Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Best Comedy Movies Of 2020

Comedy is entertainment — there are fewer things more enjoyable and harmlessly intoxicating than laughing for a sustained period of time — but it's also medicine. Funny things are a tonic that help humans process the horrors of the world and the annoyances of everyday life. In the year 2020 — when a pandemic and a contentious election tore the world apart — people needed to laugh more than probably any other time in recent memory. Hollywood was there to provide the film-watching public with a slew of fantastically funny feature films. 

As in every other year, the comedy movies of 2020 took a lot of forms: some were broad and some were experimental; some were wholly original and others provided new takes on familiar material; some were based on well-known properties while others adapted obscure pre-existing content. Whatever the movie's comedy flavor, it always promised a much welcome respite. Here then are the best (and more importantly, funniest) comedies of 2020.

Palm Springs

A character caught in a time loop that makes them live the same day over and over is an irresistible premise to filmmakers — it's been successfully used in movies like Groundhog Day, Happy Death Day, and Palm Springs. The latter approaches the idea somewhat differently. When the film begins, Nyles (Andy Samberg) has already been stuck on repeat for some time, leading him to act erratically, destructively, and self-servingly since everything invariably resets and his actions have zero consequences. It doesn't seem to matter too much that he ruins relationships or wrecks a wedding at a Palm Springs resort. 

But things get complicated when he meets Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the sister of the bride, and they fall in love over the course of hundreds of silly adventures because she gets stuck in the time loop too. It's Sarah's use of her time to study physics and the time-space continuum that can possibly get them out of this nightmare scenario, which also involves a spooky cave and an angry wedding guest played by J.K. Simmons. "Palm Springs is a delightfully romantic flight-of-fancy with enough salt to avoid becoming too saccharine and a story that proves there's room for more than one flavor of the Groundhog Day premise," says James Berardinelli of ReelViews.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Fourteen years after he became a controversial cultural sensation with his viciously satirical anti-racist comedy Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Sacha Baron Cohen returned in 2020 to make another meta movie about a road trip across America in which he unlisted unwitting accomplices along the way to expose and mock social ills. This time, Cohen's Borat, a crude, sexist, anti-Semitic reporter character from Kazakhstan, is given a chance to get out of the prison term he endured for shaming his home country with the first Borat by delivering a celebrity monkey to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. But Borat's teenage daughter, Tutar (fearless and brutally funny newcomer Maria Bakalova), stows away for the trip and eats the monkey. 

So the plan changes and Borat must now gift his offspring to Pence, but first he must turn her into a proper lady (which involves scandalizing a Southern cotillion). However, the film takes a turn from the exposure of sexism into a cold, hard look at American politics when the COVID-19 pandemic hits. Cohen and Bakalova embroil themselves in all sorts of potentially dangerous situations — he bunks down with some gun rights activists, she winds up alone in a hotel room with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani — but the movie itself is shocking, hilarious, and, as Borat would say, very nice.

On the Rocks

Sofia Coppola has been regularly churning out quiet, elegant, thoughtful, and vaguely dreamlike movies for 20 years. What sets On the Rocks apart from The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, and Marie Antoinette is that it's the only film on Coppola's resume that could be considered a comedy. It's a light, gentle, and warm movie, but one that comes from a wacky, broad premise: Writer Laura (Rashida Jones) thinks her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is cheating on her, and her gregarious, man-about-town father Felix (a perfectly cast Bill Murray) enlists her to spy on him to find out the truth. 

Together, they pursue a series of clues which invariably turn out to be amusingly dead-ended as they gallivant around the tonier parts of Manhattan while Felix charms, flirts with, and glad-hands everyone he encounters, much to Laura's incredulity and annoyance. On the Rocks is "a little zany, a little blue, emotionally jagged" and "adventurously all over the place," according to K. Austin Collins of Rolling Stone.

