We’ve always had a thing for comedy. After all, the gravity of our day-to-day tends to overwhelm us. By now we’ve also learned that we need to laugh more and often to stay on the bright side of things. While we can always share some good laughs with family and friends, there’s no harm in getting your daily dose of laughter from a comedy movie. The best ones always feature terrific casts, memorable one-liners, hysterical gags, and everything amusing in between. Netflix, with its expansive catalogue of content, offers the best selection of comedy movies you can find.
The Hangover (2009)
Director: Todd Phillips
Writer: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Cast:Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha
In The Hangover, a bachelor party goes terribly wrong after a group of friends, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug wake up the following morning with no recollection of what happened the night before. Just that there’s a tiger and a baby in their hotel room, and that the soon-to-be groom is missing. And oh, someone lost a tooth, too, which may seem like the least serious thing that’s happened but there’s also that. Everything that transpires in this movie is wild and hysterical but in a fun, fresh way, and some amount of raunchiness blends in just fine so it doesn’t lose its cleverness and comedic appeal.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writers: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien.
Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco
A couple’s quiet suburban life is interrupted when a fraternity moves next door. After their initial attempts at asking the fraternity’s leaders to keep it down backfire, they resort to more desperate means to shut them down. Apart from the loud parties and frenzied displays of fireworks, Neighbors delivers a few big laughs, nice family moments, and some more moderate tricks to keep you entertained. Perhaps, what’s more notable in this film is Zac Efron’s breakout performance, which helped him get rid of his Disney pretty boy persona.
Knocked Up (2007)
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Judd Apatow
Cast: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Jay Baruchel
Seth Rogen plays Ben, a weed-loving slacker, who, after a one-night stand, gets Alison (Katherine Heigl) pregnant. With their impending parenthood, they’re forced to re-evalute their life plans and priorities. Because it’s a Judd Apatow movie, they’re going to do all that with the right dosage of hysterics and profound, endearing moments blending in together. And it’s also all thanks to Apatow’s filmmaking genius that Knocked Up didn’t end up being a clichéd odd-couple comedy.
The Heat (2013)
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Katie Dippold
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport
Sandra Bullock plays Special Agent Sarah Ashburn. Uptight and overbearing, she’s not well-liked by other agents in the bureau. To secure a coveted promotion, she goes to Boston to track an evasive drug lord. There, she meets loud-mouthed and headstrong detective, Shannon Mullins, played by Melissa McCarthy. With their personalities and professional styles clashing constantly, their partnership is as volatile and disastrous as it can get. In The Heat, Bullock and McCarthy’s pairing is outstandingly enjoyable. And an action-comedy that centers on female leads is definitely something that’s fresh in the buddy-cop genre.
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd
Annie, played by Kristen Wiig, is an unemployed chef. Her bestfriend, Lillian, asked her to be the maid of honour, which she excitingly accepts. However, dealing with her own personal issues and clashing with one of the bridesmaids, she ends up ruining the wedding rituals and creating further conflicts along the way. Bridesmaids is full of humor and relatable ideas and sentiments, making it a remarkable watch. And, if you want to see women and the full extent of their comedic abilities, this one should be a no-brainer.
Get Smart (2008)
Director: Peter Segal
Writers: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember
Cast: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Terry Crews
Based on the television series of the same name, Get Smart follows Maxwell Smart. He’s got the brains to be a spy but his inefficiency usually overshadows his potential. After their secret base is attacked and with a traitor in their midst, he’s paired with a highly experienced operative to thwart a terrorist group’s plans of a lethal attack. Get Smart’s adaptation for the big screen incorporates a little complexity into the plot but that doesn’t make the film less amusing. It’s got action, adventure, and absurdity – everything you need that guarantees a good time.
Director: Ivan Reitman
Writers: Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis
Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis
Three scientists investigating the paranormal lost their jobs. Playing the cards they’re dealt, they establish a ghost-catching business which they call the Ghostbusters. Together, they must stop the sinister forces that haunt New York City, no matter how preposterous that sounds. As we all know, Ghostbusters has since become a classic movie (not to mention a Halloween costume favorite), largely praised for its skillful execution of comedy, horror, and action. Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman is also a must-see, alongside the entire cast’s chemistry onscreen.
