For many of us, there’s nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than settling into the couch and watching a comedy that’s actually funny. Dramas can drag, action movies can be ridiculous, and horror filmsare designed to be stressful. Comedies are fun and, more often than not, predictable. Not every cinematic experience needs to be an adventure, and sometimes you just want a good laugh.
Luckily, Netflix’s repository of movies has grown quite large, though we can’t blame you if you don’t want to spend hours searching for the right film. The service offers dozens ofAmerican Pie-style teen comedies, not to mention a slew of B-movies you’ll never want to sit through, both of which can make things overwhelming if you don’t know where to look.
To make your choice a bit easier, we’ve done all the legwork on your behalf. Put on some kneepads, because the slapping is nigh.
The Coen Brothers have, over the years, perfected a very simple recipe for comedy: Take characters who think they’re smarter than they are and throw them into a situation that goes way over their heads. In Burn After Reading, the comedy of errors begins when CIA analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) quits his job rather than take a demotion, opting to work on a memoir. His unfaithful wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton) decides to divorce him, making a copy of his important files, which fall into the hands of two gym employees, Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (Brad Pitt), who figure they can get a ransom from Cox. Their ham-handed attempt to sell state secrets very quickly goes awry. The Coens’ writing is as sharp as ever, and the all-star cast gives outstanding performances.
The premise behind Tucker and Dale vs. Evil revolves around a simple mistake. A gang of college undergrads on a weekend getaway mistake two backwoods rednecks (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) for psychotic killers after the duo saves a young girl who falls in the water and gets knocked unconscious. The ensuing comedic ride is a one-trick pony, yet it’s also one lined with a stream of upended clichs that are equally funny and horrific. The slapstick violence and solid performances, particularly from Tudyk and Labine, also imbue the Canadian flick with an air of uniqueness in an otherwise tepid field … even before one of the kids accidentally jumps in the wood chipper and the bodies start to pile up.
These days, the late Doug Kenney is not a household name, yet his comedies have become some of the most iconic of all time. TheHarvard grad co-founded National Lampoon magazine in the early ’70s and later penned seminal films such asAnimal HouseandCaddyshack, only to fall into obscurity in the decades since. Director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer)puts Kenney’s madcap career under the knife inA Futile and Stupid Gesture, while assembling a host of modern-day actors to play legendary comedians like Chevy Chase (Joel McHale) and Bill Murray (Jon Daly). It’s a somewhat surface-level biopic — it churns through the highlights more than anything else — but Will Forte is commendable as Kenney, who was absurd as he was brilliant.
Few directors, writers, or producers showcase a visual or narrative style as distinct as Wes Anderson’s. The whimsical Moonrise Kingdom is one of his best to date. It tells the story of a young scout (Jared Gilman) and a bookish girl (Kara Hayward) who decide to run away together in an effort to temporarily escape their lives — and more so, the parental figures surrounding them. A beautiful, subdued palette makes this oddity of a film a joy to watch, while a tremendous supporting cast — which includes Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, and others — helps capture an eccentric summer filled with affairs and beachside portraits.
Part crime drama, part dark comedy, In Bruges follows two hitmen who are in hiding after their latest “hit” goes awry. Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) must hide out in Bruges, a charming city in Belgium, for two weeks awaiting further instruction from their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). As they settle in, they realize that maybe the hitman life isn’t for them. Ray has met a girl that he likes, and Ken has found a new appreciation for the simpler life. But when Harry finds this out he is none too pleased and travels to Bruges to knock some sense into them — a.k.a. kill them. Will they get to live their fantasy life in Bruges, or meet their demise?
Breaking up is awful, especially when your ex and her new flame happen to be staying at the same resort as you in Hawaii. That’s essentially the premise behindForgetting Sarah Marshall,a Judd Apatow production that sees funny guyJason Segel andKristen Bell (ofVeronica Mars fame) attempting to coexist in what many would deem paradise. The sharp film deftly balances tender moments with raunchier episodes — cue Russell Brand’s portrayal of Aldous Snow, Bell’s rock star boyfriend — while dishing out a variety of cameos from the likes of Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, and others. Mila Kunis rounds out the film’s all-star cast as the receptionist who capture’s Segel’s heart and, in the process, pretty much everyone who’s seen the film.
Hot Fuzz is basically actor-writer Simon Pegg’s shot at the buddy-cop genre, though, one spliced with the same comedic elements that made his previous effortShaun of the Dead so amusing. Pegg stars as a former London constable who’s assigned to investigate the sleepy town of Sanford alongside the dimwitted Butterman (Nick Frost). However, things start to become interesting following a string of so-called “accidents” plaguing various members of the town. The biting, British film is the second in director Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy, which ultimately culminates with The World’s End and capitalizes on the fantastic interplay between Pegg and Frost.
BeforeCluelessandMean Girls, there wasHeathers, a cult classic that takes aim at high-school cliques, culture, and teenage suicide through a downrightcynicallens. The morbid black comedy follows oneVeronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), a popular high-school studentwho begins dating a sociopath named “J.D.” (Christian Slater), only to get wrapped up in a series of grisly murders that have been carefully masked as suicides. Although the bleak plot mostly focuses on the demise of three of Sawyer’s so-called friends (each named Heather), screenwriter Daniel Waters still manages to address the film’s more sadistic themes with a kind of self-aware humor that — sadly — just isn’t present in today’s teenage comedies.
One of the first supernatural comedies, or certainly one of the most beloved, Ghostbusters became an instant classic upon its debut. Dan Aykroyd wrote and starred in the film alongside the likes of Bill Murray and the late Harold Ramis. It’s centered on a team of eccentric parapsychologists who create a business exterminating ghosts, but the real story begins when they discover a demon spirit inhabiting the apartment of cellist Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver).
The common tale of a man and his quest to lose his virginity, though some would say that by the age of 40 that crusade should have already been done. That’s what makes The 40-Year-Old Virgin a hilarious treat. Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) spent most of his life shy and awkward around women, he had a few girlfriends, but would usually just strike out. He is now 40, and his friends have decided that it’s finally time for Andy to lose his virginity. From getting his chest waxed to going to a “Date-a-Palooza,” he tries just about anything to get a lady. He meets a local shop owner named Trish (Catherine Keener) and a romance starts to bloom. Will this be the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream?
A comedy classic, Happy Gilmore has finally made its way onto Netflix. When Happy (Adam Sandler), a hockey player turned pariah, finds out his aging grandmother might lose her house, he takes his skills to the golf course to try and save it. He’s more than out of place sporting his hockey jersey on the course, but when Happy starts winning, people take notice. From getting punched by Bob Barker to wrestling an alligator, nothing is off limits in this movie. For the lovers of dry — sometimes crude — humor, Happy Gilmore is for you.
A Netflix original movie, The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, is a father-son bonding movie starring Josh Brolin and newcomer Montana Jordan. Buck, a hunter made famous for his popular TV show and hunting whitetail deer, decides that it’s time to take his estranged son out for his first hunting trip. Along for the ride is Buck’s cameraman, Don (Danny McBride), who documents the trip as it doesn’t pan out the way Buck expected. This lighthearted comedy shows the lengths to which a father will go to connect with his son.