For many of us, there’s nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than settling on the couch and watching a comedy that’s actually funny. 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.
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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.
This is tweaking the rules a little since 50/50 has about a 50/50 balance between drama and comedy but it’s nonetheless a heartwarming film that includes enough laughs to make the cut. Starring an outstanding Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the story follows a young man diagnosed with cancer and given a 50% chance to live. The story follows director Will Reiser’s own battle with cancer and how it affected his relationships with his parents, girlfriend, and friends — particularly his roommate, played by an indefatigably cheeky Seth Rogen.
Made at the peak of Adam Sandler’s ’90s fame, well before anyone had an inkling he could do dramatic acting, your opinion of The Waterboy will very likely depend on your opinion of Sandler himself. While dimwitted, big-hearted Bobby Boucher is one of the least crass of Sandler’s comedic characters, the ensemble around him certainly picks up the dirty joke slack. Boucher is the put-upon adult waterboy for the University of Louisiana football team, who still lives at home with his overprotective mother. When he’s fired from his position, however, he discovers that there is a rage within him that, when activated, makes him a destructive football force. Noticing this, Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) of the abysmal South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs takes a chance on him. Just like that, Boucher takes the Mud Dogs from zero to a bowl game against his former employer. Although it’s low-brow at points, The Waterboy is at its essence an underdog story about family and the difficulty of moving on after loss. Plus, as is the case with many ’90s Sandler movies, it’s extremely quotable.
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly team up in this uproarious tale about two middle-aged, live-at-home failures to launch who are forced to cohabitate when their single parents get engaged. Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Reilly) may be grown men but that doesn’t stop them from developing a childish sibling rivalry that threatens to result in them both being banished from their parents’ newly reunited household. They’ll have to learn to get along, get jobs, and get out of the house before their parents kick them out. One of the most popular and enduring comedies from the late aughts, Step Brothers features Ferrell and Reilly at their absolute peak and helped inspire the creation of the Catalina Wine Mixer, which we can all be thankful for.
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 in which, 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 the more ambitious, cynical, and downright crazier movie 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.”
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.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle launched one of the most unlikely franchises in recent memory. Starring John Cho as Harold and Kal Penn as Kumar, this film is literally about two guys who get high and have a sudden craving for White Castle. Of course, getting to White Castle turns out to be way, way harder than they ever imagined. It may sound silly but Harold & Kumar was fairly groundbreaking at the time as a well-promoted buddy comedy starring two young minority men. The film’s popularity helped spawn two sequels, a testament to Cho and Penn’s chemistry and commitment to the stoner odd couple bit.
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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