooky characters they meet along the way. It’s all gorgeously crafted, obviously, and Anderson uses his skill as a filmmaker to really nail the comedic pacing. This thing moves at a brisk pace, and yet feels unendingly rich. It’s a layer cake, with each piece more delicious than the last. – Adam Chitwood

Magic Mike XXL (2015)

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Magic Mike was a surprisingly pensive character piece with a strong helping of Soderbergh subversion, but Gregory Jacobs’ follow-up, Magic Mike XXL, is a triumph in its own right. XXL pulls back on existential angst in favor of entertainment factor and the result is exactly the kind of joyful, crowd-pleasing male stripper road movie most people probably expected from the first film. Channing Tatum returns as the title character with his easy charisma, comedic knack, and yes, plenty of dancing, and while McConaughey sat out the sequel, most of the standout Kings of Tampa come back for one last wild ride. Without the first film’s undercurrent of ambitious competition, XXL becomes an exuberant celebration of bro bonding and embracing your true calling. Just try not to grin when Joe Manganiello struts through a convenience store, Backstreet Boys blaring on the radio as he unleashes his expertise as a male entertainer. You can’t, because Magic Mike XXL is pure joy…with great abs and killer dance moves. — Haleigh Foutch

Spy (2015)

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On the surface, Spy seemed like a funny-enough but potentially disposable action-comedy vehicle for rising star Melissa McCarthy. In practice, Paul Feig’s spy film is a hilarious, effective romp. And in hindsight, it’s one of the most rewatchable comedies of the last few years. McCarthy stars as a desk-bound CIA employee who’s forced onto the frontlines when her partner, suave super-spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law), is seemingly murdered. Feig takes full advantage of this fish-out-of-water narrative in a way that’s genuine compelling and exciting, not just a vehicle for jokes and gags. McCarthy’s Susan Cooper turns out to be a supremely capable spy herself—it’s Jason Statham’s macho Rick Ford who’s the screw-up. Statham has, honestly, never been better, and the film is littered with great performances by comedic actors, from Rose Byrne to Miranda Hart to Peter Serafinowicz. – Adam Chitwood

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

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Is Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping the most rewatchable movie ever made? It’s entirely possible. This comedic masterstroke from The Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone chronicles the solo pop star career of a former band member in the vein of the Katy Perry or Justin Bieber documentaries, so unlike Walk Hard (which is also hilarious), Popstar takes a deadly serious approach to the ridiculous shenanigans that occur throughout the film. There are countless jokes and gags that play extremely well on repeat viewings, and the fact that the songs in the film are both hilarious and incredibly catchy also adds to the rewatchability of the whole thing. But what really makes Popstar stand out is the film’s heart—it’s a film in which Samberg’s lead character signs a deal to release his music through refrigerators, but it’s also a pretty genuine story of friendship. De-doink de-doink! – Adam Chitwood

The Nice Guys (2016)

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Nobody mixes cynical despair, razor sharp wit, and dynamic action quite like Shane Black. A spiritual sibling to his other great comedy noir Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys introduces another odd couple investigative duo down a deadly, tangled web of mysteries in the gaudy world of pornography and the glitzy, gritty streets of Los Angeles. This time, Black travels to 1970s L.A. with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe on board as a pair of mismatched private dicks who find themselves on the same case. Black’s crackling script is a dynamo, and the film is a visual feast from Philippe Rousselot’s cinematography to Kym Barrett’s costumes, and the laughs never stop thanks to Gosling and Crowe, who lob around sharp insults and sloppy punches with full-bodied command of the material. — Haleigh Foutch

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Image via Marvel Studios

There’s been no shortage of funny superhero movies over the decades, especially since Iron Man ushered in the age of the MCU on a wink and a smirk from Robert Downey Jr., but nobody has delivered a full-on superhero comedy like Taika Waititi did with his zany intergalactic adventure, Thor: Ragnarok. Distinctly pulled from bygone days of vibrant fantasies led by devil may care goofballs, Ragnarok feels like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life, with Waititi’s signature wit and the big-budget backing of an industry titan like Marvel Studios. The result is a weird, wild ride that’s about as odd as MCU movies get. Chris Hemsworth‘s comedic skills are one of the most delightful surprises to come out of Hollywood in recent years, and Waititi lets him ham it up alongside an insanely appealing cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, and Mark Ruffalo – who all do some A+ hamming of their own. With little interest in world-building or mythologizing, Ragnarok is a rarity in the MCU that feels like a true standalone; something unique and utterly hilarious, from start to finish. — Haleigh Foutch

Logan Lucky (2017)

Image via Bleecker Street

While one could probably make the argument that the Ocean’s films are comedies, we categorized them as “heist movies” for the purposes of this list—or else they’d be on it. But Steven Soderbergh’s 2017 film Logan Lucky could not be mistaken for anything other than a comedy, and it’s brilliant. Crudely described as a “Ocean’s 7-11” the film follows two brothers who conspire to steal money from the Coca-Cola 600 car race in North Carolina. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver get their O, Brother Where Art Thou? on as the central brothers, and Daniel Craig is outrageously funny as safe cracker Joe Bang. The whole thing is hilarious from beginning to end, and is yet another example of Soderbergh’s versatility. – Adam Chitwood

Game Night (2018)

Image via Warner Bros.

