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The Best Comedies Of 2021

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In the aftermath of 2020 being one of the least funny years in recent living memory, the entire world really needs a laugh now more than ever. Luckily, despite the COVID-19 pandemic still tying up film sets across the world, 2021 has already seen some pretty big comedy releases, with more movies coming to streaming services or theaters one way or the other.

While some of the comedies released in 2021 focused on the global health crisis itself, setting their narratives during the very real coronavirus outbreak, others transported viewers to faraway places, from famous cities to pastoral vistas. 2020 was a definitively unfunny year, but luckily, 2021 came out swinging right from the beginning with some pretty strong comedy offerings, and has only continued that trend as the year has gone on. From heist films to slapstick, from romantic comedies to funny movies with a darker edge, here's an ongoing list of the very best comedy films released in 2021.

Locked Down added humor, marriage and a heist to quarantine

Making a film during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was no easy feat, but somehow director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) made it work with Locked Down, which debuted on HBO Max early in 2021. Utilizing a limited cast, a London townhouse, and Harrods — London's legendary department store which opened its temporarily shuttered doors to Liman's cast and crew, marking the first time Harrods allowed filming on premises – Locked Down tells the story of bored, antsy married couple Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) stuck together in their London home. Though they spend much of the film at odds and on the brink of divorce, when an opportunity arises for the two to steal a super-valuable item from Harrods, they team up and work together to pull it off.

Led by excellent performances from Hathaway and Ejiofor – who are flanked by supporting players Mindy Kaling, Ben Stiller, and Stephen Merchant, among others – Locked In is a COVID-era delight, providing a realistic yet fantastical look at a pandemic familiar to everyone. If you're going crazy in quarantine, definitely turn on Locked Down.

Rams was a tale of brotherly love

Set in the fields of Australia, director Jeremy Sims' Rams tells the story of two brothers with a difficult relationship who both work in the sheep fields of Western Australia. As the movie opens, Colin (Sam Neill) and Lenton (Michael Caton), who work as rival sheep farmers raising flocks from their family's stock, are constantly battling it out to top one another...until an unexpected consequence affects both of them. As it turns out, one of Les' rams has a rare and contagious illness, which prompts authorities to move to exterminate their sheep; though the brothers take very different approaches to the situation, they eventually have to band together.

With veteran performers Neill and Caton at the helm, Rams charmed audiences, performing well at box offices throughout New Zealand and Australia and earning raves from critics. According to the Rotten Tomatoes consensus, "Rams draws on the chemistry of its talented veteran stars to explore complicated — and often comedic — sibling ties." Whether you're an only child or love your siblings, you'll find something to connect with in Rams.

French Exit took Michelle Pfeiffer on a crazy trip to Paris

Throughout 2020, most people probably wished they could leave their humdrum quarantine lives behind and travel the world — and if you ever had that fantasy, French Exit will make you feel like it's potentially possible. Starring acclaimed actress Michelle Pfeiffer and recent breakout Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), French Exit – which was directed by Azazel Jacobs and is based on the novel by Patrick DeWitt, who also adapted it — tells the wild story of a wealthy Manhattan heiress and widow, Frances Price (Pfeiffer), who decides to do something crazy with her remaining fortune. With very little money, Frances and her son Malcolm (Hedges) move to Paris with their pet cat, whom Frances believes is the reincarnated form of her late husband.

Though French Exit takes a bleak tone at times, critics agreed that Pfeiffer's central performance — which earned the veteran actress a nod for a Golden Globe in early 2021 — grounds the entire project, making it funny and oddly relatable. If you're thinking of dropping everything and moving to Paris, get a glimpse at one way to do it in French Exit.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar owned its weirdness

Developed and written by best friend duo Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, who earned an Academy Award nomination together for Bridesmaids, the delightful, over-the-top Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is one of the weirdest movies you'll see all year. But it's also definitely one of the funniest. Directed by Josh Greenbaum, the film casts Mumolo and Wiig as Midwestern best friends Barb and Star, respectively, who decide to change their lives by taking the trip of a lifetime to an exotic Florida resort town. While there, Star strikes up a romance with handsome spy Edgar Paget (Jamie Dornan), and the best friends find themselves at the center of a nefarious plot.

Wiig and Mumolo's easy chemistry is an absolute pleasure, and the committed performances from everyone — including Dornan and Wiig herself in a dual role — are a sight to behold. Ultimately, critics found themselves completely charmed by this oddball, truly strange comedy. If a film that had to "cut back" on the number of talking animals sounds like a good time, Barb and Star is definitely for you.

Days of the Bagnold Summer was a sweet mother-son story

Based on a 2012 graphic novel of the same name by Joff Winterheart, Days of the Bagnold Summer offers Stateside viewers a sweet, endearing look at what it's like to come of age in the United Kingdom. Director Simon Bird and his wife, Lisa Owens, who adapted Winterheart's novel, tell the charming story of Sue Bagnold (Monica Dolan), a librarian and single mother to shy teenager Daniel (Earl Cave), who gets through high school with the help of his outgoing best friend Ky (Elliot Speller-Gillott). Though Sue and Daniel are supposed to spend the summer apart while Daniel visits his father, the trip is unexpectedly canceled, forcing the mother and son to bond.

This touching movie about a mother struggling to impress her teenage son over the course of a summer is sure to warm your heart. If you're looking for an uplifting watch, you'll definitely want to check out Days of the Bagnold Summer.

Coming 2 America brought back one of Eddie Murphy's most popular roles

Fans of Eddie Murphy's 1988 classic Coming to America had to wait over two decades for a sequel to their favorite movie, but luckily, 2021's Coming 2 America was well worth the wait. Directed by Craig Brewer and written by black-ish creator Kenya Barris, Coming 2 America revisits Murphy's Prince Akeem just before his 30th wedding anniversary to Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley, reprising her role from the first film), when he gets shocking news. On his deathbed, Akeem's father, King Jaffe (James Earl Jones), reveals that Akeem has an illegitimate child living in Queens, and Akeem must go and find him to prevent a revolt from their people.

Sometimes, lightning does strike twice, and Murphy's second turn as Prince Akeem — thanks to the performer's still-sharp comedic chops and a healthy dose of nostalgia — won over audiences and critics alike. Thanks to Murphy's performance and new supporting players like Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones, you'll definitely want to revisit Queens with Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America.

2021 has plenty of amazing comedies on the horizon

The first few months of 2021 have already gifted audiences with some pretty amazing comedies, but the slate of upcoming funny movies is equally as impressive. Ryan Reynolds returns to the big screen with Free Guy, which hits theaters on May 21, 2021 and features Reynolds as a random non-player character in a video game who strikes out on his own by trying to become the hero before the game shuts down. Shortly after that, Emma Stone will portray one of Disney's most infamous villains in the origin story Cruella, which is set for a May 28, 2021 release.

In June, discover Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's first musical, In the Heights, which will hit theaters and HBO Max on June 18 and tells the story of life in New York's largely Latinx neighborhood Washington Heights. One month later, the Space Jam franchise returns with A New Legacy, which will also arrive on HBO Max as well as in theaters on July 16, 2021. The summer movie season will close out with two sequels: Kingsman sequel The King's Man on August 20, 2021 and Jackass 4 on September 3, 2021.

As the fall continues, Ghostbusters fans will get a new chapter in the ongoing saga with Ghostbusters: Afterlife on November 11, 2021, which features original Ghostbusters cast members alongside Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, and more. Clearly, 2021 has no shortage of great comedies ahead.