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Hidden Comedy Gems Of 2023 You'll Regret Missing

2023 has been a great year in film already, with plenty of box office records being broken and top-name franchises dominating theaters. The "Barbenheimer" campaign has been especially noteworthy, pitting Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" against Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" — with the latter crossing the $1 billion mark, and the unexpected pairing reigniting the passion for moviegoing. Returning franchises like "Creed," "Scream," and "John Wick" have proved popular, and "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" finally beat the video game adaptation curse to become the highest-grossing movie of the year so far. 

One of the unfortunate side effects of bigger franchises getting a lot of attention from outlets and audiences is that there are inevitably some great films that fall through the cracks. Comedies — out of all the genres — have perhaps been most overlooked in 2023. Although there aren't as many straight-up comedies these days — with many going down the "dramedy" route — 2023 has had more than a few great comedies that have been eclipsed by bigger releases. Read on to discover the great hidden gem comedies that have hit theaters and streaming in 2023 that you won't want to miss.

Theater Camp

Calling all theater kids, there's an under-the-radar comedy that perfectly taps into the summer theater camp experience. "Theater Camp" takes viewers to AdirondACTS — a theater camp on the verge of bankruptcy — where the eccentric counselors and kids put on wild new shows to keep themselves afloat. Led by the talented Molly Gordon and Ben Platt, "Theater Camp" is a hilarious look at the fun and drama of a chaotic theater camp that is filled with endless laughs. Its mockumentary style also creates a great immersive experience, and the boisterous personalities on display clash and come together in amusing ways. 

Despite its strong debut at the Sundance Film Festival, "Theater Camp" was shut out by the release of "Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One." However, the film has earned incredible acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Los Angeles Times critic Katie Walsh called it, "a fine-cut comedic gem engineered with a distinct sensibility and the chops to become a beloved camp classic." 

Whether you're a current or former theater kid looking for a relatable and nostalgic story on the big screen or someone just wanting to enjoy some summer camp chaos, "Theater Camp" is a comedy no one should miss.

The Blackening

If you're after a horror satire with "Scary Movie" vibes, then look no further than "The Blackening." The film sees a group of college friends head to a remote cabin for a reunion. However, the festivities are upended by the arrival of a serial killer who looks to test their "Blackness" with a twisted game. "The Blackening" was loved by critics and those who went to see it for its pitch-perfect comedic satire. The film features plenty of jabs toward Black representation in horror and pop culture — or lack thereof — and brings together an ensemble cast that'll have you in stitches with their excellent chemistry. 

The cast and social commentary were some of the highlights in Deadline's review, with Valerie Complex even calling the film one of the best comedies of the year. Complex wrote, "The combined and balanced elements of comedy, horror, and insightful social commentary will have folks talking about the film long after it's over." Even though "The Blackening" was well-received, it was completely eclipsed by releases such as "The Flash" and "Elemental." Still, "The Blackening" is a horror-comedy worth seeking out, and it may well be one that gains the audience it deserves as more people discover it.

We Have a Ghost

Streaming offerings can often be lost in the sheer volume of new releases, and one of Netflix's original films of 2023 should've been one of the most beloved horror comedies of the year. "We Have a Ghost" shows some real "Casper" inspiration in its story of a teen named Kevin (Jahi Di'Allo Winston), who befriends a ghost named Ernest (David Harbour) who lives in the new house his family just moved into. Together, Kevin and Ernest become a viral sensation and the duo embark on an adventure to understand how Ernest died. "We Have a Ghost" has the nostalgic vibes of a classic '90s Amblin film but with modern flair, and strong performances that come with genuine, heartfelt emotion. Harbour's performance is the standout, and the mix of comedy and horror makes "We Have a Ghost" a great genre-blender. 

Although critics had a lukewarm response to "We Have a Ghost," audiences really got behind it and it had a top spot in Netflix's top 10 when it was released. However, the film has struggled to pull in new watchers and has since faded into Netflix's vast library — a shame considering it is helmed by "Happy Death Day" director Christopher Landon. There's no better time for Netflix subscribers to check out this true hidden gem.


