My parents didn’t show me the classics growing up. They showed me the weird ’80s comedies they loved when they were in their 20s. I watched “Raising Arizona” and “The Princess Bride” and “This Is Spinal Tap” too many times to count when I was younger. And I understood these not to be capital-S Serious films. I understood them to be good. And fucking hilarious.
The tough thing about any discussion of the topic is that comedy is much more subjective than drama. If someone dies or loses their job, that’s objectively sad. If someone falls down a flight of stairs, hey, that might be pretty funny. The films that occupy the top slots of our list are successful precisely because their comedic reach is so wide-ranging. “Superbad,” “21 Jump Street,” “Anchorman” and “Bridesmaids” are all part-slapstick, part-screwball and all-funny. In “Wet Hot American Summer,” every scene seems to try to appease a different sense of humor. “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Frances Ha” each occupy a space on the “quirky” shelf, and were impressionable enough on a core group of loyalists to earn a high enough space on the list.
The films that follow, our ranking of the best comedy films since 2000, all occupied some real estate in the cultural zeitgeist at the time when we were in the target demographic. Some have been cherished since childhood, some were new discoveries. All are hilarious.
— Daniel Hensel, Daily Film Editor
“Mistress America” will always get short shrift. The Noah Baumbach-directed, Greta Gerwig-cowritten-and-starring film will forever be regarded as a second-rate collaboration, after 2012’s “Frances Ha.” But for my money, “Mistress America” is funny where “Frances Ha” is melancholic, and its third act, perhaps the closest our generation will get to the manic screwball comedies of the late 1930s, is a knockout. Gerwig’s uncontrollable Brooke is hilarious: she dreams of opening a combination-haircut-and-restaurant spot and boasts of her interior decoration skills (“You know the Bowery Hotel? Well, if you walk about block south, there’s a laser hair removal center that’s very hip. I did the waiting room.”), and Lola Kirke’s initially naïve Tracy, Brooke’s soon-to-be step-sister and co-New Yorker, is the perfect lens through which to experience her antics.
— Daniel Hensel
In a story about a teenage pregnancy, “Juno” avoids the melodrama and instead amps up the laughs. When Ellen Page’s tough Juno MacGuff discovers she is three months pregnant, she looks for a couple in the Pennysaver to adopt the unborn baby. Meanwhile, the father of the baby — an awkward Michael Cera as Paulie Bleeker — spends his days running with an ever-present gold headband. The characters each have a distinct weirdness that is amusing to watch. Plus the soundtrack adds both heart and humor to the film with stripped-down instrumentals and candid lyrics. “Juno” proves that with a clever script and strong acting, a comedy can be both funny and heartwarming.
— Meghan Chou
There aren’t many movies that etched themselves in the public consciousness as quickly and completely as “Mean Girls” did. Its influence has reverberated through every raunchy teen comedy since 2004 and every TV show on the CW. It’s a staple of slumber parties and of endless Buzzfeed quizzes and listicles, saturating the culture with its quotes and references. All the years of “Mean Girls” worship have left us with some inevitable backlash, but make no mistake: “Mean Girls” is a classic for a reason. Every knockoff only confirms the vitality of the original. Every joke is precise and every musical cue careful, and the result is a movie that is razor sharp from start to finish. Because under the endless quotable quips, under the cutaway gags that made Tina Fey famous, under all the lip-gloss and bitchiness, there’s a real story about the war-zone that is high school relationships. There’s a reason we keep coming back to “Mean Girls,” sleepover after sleepover, October 3rd after October 3rd: it’s funny because it’s true.
— Asif Becher
Elle Woods is an icon equaled by few others (if any) on this list. She was, in many ways, the first mainstream character who taught us that Prada is not at odds with progress. Which, for all the Teen Vogue fiends of the pre-woke Teen Vogue era, was a very important lesson to learn.
