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.
Before Team America, Book of Mormon and even before South Park became one of the most popular animated shows of all-time, Trey Parker and Matt Stone starred in a goofy little movie called BASEketball, directed by David Zucker. Parker and Stone aren’t exactly known for their on-screen talent (despite voicing many South Park characters), but not for lack of ability. They both shine in this hilarious romp about two unathletic guys who invent their own supremely lazy sport and grow it into a multimillion-dollar league. People set up 20th-anniversary screenings for it last year, such is the dedication of its cult following.
The Coen Brothers won Best Picture for No Country for Old Men and followed it up by going in almost the exact opposite direction. Burn After Reading is all about incredibly stupid people creating mountains out of molehills and still somehow managing to get themselves way over their heads. It’s funny, it’s chaotic, and it’s extremely cynical. Headlined by the likes of Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, J.K. Simmons, and Coen “regulars” Frances McDormand and George Clooney, it’s a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.
All hail the return of Eddie Murphy! Murphy’s received some light Oscar buzz for his portrayal of 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.
While production house Happy Madison is better known for Adam Sandler vehicles, one of its best films is led by Anna Faris. Faris stars as a Playboy bunny who goes back to college to mentor a sorority of outsiders and transform them into the cool girls on campus. It’s a ’90s concept with a 2000’s twist in the sense that it nearly passes the Bechdel test. Some of the jokes haven’t aged too gracefully but Faris’s energy is infectious and the film’s best joke is so memorable you will find yourself working it into conversation all the time. You’ll know it when you hear it.
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.”
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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