For many of us, there’s nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than settling down on the couch and watching a good comedy. Dramas can drag, action movies can be over the top, and horror films are designed to be stressful. Comedies are fun and, more often than not, predictable — but that’s not a bad thing. Not every cinematic experience needs to be an adventure, and sometimes you just want a good laugh.
Luckily, Netflix’s repository of movies has grown quite large, though we can’t blame you if you don’t want to spend hours searching for the right film. The streaming service offers dozens of American Pie-style teen comedies, not to mention a slew of B-movies you’ll never want to sit through, and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look. To make your choice a bit easier, we’ve done all the legwork on your behalf. These are the best comedies on Netflix.
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Released in 2014, The Interview is the only movie on this list that could have conceivably launched World War III. The premise — an American talk show host going to North Korea to interview the nation’s dictator and infiltrate the government for the CIA — drew the ire of the despotic nation and its thin-skinned ruler, Kim Jong-un. North Korean hackers coordinated a massive attack against Sony Studios, leaking personal emails that so humiliated studio president Amy Pascal that she was forced to resign.
However, when the movie was released after short delays to consider national security, all the fuss seemed to be about nothing. The Interview is just plain silly. If anything, Kim Jong-un comes off looking good. The joke is probably on all of us for thinking Seth Rogen and James Franco would make a movie provocative enough to start a war. The context of The Interview is probably funnier than the movie itself, but it is still a pretty entertaining ride.
Detective shows and movies aren’t all serious — as Brooklyn Nine-Nine illustrates. In 1994’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Jim Carrey plays an eccentric detective who captures and tames some of the wildest animals east of Wynnewood, Oklahoma. When the Miami Dolphins’ mascot — appropriately, a dolphin — goes missing, Ventura is called in to crack the case and save the team ahead of the Super Bowl. Dolphins legend Dan Marino stars in the film as himself and a kidnap victim, likely to the delight of Buffalo Bills fans. Some of the scenes are somewhat dated by modern standards — there are moments that come off as transphobic, at best — but the film still features a ton of hilarious bits that come a mile a minute, as the movie clocks in at just an hour and 25 minutes.
Living the same day over and over again — can you imagine? Phil Connors (Bill Murray), a weatherman who cares about nobody but Phil, found himself in this predicament in Groundhog Day, a 1993 classic. After covering the ritual revolving around Punxsutawney Phil, the weatherman wakes up from his nightmarish assignment only to discover it starting all over again. With the help of Rita (Andie MacDowell), Connors conspires to break free from his temporal prison and escape back into his real life in a comedy so legendary, it inspired the Broadway musical of the same name.
All hail the return of Eddie Murphy! Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore in this Netflix original. Moore was a washed-up musician who transformed himself into the 1970’s blaxploitation character Dolemite, becoming a cult star in the process. An ode to extremely independent filmmaking with a subtler touch than Bowfinger, this film features additional, outstanding performances from Wesley Snipes and Keegan-Michael Key.
Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) believes his father was a famous daredevil and that he’s destined to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, he’s just not all that good at stunts. Still, that won’t stop him from preparing to make the jump of his life to raise money for his abusive stepfather Frank’s (Ian McShane) lifesaving heart operation. (And to honor his real father!) Rod is simply “2 Legit 2 Quit” and he won’t stop before he makes the jump or he dies trying. Samberg leads an awesome ensemble, including Bill Hader, Danny McBride, and Isla Fisher, that makes this death-defying story one worth watching.
Imagine a world where if you didn’t fall in love and get married, you were turned into an animal and treated as livestock. Dark, right? Well, and funny. Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster hits all the grimmest notes while still, inexplicably, bringing a smile to your face. The story centers on a place where single people go to meet other singles looking for love. If they don’t find love in 45 days, they’re turned into animals. Taking a deep, dry look at the desperation inherent in human connection, The Lobster features great performances from Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and John C. Reilly and comes equipped with a jaw-dropping twist that will make you wonder what you just watched.
A person doesn’t truly love Monty Python unless they love Life of Brian. Well, and Flying Circus. There’s much more to Monty Python than Holy Grail. While Grail is the better-known film, Life of Brian is more ambitious, cynical, and downright crazier for a very simple reason: It parodies Jesus Christ rather than King Arthur. Well, Christ’s neighbor, Brian Cohen, played by Graham Chapman. The film follows a case of mistaken identity as Brian is treated as prophet, blasphemer, and enemy of the state in a series of events meant to skewer the Bible. It was, needless to say, not popular with the Church upon its release, but it’s still darn funny and encourages everyone to “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life.”
A strange spinoff and somewhat-spiritual sequel, Get Him to the Greek gives Russell Brand’s British rock legend Aldous Snow, who stole a few scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, his own movie. After Sarah Marshall dumps him and he loses his sobriety, Snow is even more out of control than usual. Of course, ambitious record executive Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) doesn’t know the context when he accepts what should be an easy assignment: Escorting Snow to L.A.’s Greek Theatre for the first stop in a comeback concert tour. Unfortunately, the rocker has also deduced that his one true love, Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), is in California, too, and he’s determined to win her back before starting the tour. For Aaron, it’s like herding cats to get Aldous Snow to the show on time.
The comedy that defined a generation — and then a couple of more generations — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of those classics that seems to never go out of style. Of course, its enduring and simple premise is a big reason why: A popular high school kid takes the day off and goes into Chicago to have himself a day. Bringing along his dreamy girlfriend, Sloane, and neurotic best friend, Cameron (in his dad’s Alfa Romeo Alfetta), Ferris reminds us all to “stop and look around once in a while.” It’s a beautifully simple movie with a number of classic, extremely quotable scenes and characters. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor.
The movie that introduced the world to the Oscar-nominated writer and director of Lady Bird and Little Women, Frances Ha is Greta Gerwig’s semiautobiographical look at a quarter-life crisis in New York City. Gerwig co-wrote Frances Ha with director (and partner) Noah Baumbach and stars as 27-year-old Frances Halladay, a woman who kind of does a lot of things but isn’t really any of them. Frances Ha is an empathetic, genuine look at being young and not really passionate about anything specific besides, you know, life itself. Gerwig is a delight as the titular character, coming across as both the most unique and most relatable person you’ve ever met.
There are elements of drama and romance, but at its core, The Artist is a comedy. Once you move through the black-and-white barrier, you enter a world of cinematic nostalgia unparalleled in film today. While old, silent films can be difficult on modern sensibilities, The Artist never stops trying to surprise with visual and audio tricks, along with humorous title cards and visceral acting. The 2011 film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and closes with a rollicking dance scene that rivals anything Fred Astaire created during his heyday.
Teen coming-of-age tales are a dime a dozen on Netflix. What separates The Edge of Seventeen from the crowd is Hailee Steinfeld, who plays cynical Nadine Franklin in a star-making performance. The relationships Franklin shares with her family are chaotic, at best, as she looks to her high-school teacher (Woody Harrelson) for guidance. Over the course of the movie, she learns to be more vulnerable and open with others; however, the film doesn’t have a fairytale ending for everyone. While the subject matter of the movie can be serious, there are still a lot of relatable laughs to be had about the struggles of simply growing up.
One of the oddest Netflix originals, not least of all because it hit the platform seemingly out of nowhere, The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is the most fun you can have reliving the glory days of the 1990’s Oakland A’s. But you don’t have to be an A’s fan or even a baseball fan to enjoy. Created by The Lonely Island, this musical short stars Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer as the Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, singing about hitting dingers, doing steroids, and being on top of the world. It’s as silly as it sounds but so strangely satisfying.
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