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.
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.
Punch-Drunk Love is a curio in the career of director Paul Thomas Anderson. Whereas his earlier works tended to be sprawling ensemble pieces (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), Punch-Drunk Love is smaller, more intimate. Like Anderson’s subsequent masterpiece, There Will Be Blood, Punch-Drunk Love focuses on one man and his neuroses, in this case, Barry Egan (Adam Sandler). A lonely business owner whose family often mocks him, Barry is prone to fits of rage. When his sister introduces him to her friend Lena (Emily Watson), however, he finds he has a shot at intimacy, as long as his problems don’t bubble over. Sandler is in rare form here, playing his usual mix of naïveté and rage for sympathy, rather than laughs. Punch-Drunk Love bucks the usual conventions and rhythms of romantic-comedies; it is a strange, subtle film that even those who typically dislike Sandler’s typical performances should see.
An adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-addled novel of the same name, Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a wild chronicle of one man’s drug trip in a country where everything seems to be spinning out of control. Set in 1971, with protests raging throughout America, the film opens as reporter Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) race down a desert highway on their way to Las Vegas, their minds frenzied by psychedelics. Hopped up on a potent cocktail of mescaline, acid, and ether, Duke and Gonzo attempt to go about working on a feature story, and instead have a very weird trip. Fear and Loathing is simply bonkers, capturing not just the visual strangeness of a drug trip, but the dread and paranoia that can come along with it.
At age 40, geeky Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) still hasn’t managed to have sex. After accidentally revealing his secret to some work friends during a poker game, they set out to get him laid. It looks like things are heading in the right direction when Andy meets Trish (Catherine Keener), a divorced mother of three, with whom he begins to fall in love. However, when they eventually start a relationship together, it’s based on a mutual no-sex policy, where they both agree that they won’t be intimate before their 20th date. The 40-Year-Old Virgin, directed by Judd Apatow, is a raunchy comedy about a man falling in love and losing his V-card a little later than usual.
Pineapple Express is a classic stoner film, directed by David Gordon Green, and written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It stars Rogen and James Franco as a process server and his marijuana dealer who are forced to flee from hitmen and a corrupt police officer (Cleo King) after they witness a murder. A buddy comedy slash stoner flick with plenty of action, Pineapple Express is a hilarious film made even better by Franco’s surprising comedic timing. Won’t take our word for it? Pineapple Express was the first marijuana-themed comedy to gross over hundred million dollars worldwide and was even nominated for a Golden Globe.
Whoever said history couldn’t be funny? Especially when you have the irreverent comedy group known as Monty Python behind the helm. Monty Python and the Holy Grail parodies the well-known King Arthur legend in this absurd British comedy as Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his knights search far and wide for the mythical Holy Grail. The imminently quotable movie which gave us beauties like “It’s just a flesh wound” and more went on to gross more than any British film exhibited in the U.S. in 1975 and was followed by three films and the Tony Award-winning play, Spamalot.
Who could have imagined that, in 2017, someone would draw upon 14th-century Italian poet Boccaccio to make a raunchy sex comedy? Renaissance scholars, that’s who, and they got their vindication with The Little Hours, a film from Jeff Baena (Life After Beth, I Heart Huckabees), who recognized that Boccaccio’s The Decameron was as filthy and hilarious as any comedy film made in recent years. The Little Hours takes place largely at a convent in Italy in 1347, where nuns Alessandra (Alison Brie), Ginevra (Kate Micucci), and Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), try to live pious lives despite their very un-pious attitudes. When a young man named Massetto (Dave Franco) arrives at the convent, taking the job of a gardener, the cloistered nuns get a bit … excited. With its incredible cast (in addition to the aforementioned, the film includes John C. Reilly, Fred Armisen, and Nick Offerman, among others) and unique inspiration, The Little Hours is a standout comedy.