Bill and Ted Face the Music

Bill and Ted (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) rank among the greatest all-time duos. Deeply devoted to one another and their band Wyld Stallyns, these quintessential California dudes saved history in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1988) and squared off against evil versions of themselves and Death himself (William Sadler) in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991). After nearly 30 years, fans of the comic sci-fi series finally saw what happened to Bill and Ted after their late teenage years but before the arrival of the distant future they'd purportedly saved. Bill and Ted Face the Music finds them in middle age: Their totally awesome heavy metal stylings have failed to unite the world, their marriages to the wives they imported from medieval Europe aren't happy, and the Great Leader (Holland Taylor) from the distant future gives them just a few hours to write the greatest song of all time or history will eat itself. They can pull it off, if they can avoid more evil versions of themselves and enlist the help of Death, as well as their daughters, who travel through time to recruit the greatest musicians of all time.

"This big-hearted, dumb lug of a movie simply gets you wrapped up in a sincerely warm bro-hug from the moment it starts, and doesn't let go until the closing credits roll," says Leigh Paatsch of the Herald Sun.

Birds of Prey

With its absurd, cheeky full title – Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) — it was clear from the get-go that this was not going to be another literally and thematically dark entry in the Batman universe, nor a copy of predecessor film Suicide Squad. Instead, it's a movie in which extremely friendly wannabe criminal mastermind Harley Quinn breaks the fourth wall, gets into a lot of wackily dangerous situations, and stages glitter bomb attacks, all the while sending up its own genre's ultra-seriousness to make for the funniest and most downright fun comic book and superhero movie since Deadpool

Birds of Prey is at its core a breakup story, as Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, clearly having a blast) tries to get over her breakup with The Joker, emerge from his shadow and become one of Gotham City's most feared criminals in her own right. But she gets wrapped up in another major crime scheme while running afoul of the law and forging alliances with other marginalized and overlooked powerful women. "With a frenetic Kill Bill energy," writes Stephen A. Russell of The New Daily, Birds of Prey "embraces the glorious absurdity of these camp characters."

The King of Staten Island

The King of Staten Island stars Saturday Night Live imp and stand-up comedian Pete Davidson as Scott a young adult caught in a static routine of going nowhere — he smokes a lot of marijuana, lives in his mother's basement, wants to be a tattoo artist but never gets any better at it, and keeps his relationship with his girlfriend secret to his friends. All of this seems to stem from losing his firefighter father in the line of duty when he was a little kid, only for those issues and his self-loathing to bubble up in the form of rage and animosity when his mother (Marisa Tomei) starts dating a firefighter (Bill Burr) she met when he confronted her after Scott gave his son an amateurish tattoo. 

Scott soon devotes himself to taking down this father replacement who gives Scott the tough love and life-altering push he needs. This adult-forced-into-finally-growing-up scenario is one that works well for director and co-writer Judd Apatow, who has explored the comic possibilities of these themes before in films like Knocked Up, This is 40, and Trainwreck. Apatow "does a masterful job balancing moments of sincere emotion with genuine humor, never letting the over two-hour running time lag," says Charles Koplinksi of Reel Talk.

An American Pickle

Sometimes it takes someone from outside of a place, time, or culture to properly mock it, and in An American Pickle, the seemingly coddled, privileged lifestyle lived primarily online by 21st century millennials is the subject of the satire, because it's told through the eyes of Herschel Greenbaum, a transplant from 1910s Brooklyn. After Cossacks destroy his tiny Russian home village, Herschel emigrates to America and endures many hardships until he falls into a vat of pickles at the factory where he's meagerly employed on the day it's shut down, thus preserving him in brine for a century. 

He wakes up and connects with his only living relative, his great-grandson Ben, who is spinning his wheels after the death of his parents, living off an inheritance, and hopelessly trying to develop an app. They are two characters in extreme comedic conflict, and both are played with nuance, deep sadness, and simmering rage by Seth Rogen. It's easy to forget that Herschel and Ben are the same guy, especially when the two go all out to destroy each other's lives. "The humor may be broad for a fundamentally grounded film," says Sean Collier of Box Office Prophets, "but director Brandon Trost gets a lot of well-timed laughs out of his setups and his star."

Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga

It's relatively unknown in the United States, but in Europe, the annual Eurovision Song Contest is a really big deal. Acts from all over the continent send a musical act with a future-forward sound as their representative to compete in a multi-week TV reality show that's reminiscent of both American Idol and the Olympics. Dreams of stardom and musical success can come true for the winners, and that underdog story is the central premise of Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga, as it tracks Lars and Sigrit, two best friends (and probably something more) from a tiny Icelandic fishing village, in their improbable quest to the Eurovision finals. 