Another movie that is extremely high on the re-watchability scale, “Legally Blonde” helped write the cultural dictionary of the aughts. It’s charming and cheeky and packed with more canonical one-liners than any other movie starring a Harvard law student ever. Not to mention, Reese Witherspoon is a national treasure. In every movie, but here especially, she shines. If that wasn’t enough, the cast also boasts ’90s dream queen Selma Blair and the tragically underutilized Luke Wilson is a dream as her love interest. It’s pink and perfect and anything you could want from a legal, semi-coming-of-age, girl power, romantic, Ivy League comedy. And it confirmed—once and for all—that “dress-up party” means Halloween costumes.
— Madeleine Gaudin
After the release of “21 Jump Street,” a crime comedy that rebooted the classic Johnny Depp-led television series, paid loving homage to cheesy ’80s crime flicks and pole-vaulted the careers Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum to the stratosphere in one fell swoop, a sequel seemed silly. Phil Lord and Chris Miller seemed to agree and crafted an unnecessary sequel that makes fun of unnecessary sequels. It’s hard to pick the funniest scene on display, though Captain Dickson’s reaction to his daughter’s dating life and the genius end credits are hard to beat.
— Jeremiah Vanderhelm
When it first came out, before the repetitive sequels and pale imitations, “The Hangover” was an event. Movie theaters took on never before seen levels of scrutiny to prevent underage teenagers from sneaking into the movie, parents tried desperately to prevent their kids from watching it online, and ushering in a whole new age of uber-raunchy comedies. From the jaguar in the bathroom to the proclamation that “Indiana Jones has one!” the film’s has ingrained itself in the collective consciousness of America, giving rise to a new generation of debauched alcohol worshippers who hail the gang from this movie as heroes.
— Ian Harris
Why the Coen brothers’ masterful comedy loosely based on Homer’s “The Odyssey” isn’t ranked higher on this list is beyond me. Featuring an all-star cast of George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, it follows the misadventures of Ulysses Everett McGill as he attempts to win back his former love Penny (Holly Hunter). In parts both funny and moving, the Coens subtly weave societal commentary into this artsy film that was also partially responsible for the 2000s craze of sepia tones and folk music.
— Ian Harris
“The Kings of Summer” is one of those obscure indie films that is so smartly written and captivating that you can watch it a million times and still want more. The film, about three boys who run away from home and build a house in the forest, is an artistic and nostalgic coming-of-age story that is bitingly precocious but stronger for it. A current of nuanced hilarity runs through the entire film, bubbling with performances from Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Moises Arias, among other comedy icons. Here, tensions are channeled through Monopoly and manhood is challenged by the call of the wild.
— Sydney Cohen
Among some of The Lonely Island’s most notable works include “I’m on a Boat,” “I Just Had Sex” and my personal favorite, “Natalie’s Rap.” However, the famous comedy trio composed of “Saturday Night Live” alums Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer go beyond entertaining songs with weird music videos; they have also made several full-length, full-hilarious films. Before there was the brilliance of “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” there was “Hot Rod.” “Hot Rod” follows Samberg’s Rod Kimble, an amateur stuntman, as he and his team composed of Taccone’s Kevin, Bill Hader’s Dave and Danny McBride’s Rico, attempt his biggest stunt yet in order to raise money for his harsh step-father’s (Ian McShane) surgery and earn his respect in the process.
— Becky Portman
We take Edgar Wright for granted. But in the process of becoming the household name he is today, he directed the “Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy.” “Hot Fuzz,” the second of them, is an action-packed gem. Simon Pegg stars as the talented and competent Nicholas Angel, who was reassigned to the quaint village of Sandford, a place where nothing bad ever happens. His partner Danny Butterman is a stumbling, idiotic foil to Angel’s composed presence, and the result is hysterical. “Hot Fuzz” packs classic British humor and past-paced sequences into two hours, standing out as a crowning achievement for Wright and his regular collaborators.
