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40 Best Comedy Movies On HBO Max [October 2021]

With the full HBO library at its disposal, as well as corporate ties to the Warner Bros. filmmaking juggernaut, the relatively new HBO Max streaming service has hundreds of movies on offer at any given time, with new selections past and present added to its digital archives every month. What could possibly be the downside to affordable access to more movies than a person could possibly watch in a lifetime? Too much choice. How many nights in how many homes have been hobbled by a viewer faced with so many options that they don't know what to watch, especially when it comes to comedies?

HBO Max has a particularly impressive array of hilarious films, including major hits and cult classics alike from the 1960s up to the present day. So as to not endlessly scroll through the comedy section the next time you're in the mood for something funny, consult this guide to the 40 most worthwhile and most hilarious comedies currently available on HBO Max.

Updated on September 28, 2021As HBO Max changes its selection, we'll keep this list updated to reflect the changes in its streaming catalog. Be sure to check back each month for films that will leave you howling with laughter, as we'll be keeping this list current with the latest and greatest comedy films to hit the site.

13 Going on 30

The latest, funniest, and most cinematically accomplished entry in the curious film sub-genre of "kid suddenly finds themselves in the body of an adult," "13 Going on 30" takes to its extreme, fantastical end the notion of teenagers being in a rush to grow up. After being humiliated by the popular crowd at her 13th birthday, nerdy Jenna makes a wish to skip all of her horrible teenage years and just suddenly be 30 years old. Then she gets hit with some wishing dust left on a dollhouse made for her by the crushing-hard Matt, and her wish comes true — Jenna is suddenly a high-powered fashion magazine editor in New York. But she still has the brain and poise of a child, and so she stumbles through her new life with innocence and guilelessness as she tries to be a grown-up and reconnect with Matt.

  • Starring: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer
  • Director: Gary Winick
  • Year: 2004
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

It's the movie that turned the voice of writer-director Judd Apatow into the voice of mainstream comedy in the 21st century, one that combines over-the-top raunchiness with lovable characters and genuine emotion. It also made Steve Carell of "The Office" into a bona fide movie star with his role as Andy, a shy and nerdy guy who made it to middle age without ever knowing the intimate touch of another. His cynical, dude-bro coworkers who fancy themselves ladies men make it their mission to get Andy into bed with a woman, although he falls into a more traditional, slow romance with a single mother (Catherine Keener). There might be a happily ever after for Andy but not without a painful chest-waxing scene and depictions of some of the most hilariously horrific dates in movie history.

  • Starring: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen
  • Director: Judd Apatow
  • Year: 2005
  • Runtime: 116 Minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%


"Adventureland" is about as low-key a movie can get and still be called a comedy. A coming-of-age story rife with nostalgia and little moments of human connection, the humor comes more from recognizing yourself in the situations playing out on-screen and relating to the characters than straight-up jokes. Set in the summer of 1987, newly graduated James wants to strike out and explore Europe, only to discover that his parents won't give him a dime, forcing him to take a summer job for which he's too old and too educated — grunt work at Adventureland, a past-its-prime small-town amusement park. But it's not so bad, especially once he starts making friends with the staff of ne'er-do-wells and strikes up a romantic connection with colleague Em.

  • Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds
  • Director: Greg Mottola
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

An American Pickle

One actor playing two roles can be a cheap trick, but in "An American Pickle," Seth Rogen isn't exactly playing twins in a remake of "The Parent Trap." In this film, based on a story by humorist and "Saturday Night Live" writer Simon Rich, Rogen plays Ben, a listless Brooklyn trust fund millennial who acquires a new roommate. Also played by Rogen, he's Herschel Greenbaum, Ben's distant relative and a Russian refugee waking up from a century-long sleep in a vat of pickle brine. What could easily fall into the usual fish-out-of-water and one-guy-playing-two-roles cliches instead becomes a war of ethics, values, ambition, and good old-fashioned revenge as Ben and Herschel endeavor to ruin one another.

