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The 50 Best Comedy Movies of the Decade

Reality didn’t always give us that much to laugh about in the past decade, but these movies sure did.
Decade Best Comedy Cover
By  · Published on November 16th, 2019

10. Everybody Wants Some!!


What Everybody Wants Some!! lacks in pant length it makes up in laughs. One of the best hangout comedies of the decade, Richard Linklater’s Texan period piece follows Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman on a baseball scholarship, as he and his teammates float from party to party, pledging allegiance to whatever clique will get them laid. A noble pursuit to be sure. Everybody Wants Some!! sports a veritable arsenal of doofuses who drift together for 120 minutes as only jock ding dongs can.  It’s the kind of lackadaisical, light-hearted coasting that prompts cozy chuckles and risk-free escapism, that frankly, makes for a big ole’ home run. (Meg Shields)

9. Sorry to Bother You


Boots Riley’s fiery commentary tackling the tangled intersections of race, class, and capitalism is easily amongst the most stylistically distinctive films of the past decade. It’s the sort of movie that you can watch several times and still find yourself catching new significant details and references you missed in previous viewings. It’s also the sort of movie that quotes The Last Dragon. In other words, sweet cinematic dreams are made of this.

8. The Death of Stalin


Simply put, Armando Iannucci makes clever commentary about the depths of human stupidity. In other words, he’s the hero we deserve and the one we need right now. As opposed to the contemporary settings of most of his other works, where the backstabbing tends to be figurative and assassinations mostly of the character variety, The Death of Stalin’s mid-50s USSR setting opens the door to a lot more physical-type stabbing and the like, resulting in a work with a larger physical comedy component than anything else Ianucci has done to date. Also, if this was a contest for the funniest opening scene, The Death of Stalin would win hands down, as two middle-management types scrambling to re-stage a concert they forgot to record for Stalin (“It’s fine. Sit down! Do not defy me!”) is abso-fuckin’-lutely hilarious

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel


“You’re looking so well darling, you really are. I don’t know what sort of cream they put on you down at the morgue but, I want some.” As mentioned in Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s entire filmography is imbued with a certain subtle humor, but as far as comedy goes The Grand Budapest Hotel raises things to the next level by putting the outrageous M. Gustave front and center. The humor in most of Anderson’s other films might be described as a gentle simmer; Grand Budapest is a rolling boil. Before seeing this film, I never thought Ralph Fiennes was a particularly funny dude; now I will never forget this fact this life.

6. The Lobster


If candy-coated sentiments about “love is blind” and whatnot have ever left you rolling your eyes to the heavens or vaguely itching to punch someone in the mouth, The Lobster is the movie for you. Yorgos Lanthiamos’s sci-fi satire on societal norms and the genuinely insane lengths to which many of us will go in the service of appearing “normal” is bleak, bitter, and if you’re in the right mind frame, really fucking funny.

5. Game Night


Debatably the most surprising film on the list, Game Night looked like an underwhelming attempt at dull, mass-appeal comedy from the get-go—at worst, a forgettable bomb, at best a dad-rock-equivalent stand out. But directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein apparently had the decade’s finest in mind when imagining their comedic take on David Fincher’s The Game. Their uncharacteristically nuanced direction turned out to be a perfect stage for Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams’ blunt brand of realist comedy. Although, Jesse Plemons’ timelessly creepy performance (with the help of famous pup Olivia) might be the most memorable aspect, which is saying a lot for a movie that inspires belly laughs multiple times a minute. Maybe all studio-contrived comedies don’t have to be so empty after all? (Luke Hicks)

4. Spy


In terms of who’s who of comedy, one of the most influential figures of the past decade is easily Melissa McCarthy, who rose to household name status after her star-making performance in Bridesmaids. While McCarthy’s first collaboration with Paul Feig brought her talents to the public’s attention, this later team-up gives McCarthy the opportunity to shine in a starring role while working with equally strong material. Equal parts loving homage and barbed mockery of the spy genre, Spy targets all your (least) favorite espionage tropes while being a pretty damn good tale of double-crossing and espionage in its own right. The casting only adds to the magic, from Jude Law as the irredeemably narcissistic James Bond spoof Bradley Fine to Jason Statham as Rick Ford, a parody of basically every other character the actor has ever played.

3. Paddington 2


Oh, where to begin with Paddington, a magical, wonderful bear and one of the purest forces for good our world has ever known. His comedic charms delighted in the first film, but the sequel is really where this series took off, where it found its footing and won our hearts. From sight gags that should be taught in school to a hilarious turn from Hugh Grant that cements him as the Daniel Day-Lewis of comedy, Paddington 2 is a genuine showstopper. Watching and then returning to the film feels like getting a big, warm hug from someone you love. The film and its eponymous bear are enchanting, hilarious, and they have a heart bigger than Peru. The sequel proves, in case there was any doubt in this regard, that we could use a bit more Paddington in our lives. (Anna Swanson)

2. Toni Erdmann


At a somewhat indulgently paced 162 minutes, Maren Ade’s delightfully odd comedy about a prankster father trying to reconnect with his estranged adult daughter feels, when you first start watching, like it’s going to be one of those cleverly made but ultimately sedate “comedies” that will leave you with a handful of polite, tasteful chuckles. This ultimately couldn’t be further from the truth, as Toni Erdmann slowly but surely builds up to some of the biggest belly-laughs to be found in any film released in the past decade. Tl;dr, I’ve got two words for you: Naked. Party. There were tears of mirth streaming down my face. My ribs still twinge at the memory of watching that scene for the first time.

1. What We Do in the Shadows


There was never any question about what would fill the top spot on this list. It was my personal #1, and when I polled the rest of FSR it was the only film that every single respondent mentioned—and for good reason. This vampire mockumentary is clever, creative, and insanely funny. It’s bursting at the seams with ideas, and the obvious signs of its shoestring budget—a glimpse of a wire, the fact that the werewolves are so obviously a bunch of dudes who can’t even afford full wolf costumes—somehow only add to the film’s charm. As FSR’s own Brianna Zigler wrote a while back, What We Do in the Shadows didn’t just bring Taika Waititi to international attention, it made vampires cool again after they got thoroughly de-fanged by the Twilight franchise. Having spawned an entertaining television show spinoff of the same name and gaining a growing reputation amongst moviegoers in the years since its release, What We Do in the Shadows is not just the best comedy of the decade, but one of the best comedy films of all time. From its colorful cast of memorable characters to its long list of quotable zingers, What We Do in the Shadows is the sort of comedy that, quite like a vampire, never really gets old.

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Ciara Wardlow is a human being who writes about movies and other things. Sometimes she tries to be funny on Twitter.