— Will Stewart
Wes Anderson’s cult favorite family drama is laced with a brand of comedy that’s subtle, effective and — like everything else Anderson touches — quirky. “The Royal Tenenbaums” tells the story of the talented, rich and dysfunctional Tenenbaum family as they reunite after years of estrangement. Anderson’s comedic timing accounts for much of the film’s humor, which never makes a big deal of itself. The film’s comedic element isn’t so much laugh-out-loud as it is “funny because it’s true”; the Tenenbaums are funny because despite being decidedly unordinary, we see bits and pieces of ourselves in their escapades.
— Max Michalsky
The first of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy finds the writer-director crafting a “zom-rom-com” that perfectly combines the horror of a zombie apocalypse with the hilarity of watching two slackers try to make their way to their favorite pub to survive the undead horde. Led by Wright stalwarts Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, “Shaun of the Dead” is a showcase of both Wright’s knowledge of classic horror cinema and talent as a director — the bar brawl scored to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” is as perfectly paced as fight scenes come.
— Jeremiah Vanderhelm
“Everybody Wants Some!!” had big shoes to fill. Deemed the spiritual sequel of Richard Linklater’s 1993 masterpiece “Dazed and Confused,” the college hangout flick follows a similar pace and style. Ultimately, it lives up to its predecessor’s brilliance. Set in 1980 at a Texas university, “Everybody Wants Some!!” follows college freshman and baseball pitcher Jake, played by newcomer Blake Jenner, in the weekend before classes begin. His housemates and teammates, all having enough confidence to make up for their lack of brains, introduce him to the perks of college. Like any good Linklater film, “Everybody Wants Some!!” lacks a traditional plot in favor of abundant dialogue and character development. Jake’s romance with Zoey Deutch’s Beverly produces some heartwarming moments, and his nights out with the team make college look like a never-ending party. “Everybody Wants Some!!” strikes the perfect balance between brains and sheer fun. For Linklater, it’s another stellar hangout movie to add to his growing list.
— Will Stewart
Without question Sacha Baron Cohen’s greatest film, this 2006 masterpiece follows the adventures of Borat Sagdiyev as he travels across America. Similarly to Cohen’s “Brüno,” the Borat character made the leap to the big screen from Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show” bringing with him all of the irreverence and social commentary that made the television series so great. The film features a loose storyline revolving around Borat’s quest for Pamela Anderson, but it mostly consists of various gags and pranks masterminded by Cohen as Borat that range wildly but are all hilarious and more-than-slightly off-color. The comedy works on multiple levels and social commentary cuts surprisingly deep, revealing the depths of the racism and bias that so many Americans hold against people who are different from them.
— Ian Harris
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is an example of the brilliant and acute deadpan humor of comedy expert Taika Waititi. The film centers around orphan Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a young, chubby, Tupac-loving wannabe adventurer, as he tromps around the New Zealand bush with foster father Hec (Sam Neill). Complete with squealing wild hogs, crass haikus, and erotic chocolate commercials, the film is a charmingly campy without being contrived. Waititi combines moments of touching human emotion with bizarre hilarity that sets this film apart from anything else.
— Sydney Cohen
At the center of Christopher Guest’s mockumentary masterpiece is a dog show, a collection of hyper-competitive, mostly delusional freaks that parade their dogs as they parade their insecurities and anxieties on display. Guest’s repertory cast has never been better, between their fully fleshed characters and stunning line deliveries (“Rhapsody has two mommies” is a highlight). There to help us through is Fred Willard’s off-color commentary and Jim Piddock’s stunned reactions.
— Daniel Hensel
When the parents of two men-children, Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly), fall in love and decide to cohabitate, these two step-brothers aim to make each other’s living experiences hell until they realize they’re actually extremely similar. Seeing these two comedians act like immature babies provides for the most ridiculous comedic experience. The entire dialogue is fit for a crass teenage boy’s fantasy, which doesn’t mean that it’s not perfection. Slogans like “boats and hoes” from the brothers’ “Prestige World Wide” video and “The Catalina Wine Mixer” are undeniably a huge part of American pop culture because of this movie.
— Sophia White
High on the list of privileges that come with living in the 21st century — between cellphones and the polio vaccine — is Greta Gerwig, and more specifically: Greta Gerwig in “Frances Ha.” Noah Baumbach’s (Gerwig’s frequent collaborator and life partner) 2012 film is a masterpiece of mumblecore, at once poetically quiet and laugh-out-loud funny.