While "Dracula" adaptations have been done to death by this point, director Chris McKay unleashed a refreshingly bloody and hilarious take with "Renfield". The film follows the titular henchman — played by Nicholas Hoult — as he attempts to break away from doing the bidding of his cruel master, Count Dracula (Nicolas Cage). Through the central themes of toxic relationships and self-empowerment, the film presents a great mix of gory horror-action and hilarious comedic performances. Cage delivers one of the funniest and most entertaining Dracula performances of all time and the wild, unruly nature of the film will have viewers clutching their sides as the tension rises between Renfield and Dracula. 

Even though "Renfield" has a lot going for it, and should have been a total crowd-pleaser, it bombed at the box office. Many felt it didn't differentiate itself enough from other "Dracula" adaptations in its marketing. Plus it was caught in the shadows of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," meaning that "Renfield" faced an uphill struggle to draw an audience. However, it did receive some praise from fans and reviewers including Collider's Maggie Boccella who called it "a perfect watch for any vampire fan looking to sink their teeth into something new."

Polite Society

It's not a surprise to see an indie favorite fall victim to bigger releases, but it is a shame that it happened to something as good as "Polite Society." The film follows aspiring martial artist Ria (Priya Kansara) as she attempts to save her sister from her upcoming wedding, believing that her sister's in-laws have nefarious motives. "Polite Society" is an action-comedy that thrives in the charm of its performance — especially Kansara in a breakout role — and its unique style of dazzling action. Despite "Polite Society" being a resounding hit following its Sundance premiere, it struggled to maintain momentum heading into its release. 

It was given a late-April release date when moviegoers were preparing for the strong summer slate. "Polite Society" didn't even have the opportunity for strong word-of-mouth, with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" taking the world by storm a week later. However, the scores speak for themselves with strong audience and critic ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and those looking for a fun action-comedy should put "Polite Society" on their watchlist.

Joy Ride

"Joy Ride" — the directorial debut of Adele Lim — was set to be one of the best comedies of the summer, but audiences ended up sleeping on it. The film follows four young women as their trip into Asia continually takes wrong turns, forcing them to go on a raunchy adventure leading to self-discoveries and unexpected growth. If you're a fan of road trip movies or sex comedies, then "Joy Ride" will be right up your street, as the group encounters plenty of strange characters and sexually charged antics. 

Before it hit theaters, there was a lot of buzz around "Joy Ride." Critics loved it with Empire's Iana Murray saying, "Lim's film faithfully fits the template of "Bridesmaids" and the like, but it establishes its own identity by filtering insightful commentary through refreshingly crude humor." Unfortunately, "Joy Ride" got sandwiched between blockbusters "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" and "Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One," but it is a raunchy delight that no one should sleep on. 

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

You'd be forgiven for not realizing that director Guy Ritchie released a new film in 2023, as "Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre" arrived with little fanfare. Jason Statham stars as the titular Fortune, a highly skilled operative who leads his new team on a dangerous mission to stop a potential world-ending plan. With "Operation Fortune," Ritchie's trademark comedic back-and-forth dialogue is delivered flawlessly by the talented cast, resulting in a consistently entertaining spy flick. The pairing of Statham and Aubrey Plaza is a treat, and Hugh Grant and Cary Elwes are total scene-stealers.  

Unfortunately, the film's release and marketing were a total mess. Not only did it suffer multiple delays, but it was also forced to share its opening weekend with the vastly more anticipated "Creed 3." Critics were divided in their opinions of "Operation Fortune" but moviegoers who did see it seemed to enjoy it. "Operation Fortune" remains a hidden gem that seems to be a growing favorite from this year, and if you're looking for a fun star-studded spy comedy, it is definitely worth a look.

Showing Up

A24's movies will always be hotly anticipated by cinephiles, and 2023 saw big releases including "Beau is Afraid" and "Talk to Me." However, one of their best films from 2023 got totally overlooked. "Showing Up" is the latest film from director Kelly Reichardt and it sees her reteam with Michelle Williams for a tale about artists and their yearning for personal accomplishment. Viewers will consistently laugh at the simple but chaotic nature of the competitive artist world and the eccentric personalities seen throughout — especially fellow artists Lizzy (Williams) and Jo (Hong Chau).  