Easy A (2010)
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Cast: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley, Stanley Tucci, Alyson Michalka
To get out of a weekend camping trip, Olive (Emma Stone) lies to her best friend about going on a date. When asked about it, she lies even more, sharing how she loses her virginity to a college guy. When someone overhears the conversation, her story spreads across the school like a nasty wildfire. Subsequent events lead her to earning a not-so-flattering reputation but instead of denying it, she decides to embrace her new image as the school tramp. Easy A is easily Stone’s breakthrough performance, showcasing her star material in a teen comedy that touches subjects of sexual abstinence, prudence, and how to be a good teenager in the middle of it all.
The Addams Family (1991)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writers: Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson
Cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman
Eccentricity, treachery, epic Halloween parties, and more eccentricity, The Addams Family is hilarious and sumptuous in its visuals. It follows a peculiar aristocratic family who reconnects with a long-lost relative, who’s actually a fraudster keen on acquiring the family’s massive wealth. As there’s plenty of comedic material you can get from the bizarre, go ahead and indulge in its ludicrous visual gags and one-liners, making The Addams Family even more irresistible.
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Writers: Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Abhijat Joshi
Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla, Sanjay Dutt
Taking a break from Hollywood, let’s discover the richness of cinema from other parts of the globe which brings us to Bollywood. In PK, an alien visits the Earth to conduct research but finds himself stuck after losing his remote to a thief. In his search for it, he meets a heartbroken journalist and builds a friendship with her. Over time, he begins to question religion and superstitions, baffled by its impact to people and their life decisions. The movie blends comedy and philosphy by subtly making fun of religious differences and the hypocrisy it generates. Adding elements of love and friendship – a universal theme that defies man-made boundaries – makes PK even more endearing.
Director: Tim Miller
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand
After an experiment gives him mutant abilities and disfigures his looks, Wade Wilson vows to find the man responsible. With his new superpowers, he becomes a masked vigilante that goes by the name of “Deadpool”. This adaptation fills your senses with violence that feels gratifying at times and partnered with irreverent humor to give you the biggest of laughs. Its unique style, clever screenplay, action scenes, and Reynolds’ performance were all praised, making Deadpool an astounding success despite it being a different kind of a superhero movie.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Writers: Monty Python
Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
A comedy classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail effortlessly persists in its comic charm and wit even decades later after it was released. Gags after gags and jokes after jokes, no matter what era we’re in, Monty Python and the Holy Grail remains a comedic piece of genius. It’s also often cited as one of the greatest comedy films of all time. It follows King Arthur (played by Graham Chapman) and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on a perilous yet low-budget journey in search for the Holy Grail. Warning: Abundance of eye-opening dialogues and fake hoof sounds.
Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Babaloo Mandel, Lowell Ganz
Cast: Steve Martin, Joaquin Phoenix, Martha Plimpton, Dianne Wiest, Keanu Reeves, Mary Steenburgen
Parenthood is not as mundane as it sounds, at least that’s what the struggle is for Gil Buckman. Between work and family, he’s certainly has a lot on his plate. But when he finds out that his eldest son needs therapy for his emotional problems, as well as his two other kids having issues on their own, he starts to doubt his capacities as a father. And with a fourth child on the way, he can only hope for the best. This movie about the realities of parenthood is an honest take on family life. It dissects both the best and worst moments, made genuinely fun by the charming cast and its very relatable humor.
The Other Guys (2010)
Director: Adam McKay,
Writers: Adam McKay,Chris Henchy
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Ray Stevenson, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play Allen and Terry, two lousy NYPD cops who also don’t get much respect from the other officers. Their investigative exploits begin after they’re assigned to look into the dealings of a shady capitalist. Despite their contrasting personalities – Allen being an easygoing forensic accountant and Terry a hot-headed detective – they must set aside their stark differences and turn into detectives that deserve respect and recognition. As a whole, The Other Guys pokes fun at the cop-buddy comedy genre with a clever script, an abundance of of hilarious gags, and notable action sequences.