  • Starring: Seth Rogen, Sarah Snook, Eliot Glazer
  • Director: Brandon Trost
  • Year: 2020
  • Runtime: 88 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

American Splendor

Most biographical films contend that life is a drama, one serious thing after another. "American Splendor" is the rare biopic that argues that life is a comedy, full of endless absurdities, coincidences, quirky moments, and ridiculous indignities. This movie is the comic story of an underground comics icon, Harvey Pekar, author of the biographical and deeply self-deprecating series that shares a name with this very film. In focusing on the highlights of the improbably successful life of possibly the most hilariously grumpy man who ever lived, "American Splendor" blurs the lines between fiction and reality, with Pekar and other actual people who are part of the story mixing in amongst the actors who portray them.

  • Starring: Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Judah Friedlander
  • Directors: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Mike Myers writes and stars in this homage to 1960s British spy movie franchises, when actors with terrible teeth and a shockingly frank, sexual, and objectifying attitudes toward women could be heroes. But that doesn't hold true for the late '90s, when "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" is set, and the comedy derives from noting just how quickly and greatly the world has changed over three decades.

Back in 1967, supervillain Dr. Evil and super spy Austin Powers — both played by Myers — were cryonically frozen. When Dr. Evil re-emerges in 1997 with a nuclear weapon to hold the world hostage (for a comically low $1 million, later updated to $100 billion to account for inflation), Austin is thawed too, waking up to a world that thinks he's woefully passé and completely ridiculous.

  • Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner
  • Director: Jay Roach
  • Year: 1997
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

The original "Austin Powers" was such a sleeper hit that it spawned a blockbuster sequel, "The Spy Who Shagged Me," which doubles down on both the '60s stuff and over-the-top nonsense. In the first film, Austin was a '60s guy unfrozen in the '90s, but in the second one, he travels back to his own decade to stop Dr. Evil, making for a very groovy, shagadelic time. Once more, Myers plays Dr. Evil and Austin, as well as a new character, the delightfully repulsive Fat Bastard. New characters including swinging '60s spy Felicity Shagwell and Dr. Evil's beloved companion, Mini-Me — a small clone version of himself.

  • Starring: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Rob Lowe
  • Director: Jay Roach
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 52%

Best in Show

Dog shows are innately weird and silly. Canines navigate obstacles and must prove they're ideal physical specimens while their trainers run next to them and take the whole thing very seriously. "Best in Show" is a mockumentary about those trainers, the various people from all over the country who gather at a major national dog show. But which of the profiled handlers will win? Will it be hound dog enthusiast Harlan Pepper, fussy yuppie Weimaraner owners Meg and Hamilton? Perhaps the nearly broke married terrier advocates Gerry and Cookie Fleck? Of course, the real winner — the guy who steals "Best in Show" — is Fred Willard as a guileless, wacky dog show announcer who hilariously knows next to nothing about dogs.

  • Starring: Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard
  • Director: Christopher Guest
  • Year: 2000
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Beverly Hills Cop

Eddie Murphy jumped onto the A-list with his role in "Beverly Hills Cop," the biggest box office hit of 1984. Here, he plays wisecracking, unconventional Detroit police officer Axel Foley, who, in search of a murderer, finds himself way out of his jurisdiction and his element in Beverly Hills, California. He clashes with and unnerves his straight-laced, by-the-book colleagues in the Beverly Hills Police Department and also experiences some West Coast culture to which he is not accustomed. At the end of the day, Murphy is the audience's guide through the materialistic world of the '80s as he plays up the laughs in this classic action comedy.

  • Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Ronny Cox
  • Director: Martin Brest
  • Year: 1984
  • Runtime: 105 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Bill and Ted, very supportive best friends and complete dimwits, are a couple of Southern California high school kids who just know their heavy metal band, Wyld Stallyns, will make it ... if only they could actually play their instruments. But that dream could fade into the past if they don't get a passing grade on their history project because if Ted fails one more class, his mean father will send him to military school. Luckily for them, a time-traveling agent tracks them down and lets them know that in the future, they're worshipped as cultural gods for their music. In the meantime, they can use their newly acquired gift of time travel to bring actual historical figures back to the present day in hopes of passing that history class.

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin
  • Director: Stephen Herek
  • Year: 1989
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey

In their "Excellent Adventure," Bill and Ted fought time, space, and parents. In "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey," the stakes are raised as they contend with evil robot clones of themselves sent by a villain from the future to murder them. However, the bad Bill and terrible Ted actually succeed in killing off the protagonists, sending the duo into a thoroughly creepy afterlife, presided over by a very needy and very competitive personification of Death who's willing to let Bill and Ted play for their freedom and rebirth — and we mean "play" literally, in the form of several board games.