Despite "Showing Up" being another critical darling in Reichardt's filmography and another great performance from Williams, it was released alongside a box office titan: "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." "Showing Up" was simply another casualty of that movie's legendary box office run, and the abstract indie flick couldn't compete with the colorful crowd-pleaser. However, with strong performances and a unique premise, this comedy is still one that is worth "Showing Up" for.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Judy Blume's iconic 1970 novel "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" finally got a big screen adaptation and didn't get nearly as much love and attention as it deserved. The film is a coming-of-age story following Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) – a young girl dealing with the pressures of puberty, moving to the suburbs, and a personal identity crisis. Fortson leads the film with a breakout performance that drives the emotion and hilarity of her story. With Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates alongside Fortson, the film features multi-generational female talents that add unique and comical perspectives to growing up as women. 

Like "Polite Society," it was a major hit with critics and fans that went to see it. In Empire's review, Beth Webb wrote, "Margaret's world may be small, but through Fremon Craig's faithful adaptation, her journey through it leaves a mighty impact." Unfortunately, it came out on the same weekend as "Polite Society" and suffered the same fate — ultimately eclipsed by "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" a week later. "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" is a required watch though — for both its comedic nostalgia and important perspective. 


Most audiences probably weren't even aware that a biopic on the rise and fall of the BlackBerry hit theaters this year or that it was very, very good. "BlackBerry" tells the story of the technology company — credited by many as the creators of the first smartphone — that rose to unimaginable feats of success before crumbling at the hands of Silicon Valley. Led by two phenomenally funny performances from Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton, the film delivers a great mix of humor through its wild personality clashes and the stranger-than-fiction nature of its true story. Given that the film has also received immense praise, it's easy to see why it is one of the best films of the year. 

Unfortunately, the marketing for "BlackBerry" was minimal and it didn't get in front of enough eyes to make a huge impact. Like so many other hidden gems, it was also caught between two huge releases, in this case, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" and "Fast X." However, "BlackBerry" boasts all the talent, intriguing ties to a pivotal era in technology, and comedic chops to be a captivating watch for audiences. 


Even though "Biosphere" features two talented leads, most probably don't even know this film exists. The film sees Mark Duplass and Sterling K. Brown play two childhood friends living in a survival pod together after an apocalyptic event causes most of humanity to be wiped out. Duplass and Brown are an unexpected pairing that'll totally capture your heart with their great comedic chemistry and their ability to add some tender humor to a bleak situation. These two evoke all the right feels of a great buddy comedy and deliver lead performances that audiences will love. 

Like "Joy Ride," "Biosphere" was released alongside "Insidious: The Red Door" and it struggled to compete before being completely eclipsed by the bigger summer releases that followed. However, "Biosphere" is a film well worth your time, particularly if you're looking for a unique buddy comedy that features some top-notch chemistry from its two leads.

No Hard Feelings

Although it had a prime summer release on a weekend without much competition, most audiences ended up skipping the Jennifer Lawrence-led comedy "No Hard Feelings." In the film, Lawrence plays Maddie, a woman down on her luck who tries to turn things around by accepting an offer from wealthy parents to sleep with their socially awkward son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman). With an incredibly talented performer like Lawrence in the lead, "No Hard Feelings" holds nothing back in delivering hilarious adult-centric humor and gut-busting sex comedy antics. Lawrence and Feldman bounce off each other perfectly throughout, and the film has a deeper side to it that viewers will really vibe with. 

In Collider's review, writer Nate Richard highlighted the comedic nature of the film while also touching on the strong coming-of-age themes that shine through, saying, "Director Gene Stupnitsky gives "No Hard Feelings" the vibe of a modern-day John Hughes movie with the right mix of laughs, honesty, and sweetness." Sadly, audiences didn't really take a chance on "No Hard Feelings" and while it had a decent opening, it soon got shut out. Still, "No Hard Feelings" is a raunchy comedy that's got a lot more laughs and heart than audiences would expect — making it the perfect hidden gem for audiences to find.