So much of the film’s humor comes from its honesty. Baumbach leans in fully to the absurdity of bumbling millennial existentialism. The plot combines Frances’s pain and loneliness with the inescapable weight of growing up, and Gerwig fills her Frances with an intoxicating energy. The dissonance of Frances’s life and her outlook on it create the most magical, earnest kind of comedy.
It’s the perfect movie to watch a thousand times (like I have). It’s a comedy because it’s sharply funny but also because, bubbling beneath its surface, there’s intoxicating joy. I can’t help but laugh as Frances dances down the street to “Modern Love” because it’s simply perfect.
— Madeleine Gaudin
A few years from now, when you’re sitting on your couch, surfing through channels until you finally land on a censored rerun of “The Nice Guys” on TNT, you’re going to be pissed. You’re going to be pissed because, one, they censored a Shane Black movie that boasts, perhaps, the most Shane-Black script of all the Shane-Black scripts, and, two, this movie is too incredibly good to be doomed to TNT purgatory alongside “Shanghai Knights” and “The Bourne Supremacy.” It's a shame it bombed at the box office, because it’s been a while since I’ve had such a great time in a movie theater. “The Nice Guys” is one of the most ridiculously entertaining movies I’ve ever seen, and that’s not just recency bias speaking. It’s tailor-made for my tastes, of course (it’s a ’70s detective noir with a decade’s worth of dialogue and a charmingly precocious child actor) but what I love most is that, in 2016, the movie didn’t try to be a send-up, or an exploration, or a satire, of some sort, of the buddy cop genre; it simply was a buddy cop comedy, and an extremely good one at that. Oh, and if you’re still not convinced, how about this? Ryan Gosling shouldn’t have been nominated for Best Actor for “La La Land.” It should have been for “The Nice Guys.” His performance here is one of the great pieces of comedic acting of our time, in both physical presence and impeccable line delivery. Put the man in more comedies, please.
— Nabeel Chollampat
“Little Miss Sunshine” nails the comedic dynamics of a dysfunctional family. As the Hoovers travel from New Mexico to California for a pre-teen beauty pageant, they overcome failure, death and other revelations before realizing they need one another for support — all presented with side-splitting humor. Steve Carell as Uncle Frank and Alan Arkin as Grandpa Edwin add funk to the nuclear family, which already features a killer cast. There’s the beauty-queen-wannabe Olive (Abigail Breslin), silent big brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), high-strung father Richard (Greg Kinnear) and levelheaded mother Sheryl (Toni Collette). Through its satire of road trips, beauty pageants and family interactions as well as the natural repartee of its ensemble, “Little Miss Sunshine” delivers a charmingly funny movie for the ages.
— Meghan Chou
“Wet Hot American Summer” takes place on the last day at Camp Firewood and gives “campy” a whole new meaning. Anyone who went to summer camp can relate to this film on a spiritual level, from the mess hall scenes to the last night of camp depression to the careless lifeguards. The year is 1981 and the tube socks are hotter than ever. The film centers on a group of counselors trying to make the most of their summer before they go back to the real world. The comedy stars young versions of legends (but not young enough to be remotely close to the age they’re playing), like Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper. “Wet Hot” is full of shenanigans, from a very dirty, talking can of veggies with the booming voice of H. Jon Benjamin, to a hike gone wrong to a not-so-innocent visit to town to the best damn talent show Camp Firewood has ever seen.
Michael Showalter writes and stars with help from co-writer and director, David Wain. The film is a satire of sex comedies aimed at teens around the time the film is based on. Now seen as a cult classic, the film was actually a commercial failure when in was released in 2001. Despite the unfortunate overabundance of reboots (editors’ note: the Netflix prequel and sequel series are incredible, mostly because they both feature the most needlessly excellent Chris Pine performance you never knew you needed), “Wet Hot American Summer” will stand the test of time as the best summer comedy of our generation.