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler
  • Director: Peter Hewitt
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Black Dynamite

Blaxploitation was one of the definitive genres of the 1970s. Here, ultra-tough Black heroes took on evil white authority figures, all while dashing off catchphrases, leading high-speed car chases, and violently dispatching anyone who got in their way, pausing only to romance women, utter a cool catchphrase, or let the funk soundtrack breathe. And "Black Dynamite" is both a celebration and send-up of eye-popping, unbelievable, and audacious movies like "Shaft" and "Superfly." The comic action centers on Vietnam veteran and ex-CIA agent Black Dynamite who aims to rid the streets of criminals and drug dealers, in part because they killed his brother, in part because they're getting Black orphans hooked on heroin and secretly aiming to chemically shrink the genitals of Black men with an evil malt liquor brand.

  • Starring: Michael Jai White, Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson
  • Director: Scott Sanders
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 84 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Blazing Saddles

Mel Brooks could take virtually any film genre, lovingly and thoroughly spoof it — adding in silliness, overtly bawdy humor, and jokes straight out of vaudeville — and somehow make a cutting, satirical commentary about real life in mid-20th century America. With "Blazing Saddles," Westerns are the target, and race relations is the topic. Set in the Old West town of Rock Ridge, a land developer named Hedley Lamarr (who gets very mad when others confuse him with future movie star Hedy Lamarr) wants to wipe the town off the map and build a railroad, and he gets the governor to help him scheme. The way they plan to make Rock Ridge residents scatter? By appointing an African-American sheriff. That lawman, Bart, turns out to be extremely clever, and with the help of a washed-up gunslinger, the Waco Kid, he leads the town's resistance. But as this is a Mel Brooks movie, there's plenty of wonderfully low-brow material, particularly the famous (and very long) scene depicting cowboys farting around a campfire.

  • Starring: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman
  • Director: Mel Brooks
  • Year: 1974
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%


Probably the funniest movie ever made about how to make a movie, "Bowfinger" is both a high-concept farce and an endearing look at how true artists will do whatever it takes to follow their passion. Steve Martin (who also wrote the script) plays ultra-indie ultra-untalented filmmaker Bobby Bowfinger, who leads a troupe of starry-eyed actors as he tells them he's cast Hollywood star Kit Ramsey in their micro-budgeted action movie "Chubby Rain." He hasn't, of course — he secretly stalks and films Ramsey's reactions to his actors, guerilla-style, all while the big-shot star is in the middle of a mental break and thinks he's being watched and followed.

  • Starring: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham
  • Director: Frank Oz
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

The Cable Guy

In 1996, Jim Carrey became the first actor in history to earn $20 million for a single movie, and it was for "The Cable Guy," a pitch-black comedy about toxic friendships and mental illness. Newly single architect Steven gets a lisping cable installer (Carrey) — who calls himself Chip Douglas (the name of a "My Three Sons" character) — to hook him up with the premium channels for free. Steven thus becomes deeply indebted to the overbearing and delusional Chip, who insinuates himself into Steven's life, more or less taking it over and steering it into all the wrong directions. It turns out this isn't the first or last time that "Chip" has used the alias of a TV character (he's a cable guy, he loves TV) to enable himself to stalk a customer.


This black-and-white, minuscule budgeted comedy made Kevin Smith into a major voice in film and helped launch the '90s indie movie revolution. It also created a template for chatty, hangout movies of the era — the difference is that every character in "Clerks" seems to have a dirty mouth. (Well, all except for Silent Bob, who, while hanging out with his drug-dealing associate Jay, decidedly does not talk.) "Clerks" spans a day in the life of a New Jersey convenience store and the people who have no choice but to work there, particularly Dante, who wasn't even supposed to work that day — he often whines — as he copes with low-wage indignities like a security gate that won't open, a customer who rearranges milk, and an oddly aggressive gum company rep.


At first glance, viewers might be inclined to think that "Clueless" is yet another late 20th-century movie about rich and vapid Los Angeles teens. However, the film is a goofy love story about how things aren't always what they seem on the surface, and it's also a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen's 19th-century novel, "Emma." As for the plot, Cher Horowitz just wants to learn to drive (or drive correctly) and take on new kid, bumbling nerd Tai, as a personal makeover project. All the while, she's looking for romance and possibly finding one in the most unlikely of places — with her brainy, much older former stepbrother.

  • Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd
  • Director: Amy Heckerling
  • Year: 1995
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

With the French Riviera as a setting and beautiful backdrop, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" tells the hilarious story of two con men competing to swindle the unsuspecting elite. However, when these rivals cross paths and start fighting over turf, they decide to cook up a little contest. The first contestant in this little game is Lawrence Jamieson, a debonair Brit who pretends to be a deposed prince to get wealthy women to part with their fortunes. The other is small-time huckster Freddy Benson, an American content to swipe a few bucks with each scam. They agree to both try to con soap heiress Janet Colgate out of her bank account, with the winner getting the French Riviera as their sole territory. However, Janet may not be such a naive innocent.

  • Starring: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly
  • Director: Frank Oz
  • Year: 1988
  • Runtime: 110 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Down by Law

Written and directed by indie filmmaking icon Jim Jarmusch, "Down by Law" is the prototype for aloof, clever, and darkly comic crime sagas, and its language is clear in later works by Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers. In this gritty, humorous existential crisis of a movie, beloved left-of-center musical figures Tom Waits and John Lurie play seedy characters, a disc jockey named Zack and a street hustler named Jack, who wind up behind bars in New Orleans for crimes they didn't actually commit — they're just too out of it to fight. Their cellmate is a relentlessly cheery Italian tourist named Roberto (Roberto Benigni, a decade before his breakout role in "Life is Beautiful"), whose lack of knowledge of English alternately amuses and upsets Zack and Jack, but at least he thinks he has an escape plan.

  • Starring: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni
  • Director: Jim Jarmusch
  • Year: 1986
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%


Buddy is a bit different from all the other elves who live at the North Pole and work for Santa Claus — like how's he's over 6 feet tall and can't make a toy to save his life. As it's clear to everyone but Buddy, he's a human, not an elf. But he grew up surrounded by elf culture — including a diet consisting entirely of sugar, an indefatigable optimism, and sense of childish, wondrous glee — and puts it to good use when he ventures all the way to New York City to reconnect with his long-lost, money-obsessed, book publisher father and helps to get him off of Santa's infamous "Naughty List." "Elf" is probably the funniest holiday movie ever made, as well as one of the sweetest, most feel-good entries in any genre.

  • Starring: Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan
  • Director: Jon Favreau
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

The Goonies

"The Goonies" is one of the most beloved movies of the generation who grew up in the '80s and with good reason — there's a lot of fun to be found. A bunch of kids go on an adventure on the outskirts of their own hometown, seeking out the long-lost hidden treasure of pirate One-Eyed Willy, and they run afoul of the nasty Fratelli family of criminals who want the treasure too. That's serious business, but "The Goonies" isn't a serious movie — it's silly, rollicking, wild, and joyous. The Goonies (so named because they hail from the working-class Goon Docks neighborhood of coastal Astoria, Oregon) are a tight-knit bunch of kids who joke around, tease each other, and crack wise in the face of danger. And those Goonies act like real kids act or at least how viewers would think they would've reacted if in a similar situation.

  • Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman
  • Director: Richard Donner
  • Year: 1985
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

The Great Dictator

The enduring image of Charlie Chaplin is that of his character the Tramp, a down-on-his-luck man floating through life. Chaplin played the Tramp so effectively and hilariously that he was the biggest movie star of the silent film era, but by 1940, he was a powerful filmmaker shaping the artistry of film. That year, he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in "The Great Dictator," an audacious and incendiary satirical comedy that took aim at then-fuhrer Adolf Hitler, the other well-known individual to sport a toothbrush mustache.

In "The Great Dictator" (Chaplin's only film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture), Chaplin plays Adenoid Hynkel, fascist dictator of Tomania. He's evil, anti-Semitic, and dangerous, although the film ridicules him, showing him dancing around with a globe as a partner (indicating his need for world domination). In a dual role, Chaplin plays a Jewish barber and Hynkel's lookalike, who uses his resemblance to lead a resistance.

  • Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
  • Director: Charlie Chaplin
  • Year: 1940
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

The Hangover

Of all the many "bro" comedies, in which a group of man-children — led by a smarmy over-confident guy and including at least one nerd and one weirdo — take off from regular life and wind up in Las Vegas, "The Hangover" is the best and funniest, if only because it goes off the rails and defies expectations so quickly and thoroughly. Phil, Stu, and Alan take Doug to Sin City for a debauched bachelor party weekend. However, the crazy partying ends after just one night, which is so intense that Phil, Stu, and Alan don't remember much of it the next morning, including Doug's whereabouts. At that point, "The Hangover" shifts into comic-mystery mode as the three remaining characters try to figure out where Doug went, as well as other side puzzles, like why they're in possession of a tiger and a baby.

  • Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
  • Director: Todd Phillips
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 99 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

A Hard Day's Night

"A Hard Day's Night" didn't need to be as clever or as funny as it is, and it's a miracle it wasn't just some quickly churned out thing to capitalize on a musical phenomenon, like some kind of Elvis movie but with four fab stars instead of one. Set in and produced in 1964, at the peak of early Beatlemania, "A Hard Day's Night" is only a slightly exaggerated look at what it was like to be in the most popular rock band of the era, while also showing off each band member's unique personality. John Lennon is sharp and funny, Paul McCartney is charming and funny, George Harrison is dry and funny, and Ringo Starr is flat-out hilarious. ((He gets the movie's best line. When a reporter asks him if he's a "mod" or a "rocker," Ringo quips that he's a "mocker.")

  • Starring: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison
  • Director: Richard Lester
  • Year: 1964
  • Runtime: 87 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

High Fidelity

"High Fidelity" feels like a confessional, warts-and-all novel written from the point of view of the sometimes loathsome protagonist — which is exactly what it is, as it's based on the modern classic book by Nick Hornby. John Cusack plays Rob, a Chicago rock snob and record store owner who gets dumped by his long-term, long-suffering girlfriend, Laura. In order to get her back and figure out what went wrong, he analyzes his prior relationships and even goes so far as to awkwardly approach former flames, hoping they'll assess him as a romantic partner. Rob directly addresses the audience, confiding his problems to the viewer, which is a fun and intimate comic device. It's the opposite of the film's other main source of humor — the over-the-top, force of nature bravura of Jack Black as a wannabe rock star and one of Rob's employees.

Horrible Bosses

Three actors best known for their exemplary TV work (Jason Bateman of "Arrested Development," Jason Sudeikis of "Saturday Night Live," and Charlie Day of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") team up to play a dynamic big-screen comedy team in "Horrible Bosses," a surprisingly buoyant comedy about the drudgery of work ... and murder. Countless people hate their boss, but most just quietly bear the brunt of the abuse. But friends Nick, Kurt, and Dale just can't deal with their managers — each horrible in their own egregious way — any longer. Acting on the advice of a hitman, they conspire to kill one another's bosses so as not to arouse suspicion. Things, of course, do not go according to plan.

  • Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston
  • Director: Seth Gordon
  • Year: 2011
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

I Used to Go Here

Gillian Jacobs, best known for her work on the cult-classic college comedy "Community," returns to the mockable world of academia. She portrays Kate Conklin, a rising literary star until her latest book tanks right out of the gate. Her publisher cancels her book tour, and left flailing by professional (and personal) failure, she accepts an offer to go speak to writing students at her old Illinois university. Being a big fish in a small pond, at least temporarily, provides just the distraction Kate needs as she regresses into her early-20s self, which brings with it a whole new set of hilarious humiliations.

  • Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Zoe Chao
  • Director: Kris Rey
  • Year: 2020
  • Runtime: 80 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

The King of Staten Island

"The King of Staten Island" is a bittersweet, sentimental, and often heartbreaking coming-of-age story about a guy who probably should've come of age already. "Saturday Night Live" standout and comedian Pete Davidson stars as going-nowhere Scott, a 20-something who lives in his mother's basement and doesn't do much besides smoke a lot of marijuana, maintain a physical relationship with a woman he keeps at emotional distance, and test out his terrible tattooing skills on his friends. Scott is clearly stunted from losing his firefighter father at a young age, and all those self-destructive tendencies and father issues boil over when his mother starts dating a firefighter who shows Scott some pushback and tough love.