These days, the late Doug Kenney is not a household name, yet his comedies have become some of the most iconic of all time. The Harvard grad co-founded National Lampoon magazine in the early ’70s and later penned seminal films such as Animal House and Caddyshack, only to fall into obscurity in the decades since. Director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) puts Kenney’s madcap career under the knife in A Futile and Stupid Gesture, while assembling a host of modern-day actors to play legendary comedians like Chevy Chase (Joel McHale) and Bill Murray (Jon Daly). It’s a somewhat surface-level biopic — it churns through the highlights more than anything else — but Will Forte is commendable as Kenney, who was as absurd as he was brilliant.
Part crime drama, part dark comedy, In Bruges follows two hitmen who are in hiding after their latest “hit” goes awry. Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) must hide out in Bruges, a charming city in Belgium, for two weeks awaiting further instruction from their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). As they settle in, they realize that maybe the hitman life isn’t for them. Ray has met a girl that he likes, and Ken has found a new appreciation for the simpler life. But Harry is none too pleased and travels to Bruges to knock some sense into them — aka kill them. Will they get to live their fantasy life in Bruges, or meet their demise?
Hot Fuzz is basically actor-writer Simon Pegg’s shot at the buddy-cop genre, one spliced with the same comedic elements that made his previous effort Shaun of the Dead so amusing. Pegg stars as a former London constable who’s assigned to investigate the sleepy town of Sanford alongside the dimwitted Butterman (Nick Frost). However, things start to become interesting following a string of so-called “accidents” plaguing various members of the town. The biting British film is the second in director Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy, which ultimately culminates with The World’s End and capitalizes on the fantastic interplay between Pegg and Frost.
Before Clueless and Mean Girls, there was Heathers, a cult classic that takes aim at high-school cliques, culture, and teenage suicide through a downright cynical lens. The morbid black comedy follows one Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), a popular high-school student who begins dating a sociopath named “J.D.” (Christian Slater), only to get wrapped up in a series of grisly murders that have been carefully masked as suicides. Although the bleak plot mostly focuses on the demise of three of Sawyer’s so-called friends (each named Heather), screenwriter Daniel Waters still manages to address the film’s more sadistic themes with a kind of self-aware humor that — sadly — just isn’t present in today’s teenage comedies.
The Coen Brothers have, over the years, perfected a very simple recipe for comedy: Take characters who think they’re smarter than they are and throw them into a situation that goes way over their heads. In Burn After Reading, the comedy of errors begins when CIA analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) quits his job rather than take a demotion, opting to work on a memoir. His unfaithful wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton) decides to divorce him, making a copy of his important files, which fall into the hands of two gym employees, Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (Brad Pitt), who figure they can get a ransom from Cox. Their ham-handed attempt to sell state secrets quickly goes awry. The Coens’ writing is as sharp as ever, and the all-star cast gives outstanding performances.
A Netflix original movie, The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, is a father-son bonding movie starring Josh Brolin and newcomer Montana Jordan. Buck, a hunter made famous for his popular TV show and hunting whitetail deer, decides that it’s time to take his estranged son out for his first hunting trip. Along for the ride is Buck’s cameraman, Don (Danny McBride), who documents the trip as it doesn’t pan out the way Buck expected. This lighthearted comedy shows the lengths to which a father will go to connect with his son.
The Emperor’s New Groove is a hilarious buddy comedy that’s got something for everyone. The animated film follows an Incan emperor named Kuzco (David Spade) as he tries to change back into a human after being accidentally transformed into a llama by his ex-adviser, Yzma (Eartha Kitt). While not as popular as some of Disney’s other films, The Emperor’s New Groove, with it’s distinctly Disney vibe, features a great cast, which also includes John Goodman and Patrick Warburton, and some really catchy musical numbers.
Before he was known as Bilbo Baggins and Dr. John Watson, Martin Freeman played the lovable Arthur Dent in the 2005 adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which follows the adventures of a hapless Englishman in space after Earth is destroyed by aliens. The film is based on the series by Douglas Adams, which spans multiple novels, radio programs, and more, and actually uses a screenplay co-written by Douglas before his death in 2001. This campy sci-fi film also features performances by Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Alan Rickman, and Stephen Fry.