— Becky Portman
Like everyone, I laughed at the mere idea of “The Lego Movie” before unabashedly falling in love with the final product. It’s clearly a labor of love on the part of everyone involved, from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who imbue every scene with the madcap humor that is their trademark, down through the animators who perfectly construct a living, breathing world in the style of the LEGO building blocks. Nearly every frame is filled with such a wealth of visual gags that the movie not only holds up on repeat viewings, it actually improves.
But as with all the best comedies, it’s the characters that make it something special. Chris Pratt leads a cast that includes Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman, and Elizabeth Banks. It’s an ensemble to end all ensembles, but everyone gets at least one moment to shine. Still, it’s Will Arnett’s take on Batman who steals the show with a loving yet hilarious satire of the more grim-dark aspects of the character. The end message of self-acceptance is perfectly delivered and it’s a testament to the sheer amount of heart on display that I always find myself tearing up at the climactic speech. With a movie this brilliant, the genius twist and killer soundtrack are just icing on the cake.
— Jeremiah Vanderhelm
“What We Do in the Shadows” is one of the most hilarious, brilliant and imaginative comedies I have ever seen. Trailblazing the genre of vampire mockumentaries, the film follows four vampire roommates in their daily routine around modern day New Zealand. The main trio includes the adorably charming 18th century dandy Viago (Taika Waititi), the smarmy but harmless Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) and the resident bad boy Deacon (Jonny Brugh). The power of this film comes from its charismatic deadpan humor, as the vampires squabble over household chores, cruise the clubs for women and antagonize the local band of werewolves. With every detail, from the gang’s ruffled peasant blouses to the horrifying Nosferatu in the basement (Ben Fransham), the film explores the concept of ancient vampires interacting with the modern world with sharp and casual hilarity. Medieval art of bloodsucking demons is overlaid against the housemates’ testimony on the struggles of modern technology and picking up women.
Co-written, co-directed by and co-starring Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, “What We Do in the Shadows” is a quintessential example of the characteristic dopey and acute wit of its creators that makes it an instant cult classic. This movie is one that can be watched over and over again, with new jokes and quotes discovered with each viewing. With its seamless production design and nontraditional camera work, “What We Do in the Shadows” expertly redefines the look and feel of parody.
— Sydney Cohen
It is rare to find a film that captures the cringe-worthy awkwardness of high school as well as “Napoleon Dynamite.” The sometimes uncomfortable, always hilarious comedy centers on quiet, oddball teenager Napoleon, played with expert subtlety by the equally awkward Jon Heder. Everything about this film makes sense in a way that no one can really understand, but that is the best part. Napoleon is visibly uncomfortable, as are nearly all of his interactions, which make the comedy one 92-minute long awkward silence. Napoleon is just trying to get through high school in his tiny, Western farm-town while drawing some freakin’ sweet ligers and working on his nunchuck skills. “Napoleon Dynamite” is one of the most quotable films of all time because it is just so freakin’ awesome and gosh, every line just rules.
Aside from killer dance moves, sweet kicks and a sassy llama named Tina, Napoleon also has a ridiculously precise set of taste buds when it comes to dairy products. Every character in this film is uniquely uncomfortable in their skin, from lanyard-selling, scrunchie-wearing, headshot-shooting Deb (Tina Majorino) to red-meat-eating, could’ve-gone-to-state, door-to-door-salesman, time-traveling Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) to mustache-growing, wig-wearing, presidential Pedro (Efren Ramirez) to babe-seducing, Lafawnduh-loving, chain-rocking, Kip (Aaron Ruell). “Napoleon Dynamite” is as hysterical as it is painful, the truest testament to a good comedy. If this film makes you cringe and squirm, you are doing it right. “Napoleon Dynamite” will make all of your wildest dreams come true.