  • Starring: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr
  • Director: Judd Apatow
  • Year: 2020
  • Runtime: 137 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Lars and the Real Girl

Far from his roles as a brooding jazz musician in "La La Land" and a brooding stuntman in "Drive," Ryan Gosling plays a quiet, broken, small-town Midwesterner in "Lars and the Real Girl," a truly original romantic comedy. Lars, raised by an emotionally distant widower, lives in the garage of a house that's otherwise occupied by his brother and his pregnant wife, who, like everyone else, struggle to get past Lars' steely veneer. But then romance arrives for Lars — and bafflement for his social and familial circle — when his internet girlfriend Bianca comes to stay. Bianca happens to be an anatomically correct companionship doll, whom Lars treats with virtue and respect but also seems to believe is a real woman. Somehow and someway, she provides the practice Lars needs before he starts socializing with living humans.

  • Starring: Ryan Gosling, Paul Schneider, Emily Mortimer
  • Director: Craig Gillespie
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 107 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

The Lego Batman Movie

Batman is so dark, so brooding, so tortured, so mysterious — and there's just a little bit too much of that, Hollywood, said the filmmakers behind "The Lego Batman Movie." A spinoff of the deliriously funny "The Lego Movie," raspy-voiced Will Arnett reprises his role of the Caped Crusader-as-misunderstood-goth-teen in his solo adventure as he tries to shake off an overenthusiastic Robin and defeat a silly take on the Joker (along with other rogues' gallery obscurities like Condiment King). The whole thing is a much-needed send-up of the sacred cow that is the Batman universe.

  • Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis
  • Director: Chris McKay
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 104 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Little Shop of Horrors

Of all the old-fashioned, stagey, romantic horror musical comedies about man-eating plants, nerdy florists, and sadistic dentists, "Little Shop of Horrors" is easily the best. Based on the campy Broadway show which in turn was based on a 1960s B-movie, "Little Shop of Horrors" concerns lonely, geeky Seymour Krelborn, in love with his sweet and intimidating flower shop coworker Audrey, and he laments how she's dating a dentist who gets off on causing his patients as much pain as possible. He finds the solution to his problems — and a problem for everyone else down on Skid Row — when he nurses a tiny, mysterious plant to life, a plant which turns into a soul-singing monster hungry for human flesh and blood.

  • Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin
  • Director: Frank Oz
  • Year: 1986
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

A Mighty Wind

By 2003, a Christopher Guest movie was a specific and multi-faceted comedy brand. And with many cast members coming over from "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show," Guest made another quiet, subtle, quirky, and devastatingly funny fake documentary that focused on a small but passionate group of people. 

The result was "A Mighty Wind," which picks up after the death of a legendary folk music producer. His three biggest acts reunite for a tribute concert, among them the New Main Street Singers (a squeaky clean operation whose members include a former adult film star turned witch), Mitch & Mickey (a no-longer-involved couple), and the Folksmen — a quippy, affable bunch who just happen to be played by the same three actors who played the fake metal band Spinal Tap.

  • Starring: Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, John Michael Higgins
  • Director: Christopher Guest
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

National Lampoon's Vacation

It's the movie that made Chevy Chase, or at least Clark Griswold, the archetypal TV dad. He just wants to take his wife and two teen children on a road trip across the country to the beatific Wally World theme park in California, but the universe thwarts him at every turn. Delaying the Griswolds' arrival at Wally World are car accidents, a relative who dies on the trip, a doomed dog, and Clark's fantasy woman. And that's not even mentioning what happens once they arrive at the fabled theme park. It's no wonder Clark's nerves are so frayed by the end of what's supposed to be a relaxing family trip.

  • Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid
  • Director: Harold Ramis
  • Year: 1983
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

In the early 1980s, Paul Reubens was the toast of the Los Angeles comedy scene for "The Pee-wee Show," a stage play where he portrayed high-voiced man-child Pee-wee Herman. In 1986, he brought Pee-wee to the big screen via a road trip comedy that also introduced the mainstream to the inventive and surreal stylings of director Tim Burton. Like Pee-wee, "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" is familiar but wholly new — a hilarious, unpredictable adventure that's really a kids' movie for grown-ups. After his treasured bicycle is stolen, Pee-wee hits the road to get it back. He learns a lot about himself along the way, a journey in which he encounters a rebel who tears the tags off mattresses, entertains a biker bar with a dance to "Tequila," and is almost terrified to death by the ghost of a dead trucker.

