What happened to the R-rated studio comedy? What used to be a theatrical draw has now become almost nonexistent. The late 1990s and early 2000s experienced a comedic boom, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Tina Fey, Judd Apatow, and Adam Sandler became box office juggernauts. It was a time when R-rated comedies could gross over $100 million domestically. Now, these same comedies typically flop at the box office and elect to head straight to streaming. Head back to 2017’s Girls Trip to find one of the last R-rated studio comedies to gross over $100 million worldwide.
This weekend, Sony will attempt to draw audiences to the theater with a studio comedy once again with the release of No Hard Feelings. Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence stars as Maddie Barker, a broke Uber driver whose car is repossessed as she’s in danger of losing her house. Desperate for money, Maddie responds to a Craigslist ad to date a shy 19-year-old boy named Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) and get him out of his shell before he leaves for college. In exchange, Maddie will receive a Buick Regal. No Hard Feelings will be another test to see if audiences still crave a raunchy comedy in the summer.
In the meantime, check out these seven raunchy R-rated comedies to watch.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High depicts the lives of high school teenagers in the town of Ridgemont. These teens want to have sex, they want to get high, and they want to make money. Featured characters include Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the 15-year-old virgin; Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold), Stacy’s older brother and local fry cook; Mike Damone (Robert Romanus), the ladies’ man; and Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), the stoner.
Based on Cameron Crowe’s 1981 book of the same name, Fast Times at Ridgemont High has no shortage of boobs, sex, and masturbation. However, the coming-of-age film treats topics of female sexuality and abortion with care, something you wouldn’t expect in a story full of horny teens. Fun fact: Fast Times at Ridgemont High was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2005, meaning Spicoli is in the same class as Michael Corleone and Atticus Finch. Gnarly!
Stream Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Tubi.
It’s senior year of high school, and the guys want to lose their virginity. Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs), Chris “Oz” Ostreicher (Chris Klein), Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas), and Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) make a pact to have sex before graduation. Meanwhile, Steve Stifler (Sean William Scott), the idiot and non-virgin of the group, is there to make fun of the boys every step of the way.
The comedic bits are very raunchy for a teen movie. At one point, Jim masturbates into a pie because he overheard that reaching “third base” is like ” “warm apple pie.” Masturbation aside, American Pie thrives on cringe comedy, especially involving Jim. The premature ejaculation scene with Jim and Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) is still as funny as it is awkward. Bolstered by an elite soundtrack, American Pie reinvigorated the R-Rated teen movie.
Rent American Pie on YouTube.
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson dominated the comedic scene in the early 2000s. From Vaughn’s Old School and Dodgeball to Wilson’s Zoolander and Starsky & Hutch, it was only a matter of time before these comedians joined forces for a classic movie. The result was Wedding Crashers, the 2005 comedy about John Beckwith (Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vaughn), two guys who crash weddings under fake names to sleep with women.
John and Jeremy succeed… a lot. Their clever schemes to seduce women work like a charm. Everything goes according to plan until they attend a wedding hosted by a U.S. government official and meet sisters Gloria (Isla Fisher) and Claire Cleary (Rachel McAdams). Both men break the fifth rule of wedding crashing: never let a girl get between you and a fellow crasher. Political correctness aside, Wedding Crashers is still a blast 18 years later, thanks to the undeniable chemistry between Vaughn and Wilson. Plus, Wedding Crashers features one of the greatest cameos of all time by Will Ferrell. Do you want some meatloaf?
Rent Wedding Crashers on Prime Video.
In 2005, Steve Carrell was still searching for his breakthrough as a leading man. Carrell starred as Michael Scott in The Office earlier that year, but that sitcom was a few years away from becoming an iconic series. The year prior, Carrell shined in a supporting role in Anchorman, which drew the attention of Judd Apatow, who directed and co-wrote The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Carrell.
Carrell plays Andy, an awkward 40-year-old who has never had sex. His friends and co-workers make it their mission to help Andy lose their virginity. Like most Apatow movies, The 40-Year-Old Virgin has a lot of heart as it confronts mature topics like virginity with a comedic twist. The film plays more like a romantic comedy at times. There are a lot of sex jokes, but nothing is funnier than the chest-waxing scene. Thank you, Kelly Clarkson.
Stream The 40-Year-Old Virgin on Peacock.
In 2007, Jason Segel was one of the stars of the broadcast sitcom, How I Met Your Mother. Segel played Marshall Eriksen, a happy-go-lucky lawyer who was madly in love with his girlfriend and future wife, Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan). In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Segel, who wrote the script, stars as Peter Bretter, the complete opposite of his HIMYM character.
In the opening moments, Peter is dumped by his girlfriend of five years, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). Not only is he dumped, but Peter’s naked during the entire conversation, adding insult to injury. Depressed and lonely, Peter books an impromptu trip to Hawaii. Although he meets the charming Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis) at the hotel, Peter is surprised to learn that Sarah and her new boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), are staying at the same hotel. Backed by Segel’s witty script and a strong supporting cast, Forgetting Sarah Marshall successfully balances romance with raunchiness in one of the best comedies of the 21st century. Now all we need to see is A Taste for Love on Broadway.
Stream Forgetting Sarah Marshall on Prime Video.
Senior year of high school is a scary time. Will you stay close to your friend group after graduation? Do you look back at high school with regret? What will the future hold? The unknown future and the anxiety of growing up are perfectly captured in Superbad. Based on the lives of co-writers Seth Rogen (Gamestop) and Evan Goldberg, Superbad follows friends Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), high school seniors set to attend different colleges after graduation.
Feeling like they’ve missed out on the social aspect of high school, Seth and Evan have one last chance to lose their virginity and get girlfriends at a party. Along with their nerdy friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the boys embark on the wildest night of their lives as they attempt to score some alcohol for the party. For a film that has a running gag about drawing penises, Superbad is a sincere and heartwarming depiction of friendship. If you’re not looking for sincerity, there’s plenty of vulgarity, including a dance with a character credited as “Period Blood Girl.”
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That’s the mantra to every bachelor or bachelorette party to spend a weekend in Sin City. For Phil Wenneck (The Mule‘s Bradley Cooper), Stu Price (Ed Helms), and Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis), their Vegas bachelor turns into a nightmare in The Hangover. The three men head to Las Vegas for the bachelor party of their friend Doug Billings (Justin Bartha). On the first night of their trip, they toast to a memorable night.
The night turns out to be unforgettable as Phil, Stu, and Alan wake up with no memory of the night before. Kids, don’t take roofies because if you do, you may end up with a Bengal tiger in your hotel room. To make matters worse, Doug is missing, so the trio retrace their steps and go on a wild goose chase for their friend. From singing In The Air Tonight with Mike Tyson to fostering a random baby, The Hangover is the best PSA to stop drinking or the greatest endorsement to buy a flight to Vegas, depending on personality.
Stream The Hangover on Netflix.