Late Night (2019)
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Writer: Mindy Kaling
Cast: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, Max Casella, Hugh Dancy, John Lithgow, Amy Ryan
Emma Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, a late-night show host in need of reviving her TV show’s popularity. Failing to do so results in her replacement. As an attempt to thwart her network’s plan of replacing her, she has Indian-American Molly Patel join her writing staff in an attempt to diversify her team. With little background in comedy, she initially finds it hard to catch up. However, she eventually proves her worth by giving ingenious ideas that prove helpful in boosting the show’s ratings. Late Night is another addition to Mindy Kaling’s extensive work in writing. A workplace comedy that’s also timely and relevant, its appeal is further strengthened by its tremendous cast. It also offers a lot of big laughs without the need to offend, making this movie an excellent comedy with a heart.
Role Models (2008)
Director: David Wain
Writers: David Wain, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino
Cast: Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks
To avoid jail time, two energy drink salesmen plead to do community service after committing one too many offenses. As part of the service, they’re specifically assigned to enter a program that pairs children with adult role models. While things go smoothly at first, troubles continue to follow the pair. Role Models sticks to a familiar structure and yet it prevails over its formulaic content simply because it’s hilarious. From the medieval reenactments to Ben Affleck jokes, this film is a sight for sore eyes, comedy-wise.
We’re the Millers (2013)
Director: Rawson M. Thurber
Writers: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Will Poulter
Jason Sudeikis plays David, a drug dealer coerced by his boss to smuggle drugs from Mexico. To avoid detection, he hires a stripper, a thief, and a teenage neighbor to pretend as his family joining him in his trip. However, things don’t go as smoothly as planned. From DEA agent and cartel encounters to having more loads of drugs to transport, the “family” finds themselves in a bit of a pickle. For sure, We’re the Millers effectively delivers in its promise of a great time with a dysfunctional fake family at its center.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Director: Judd Apatow
Writers: Judd Apatow, Steve Carell
Cast: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Catherine Keener, Seth Rogen, Romany Malco
The title gives it away. Steve Carell plays Andy Stitzer, who, despite being in his 40s, has never had sex. Pushing him to finally lose his virginity is his co-workers, but with all their attempts to help him backfiring. The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a great comedy feature that showcases the brialliance of Steve Carell. It’s also the kind of comedy film that ends up giving you warm fuzzies. While it has the impression of a sex comedy film that’s going to be heavily lewd and even crass, you’ll see how it’s actually sweet and endearing despite its occasional crudeness.
The Dictator (2012)
Director: Larry Charles
Writers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, Jason Mantzoukas
Super nasty jokes that are indulgently hilarious it’s embarrassing. The Dictator offers hefty laughs, and while not brilliant or subtle in its humor, is funny nonetheless because it’s too crazy. Perhaps that’s the point of this satire – to be unreasonable and wild in its attempt to convey whatever message the audiences can pick up. It even owns up to its offensiveness that there’s nothing to do but laugh, not take offense. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen in his fourth film as the lead, it follows a savage dictator who travels to the US in order to address the United Nations Security Council.
American Pie (1999)
Director: Paul Weitz
Writer: Adam Herz
Cast: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Seann William Scott, Natasha Lyonne, Eugene Levy, Eddie Kaye Thomas
There’s a lot of jokes and popular culture references today that come from the first American Pie movie alone. This sex comedy about friends vowing to lose their virginity before they graduate high school was released three decades ago, and yet it manages to feel fresh and new in its comedic exploits up to now. Lewd and loud, yes, but American Pie manages to balance the film’s atmosphere with the quality of being adorable.
Anything in the list that catches your attention? There’s plenty to choose from and the featured titles above are also lauded by critics and audiences alike so you know they’ll be worth your while. Comedy offerings are already entertaining, well-made, topnotch comedy movies even more so. From family comedies to teen films to the classics of the previous decades, these 20 best comedy movies on Netflix will sure give you a bundle of laughs.