All that emotional honesty and sweetness is heavily cut with a lot of silliness. Lars is portrayed by goofball king Will Ferrell, and Rachel McAdams shows some rarely seen comic chops as Sigrit. The slapstickiness of Ferrell trying to crawl onto a stage when he's late for a performance is hilariously and unnecessarily chaotic, but not as amusing as McAdams' tenuous relationship with some drunk elves. Both Lars and Sigrit are "equally dumb, earnest, silly, absurd characters," says Bob Chipman of Escapist, and it's "fun to watch" as the two leads "one-up each other across the film."


There's never been a dark comedy quite like Spontaneous, an unpredictable mash-up of cinematic styles that one wouldn't think would go together very well. It's a teen romance straight out of a young adult novel, set in a world of extreme impermanence where random, spectacular death is somehow a mundane part of life. Mara (Katherine Langford) and Dylan (Charlie Plummer) are just regular seniors at a regular high school waiting to graduate so their real life can begin. Things get a little weird when, all around them, other kids start spontaneously combusting without rhyme or reason. The fates keep sparing Mara and Dylan long enough for a star-crossed romance to develop and to learn that they need to start living for the moment as soon as possible, because they might not have too many more. Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News called Spontaneous "an absurdly funny, gripping and moving film that boasts one of the best screenplays of the year."

I Used to Go Here

Gilliam Jacobs of the college-set Community returns to collegiate comedy as Kate Conklin, a novelist whose book tour is cancelled after her debut book flops. Instead, she's invited to speak at her old university in Illinois by her old, favorite professor (Jemaine Clement of What We Do in the Shadows). She quickly gets caught up with reliving past glories, or at least reliving the time when she had her whole life ahead of her. Kate also gets way too involved in the personal lives of a handful of undergrads as a form of not having to examine her own problems, namely her flailing writing career and a broken engagement. 

I Used to Go Here is a comedy that shows that you can't really go home again, making it really a comedy about universal truths of the human condition. "What's so funny about the film is that it shows how very little divides your early-twentysomething self from your mid-thirtysomething self — you're never too old to be humiliated," says Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian.

The 40-Year-Old Version

The metaphorical "fish out of water," or a person exploring a world with which they are woefully unfamiliar, is an old comedy standby, and The 40-Year-Old Version is that kind of movie. But it's also a film about reinvention, and it takes some gifts to find the humor in self-improvement without being mean or condescending. The 40-Year-Old Version is also this type of film, a sweet, funny, and even moving tale from writer/director/star Radha Blank, who moves from theater arts into filmmaking by telling a story about a playwright also named Radha Blank who approaches a milestone birthday by switching art forms. 

Despite the title, it's not a parody or a riff on The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But it's similar to that 2005 comedy in that it's about people uncomfortable with encroaching middle age tentatively trying new things despite their reservations and fear of embarrassment. For Radha (the character), it's music. She's struggled as a playwright, and as she's about to turn 40 she decides to try a field that's usually thought of as a younger person's game: rap. "Blank killed it," said Alissa Wilkinson of Vox. "The 40-Year-Old Version is pointed, satirical, and sharp as a rapier, and it hits every beat perfectly."


Kajillionaire is an odd film: it's full of familiar, charming actors who tell a story of schemers, hustlers, and con artists, but they're unlike the usual hucksters that films usually depict and glorify. The characters in writer-director Miranda July's film aren't obsessed with scamming their way to kajillionaire-hood, but are rather content with subsistence-level financial crime. Old Dolio Dyne (Evan Rachel Wood) is well into her twenties, but remains dependent on her parents (Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins). They view her more as an accomplice than a loved one, and they enlist her in a scam involving stolen luggage and travel insurance to pay for the overdue back rent on their cheap apartment that's actually an office in a soap factory. 

Along the way, this small-time, small-crime family welcomes in another criminal, the bubbly Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), who only complicates Old Dolio's already complicated relationship with her conniving parental units. According to Allstair Harkness of The Scotsman, "July keeps things marvelously off-kilter here with plenty of oddball details, but these never compromise the compassion the film has for its characters, whose errant ways are, happily, not entirely irredeemable."