  • Starring: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Year: 1985
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Pitch Perfect

"Pitch Perfect" is a musical but a modern kind of musical, one where people break into song not unrealistically to express their intense emotions but because it's just something they do ... which is arguably even stranger. The film takes place in the competitive and surprisingly wild world of college a cappella singing cliques. Musically gifted loner Beca enrolls at Barden University and winds up joining the Bellas, the all-female a cappella group — which is full of characters both highly competitive and idiosyncratic — as they attempt to liven up their stale act and image, all while preparing to square off against other colleges and even Barden's own male vocal group.

  • Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow
  • Director: Jason Moore
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

A Shot in the Dark

Director Blake Edwards and chameleonic comic genius actor Peter Sellers teamed up to make five movies about the bumbling, incompetent, but very confident detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and they're all on HBO Max. But "A Shot in the Dark," the second "Pink Panther" movie (the cartoon character appears in the animated introduction sequence), is where the duo perfected their formula. It's this movie where Clouseau becomes a bundle of silly French stereotypes and where numerous series regulars (meaning Sellers' exasperated comic foils) are introduced, as the not-so-great detective hopelessly tries to solve the murder of a driver at a grand British country estate.

  • Starring: Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, George Sanders
  • Director: Blake Edwards
  • Year: 1964
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

This Is 40

From Judd Apatow, the writer-director who often makes discomfiting comedies about immature or stunted men forced into growing up quick (such as "Knocked Up" and "The Forty-Year-Old Virgin"), comes this slice-of-life about a pair of long-married parents whose day-to-day existence is so messy and true to life that "This Is 40" plays like a comic documentary. Pete and Debbie deal with individual work situations, disappointing elderly parents, and petulant misbehaving children, all while trying to reignite the spark in their marriage and break out a state of listlessness. The comedy comes from viewers recognizing themselves (or their parents) in these situations that are so stressful that all they can do is laugh, as well as the big revelation about adulthood that Pete and Debbie demonstrate — that even 40-year-olds often have no idea how to navigate life.

  • Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox
  • Director: Judd Apatow
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 133 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%

Time Bandits

"Time Bandits" is what happens if you were to combine the cerebral, hard-edged silliness of the Monty Python comedy troupe with hilariously absurd elements of science fiction and fantasy. Conceived by and co-starring guys from the group behind "Life of Brian" and "Flying Circus," "Time Bandits" begins when tweenage history aficionado Kevin follows a band of time-traveling little people who appear in his home one night through a wormhole and must keep a time map out of the clutches of an evil floating head ... as well as the very concept of evil itself. All the while, they pop into various historical and mythical time periods, meeting the likes of Napoleon and Robin Hood.

  • Starring: Craig Warnock, Sean Connery, John Cleese
  • Director: Terry Gilliam
  • Year: 1981
  • Runtime: 116 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%


"Unpregnant" is a fun, breezy, and sweet movie despite its difficult and controversial subject matter. High-achieving Missouri teenager Veronica realizes she's pregnant by her very dumb boyfriend, and in no way ready to be a mother, she decides to terminate the pregnancy. Veronica can't legally do that in her home state, so she plans a road trip to New Mexico, asking her estranged, former best friend Bailey to drive her. Over the eventful trip — which includes a kidnapping, love interests, and a very intense limo driver — the friends reconnect and realize they're both a lot of fun — and funny too.

  • Starring: Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira, Mary McCormack
  • Director: Rachel Lee Goldenberg
  • Year: 2020
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

The Wedding Singer

After establishing himself with silly, brash comedies, Adam Sandler blasted back to the nostalgic year of 1982 with this romantic comedy set in a world of New Wave, neon, and a suburban town's thriving wedding industry. Sandler plays Robbie Hart, a lovelorn romantic content with singing party anthems at wedding receptions every weekend ... until his cruel girlfriend dumps him, sending him into a tailspin that can only be cured by falling in love with an event server named Julia. "The Wedding Singer" is sweet and lovely but also ridiculous, giving viewers odd moments like an elderly woman rapping, Billy Idol vanquishing a villain on a plane, and Sandler sadly belting out '80s hits to confused and angry wedding guests.

  • Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor
  • Director: Frank Coraci
  • Year: 1998
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%