— Becky Portman
How does a movie that tells the story of Eastern Europe’s descent into World War II and the Holocaust land so high on a list of comedies? First of all, the morose and depressing has never avoided the comedy spotlight — just watch Stanley Kubrick’s pitch-black “Dr. Strangelove.” But more importantly, when writer-director Wes Anderson was penning his ode to the writings of Stefan Zweig, he didn’t forget to be funny. Anderson’s deadpan whimsy isn’t for everyone, and his persistent aesthetic is somehow displeasing to some, but his sense of humor is undeniable.
Never do we get answer for why Harvey Keitel’s very thick Brooklyn accent ended up in a 1930s Zubrowkian prison. Nor do we get an answer for why Adrien Brody’s three sisters think with one mind and with their all-black everything seem to be transported through time and space from Jack Kerouac’s beat friends. We do receive an answer to Jeff Goldblum’s question, “Did you just throw my cat out the window?,” which he asks almost to the ether of banal and greedy evil: a harshly non-responsive (and hilariously so) Willem Dafoe. The famously exacting Anderson finds his timing and rhythm pay off when, upon being accused for murder, Ralph Fiennes’s Gustave H., a famed concierge, waits a beat before running away.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a balance of manic screwball comedy and technical bravura that, in contrast to many of its contemporaries, feels timeless and arty without losing any laughs. “There are faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity,” Gustave H. says to his pupil, Zero. To paraphrase, indeed, that’s what Wes Anderson’s sense of comedy provides in our modest, humble, insignificant… oh, fuck it. Let’s hope he writes a hundred more.
— Daniel Hensel
“Bridesmaids” gets a lot of attention for being fronted by women, an anomaly in the overwhelmingly male world of comedy. It gets called a “women’s movie” a lot. Its promo poster was emblazoned with a giant pull-quote from a critic’s review that said, “CHICK FLICKS DON’T HAVE TO SUCK.” In 2011, at its first release, and even now, we tend to judge “Bridesmaids” against assumptions we have about movies made by and for women, but rarely on its own merits. This is pretty baffling, because “Bridesmaids” is a great movie, period. No qualifiers, no asterisks, no gendered filters. It’s brilliant, an unquestionable work of comic genius. The ensemble comes together perfectly, their chemistry nearly bouncing off the walls with a manic energy that pulses through every moment of the film.
“Bridesmaids” is so many things: a wild and raucous cringe-fest, a condemnation of the recession-era economy, a story of a friendship that feels human, fallible and real. But all that stuff is just extra. Because “Bridesmaids” does the one thing that every comedy should do: it makes you laugh. Not any ordinary chuckles either — we’re talking the best kind of belly-laughs, the ones that leave you clutching your stomach, a warm feeling settling over you long after the credits roll. So I guess the critics were right, in their way. It doesn’t suck.
— Asif Becher
In “Anchorman” Will Ferrell plays the eponymous Ron Burgundy, San Diego’s womanizing, narcissistic and much-beloved news anchor whose world is shaken when he must share the news desk with a woman. While the film is no stranger to slapstick, “low-brow” humor, it also offers surprisingly sharp-edged satire of the culture of the ’70s and news broadcasting, taking shots at the lack of journalistic integrity in local news. When told he must “follow leads, confirm sources”, Burgundy replies, “Great. Right on. Now what’s a lead?”
One of the funniest elements of the film is Ferrell’s performance as Ron Burgundy, who will read ANYTHING on the teleprompter, has been known to brag of his “many important leatherbound books” and also plays a mean jazz flute. While the comedic writing is fantastic, it’s Ferrell’s delivery that makes “Anchorman” one of the most quotable films of all-time; featuring one-liners such as “I’m in a glass case of emotion!,” “Knights of Columbus, that hurt!” and “I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship used during the Civil War era.”
Ferrell aside, each of Channel 4’s anchors has a unique brand of ridiculousness and a comedic rapport between the cast that makes their interactions gut-bustingly hilarious. In one scene, Ron tries to explain to the rest of the newsteam what love is with a brief musical rendition of “Afternoon Delight”, leading a confused Brick Tamland to declare “I love lamp.”