Game Night is a great example of a comedy that’s incredibly funny, but also refreshingly cinematic. Drawing inspiration from the films of David Fincher, directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldestein imbue their ensemble comedy with a sense of danger, which ups the tension throughout. The action hijinks that ensue are genuinely thrilling, as opposed to playing out in overly lit and bland fashion. But this also isn’t a matter of style over substance. The script by Mark Perez is airtight, and Daley and Goldstein assembled a murderers row ensemble without a single weak link. Everyone gets his or her time to shine, even if Jesse Plemons lowkey steals the entire movie. This is the kind of mid-budget comedy that studios should be making more of. – Adam Chitwood

Blockers (2018)

Image via Universal

Straight up, John Cena is a gift. The megawatt charismatic wrestler-turned-movie star is, of course, great with action. But he’s even better with comedy, a fact made abundantly clear in Blockers. Directed by Pitch Perfect and 30 Rock writer Kay Cannon, the 2018 comedy stars Cena alongside Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz as a trio of parents who discover their teenage daughters have a pact to lose their virginity at prom and decide the only rational course of action is to do anything in their parental powers to stop that from happening. Now, that definitely sounds like a bad idea for an 80s comedy that’s several different shades of problematic, but in Cannon’s hands, it’s a warm and heartfelt story about the boundless limits of parental love — and why it needs boundaries sometimes. In a wise decision, Blockers’ script pays just as much attention to the trio of teens (played by Gideon Adlon, Kathryn Newton, and Geraldine Viswanathan) as it does to their bonkers, cock-blocking parents; a choice that cements Blockers as a tremendous coming-of-age comedy that’s not about exploiting teenage sexuality, but exploring it. This ain’t your average teen sex comedy, and from the script to pitch-perfect casting to the performances, Blockers elevates the game without skimping on the laughs. — Haleigh Foutch

Booksmart (2019)

Image via Annapurna

Coming-of-age comedies are a well-worn and much beloved staple of comedy cinema and the “BFFs on a mission to find a big party” riff is a classic subgenere within a subgenre in its own right. With 2019’s breakout hit Booksmart, Olivia Wilde made her directorial debut with a fresh spin on the very familiar that’s as endearing as it is laugh-out-loud funny. A heartfelt breakout for everyone involved, Booksmart stars Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as a pair of over-achieving, inseparable high school friends who realize they missed all their opportunities for high school shenanigans and decide to sneak in one wild night of partying before graduation sends them their separate ways. Naturally, chaos ensues, including an unexpected detour into stop-motion animation, an encounter with a serial killer that still has me chuckling, and a handful of dramatic beats that hit home a lot harder than you’re expecting. Wilde shows impressive confidence and command with her directorial debut but, above all, Booksmart is a work of casting genius, not just for pairing Feldstein and Dever’s electric chemistry but an arsenal of standout supporting players including two impossibly charming performances from Billie Lourd and Skyler Gisondo. —Haleigh Foutch

Long Shot (2019)

Image via Lionsgate

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen make for quite the odd couple, both as a comedic pairing and a romantic leading duo, which is ostensibly the big punchline of Johnathan Levine’s 2019 romantic comedy. But the real joy of Long Shot is the surprising amount of depth, emotion, and surprising sexiness it sneaks in between the obvious joke. In his third film with Levine (after 50/50 and The Night Before) Rogen stars as a trouble-making political journalist who reconnects with his childhood crush and former babysitter (Theron) — who also happens to be secretary of state. By this point in her Oscar-winning career, Theron has proved time and time again that she’s capable of just about any genre you throw at her, but somehow it’s still surprising how well she feels right at home in a Seth Rogen comedy. But boy does she feel at home and the pair have a knockout comedic and romantic chemistry that makes Long Shot an endless delight. This is one of those movies where my love for it has kind of snuck up on me. I liked it a whole lot the first time I watched it, more the second, and that like has quickly turned into full-blown love as I keep recommending it to my friends and watching them have a blast with it too. It’s a comfort movie of the highest order. A feel-good, fall in love romp that hits all the right notes, having the wisdom to dig beneath the surface gags and go for character-driven story over easy laughs. — Haleigh Foutch

Knives Out (2019)

Image via Lionsgate

Leave it to Rian Johnson to follow-up a brilliantly subversive Star Wars movie with a brilliantly subversive whodunit, only to wind up with an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Knives Out is one of the most purely entertaining experiences I’ve ever had seeing a movie in a theater—both times. This is a perfect screenplay, as Johnson begins the story as a murder mystery, which then turns into a thriller, and then back into a mystery towards the end. No moment is wasted, as every scene informs character and story while also layering quick-witted humor throughout. This one has it all: thrills, spills, and laughs galore. It’s not just one of the best comedies of the century, it’s one of the best films of the 2000s period.

Note: This Collider original feature was initially published on a prior date, but has been updated and moved to the front page to further highlight our original content.

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