— Max Michalsky
There are few comedies that live as inconspicuously in the cultural subconscious of my generation as “School of Rock.” Everyone knows that, “you’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore,” but it’s easy to lose Richard Linklater’s 2003 comedic masterpiece amid the avalanche of “Mean Girls” and “Superbad” references that dominate nostalgic comedy callbacks of the early 2000s.
“School of Rock” has a special kind of staying power: the evergreen magic of music. With a cast composed almost entirely newcomer child stars — including future Nickelodeon queen Miranda Cosgrove’s first film appearance — it’s unexpectedly wholesome in comparison to its neighbors at this end of the list. But, boasting the greatest performance Jack Black’s career and a truly iconic soundtrack, “School of Rock” more than earns its place.
Jack Black as Dewey embodies the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, and the absurdity that comes with believing something as rebellious has rules. He’s an earnest and endearing man-child: No small feat for Black to pull off.
In terms of re-watchability, one of the premiere tasks of any great comedy, “School of Rock” excels. It does so because it falls into the rare — at least in this century — genre of joy comedy. It’s a movie that makes you laugh because the characters are laughing, not in spite of them. Few comedies can pull off “School of Rock”’s feel-good ending without losing any of their cool-factor.
— Madeleine Gaudin
If the premise of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill being sent back to high school as undercover narcs wasn’t humorous enough to you, don’t worry — there’s more to see in “21 Jump Street.” So essentially these two incompetent bike cops, Greg Jenko (Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Hill) are directed by their boss, Captain Dickson, played by Ice Cube, to infiltrate the high school drug ring and arrest its leader. The drug, of course, is named HFS (Holy Fucking Shit).
Highlights include when Dave Franco’s character suspects that they may be cops, Jenko and Hill take HFS to hide their cover and what ensues is one of the most absurd and notable drug trips on screen. They enter phases from “The Giggs” to “Tripping Major Ballsack,” as they imagine their gym teacher as a talking ice cream cone. Channing Tatum thinks he’s a major science whiz during the “Over Falsity of Confidence” phase, but really he writes the number “4” all over the whiteboard and proceeds to drop his mic (a dry erase marker) and exit.
Ellie Kemper plays a highly inappropriate chemistry teacher who tries to jump Jenko’s bones at any opportunity she can and Johnny Depp, who starred in the original television series on which the film is based, makes a cameo at the end of the film. Clearly people loved the film enough to cause its sequel, “22 Jump Street” to be produced too.
— Sophia White
“I am McLovin.” These three words never fail to bring tears to my eyes. “Superbad” ’s infinite quotability and replay value make it the obvious frontrunner for best high school comedy since “Dazed and Confused,” and arguably the best of all time.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s semi-autobiographical movie about two hormonal 18-year-olds desperate to lose their virginities before college is everything a high school movie should be. It’s more than just a series of dick (drawing) and sex jokes. What makes “Superbad” the leader among high school comedies — quite the hit-or-miss genre — is its heart.
Jonah Hill and Michael Cera’s performances as Seth and Evan, named after Rogen and Goldberg themselves, transcend typical high school comedy tropes. They’re pathetic, yet relatable, with a friendship so endearing and reminiscent of the simpler times in all of our lives. One post-drunken conversation after a failed night out shines the most. As the two talk about their futures, they reveal their brotherly love for one another. It’s a moment we’ve all had, realizing the importance of our high school best friend: This is the person who shaped us the most, the one friend you could always count on. For Evan and Seth, their friendship alone pushed each other through the pains of high school. “Superbad” isn’t afraid to ponder over this tender reality.
The movie captures every aspect of being an awkward high school senior perfectly. The dialogue, abundant with jabs and one-liners, is damn close to what actual conversations between post-pubescent teens sound like. Whether or not you were a nerd like Seth and Evan or captain of the football team, “Superbad” is nostalgic.
Thanks to the Midas touch of producer Judd Apatow, the movie acted as a launching point for Hill and Emma Stone. The 2000s, at least in terms of comedy, belonged to Apatow. “Superbad” solidified his well-deserved status as a comedic giant.
— Will Stewart