Browsing Netflix’s comedy section brings up a wide range of formats, from schmaltzy rom-coms to raunchy stand-up specials, and pitch-black comedies to goofy kids movies. It seems like we could all use a laugh right now, but not all movies branded as comedies will make you laugh out loud — some are more of a chuckle quietly to yourself situation.
That’s why we’re rounding up 10 of the straight-up funniest movies available on streaming right now, from classics like Groundhog Day and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to newer indies like Booksmart and Oh, Hello on Broadway. Any one of them is guaranteed to leave you in stitches.
Based on the French play La Cage aux Folles, The Birdcage stars Robin Williams as Armand, the owner of a South Beach drag club, and Nathan Lane as Albert aka Starina, his partner and star drag queen. When their son, Val, brings home his fiancée — who happens to be the daughter of a Republican congressman — Armand agrees to host a dinner for her family. Hijinks ensue as the flamboyant men try to pass as straight. Williams and Lane are perfectly matched, and their banter is frequently laugh out loud funny. Plus, the message of acceptance is sweet, even if a bit dated.
The Birdcage is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is sweet, charming, and kind; it’s also raunchy, rowdy, and positively packed the the brim with jokes. Booksmart stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein as high school best friends and straight-A students who agree to spend their last night before graduation making up for all the fun they missed while hammering away at extra homework and studying for AP tests. Of course nothing goes according to plan, and the two spend the evening bouncing around from party to party. (These shenanigans are often punctuated by visits from Billie Lourd, who steals every scene she’s in with a captivating weirdness.)
Our review called Booksmart, “a smarter, funnier Superbad.” It will be a crime if it doesn’t join the canon of essential coming-of-age comedies.
Booksmart is streaming on Hulu.
This cult classic comedy turns the board game Clue into an intriguing whodunnit, but with a script by comedy pros John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers) and Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny), the mystery takes a bit of a backseat to the offbeat humor. With an incredible cast of comedy legends — Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesley Ann Warren — as the chromatic characters of the board game, every scene is packed with zingers. And still the classic wrap-up scene in which the murderer is unveiled is as satisfying as any Agatha Christie. Or should I say wrap-up scenes: the theatrical release had three different endings. (All three endings are included in the home release.)
Clue is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Rip Torn’s motto as dodgeball legend Patches O’Houlihan was an instant classic one-liner in the unapologetically goofy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Starring Vince Vaughn as the owner of a struggling small gym who enters a dodgeball competition to raise the money and avoid foreclosure, Dodgeball mostly serves as a vehicle for Ben Stiller to flex (literally and metaphorically) as the villainous owner of the corporate rival, Globo Gym. Still, the supporting cast of Christine Taylor, Alan Tudyk, Chris Williams, Justin Long, and Stephen Root more than hold their own.
Dodgeball is streaming on HBO (also available as an Amazon Prime or Hulu add-on).
Groundhog Day is so synonymous with its time-looping narrative structure that it’s easy to forget just how freakin’ funny it is. Yes, writer Danny Rubin and writer-director Harold Ramis turned a standard Bill Murray comedy into a deep text worthy of spiritual analysis, but what keeps us coming back to Groundhog Day is Murray’s hilarious performance as misanthropic weatherman Phil Connors. Always delightfully witty, even as he moves from cynicism to denial to opportunism to nihilism and ultimately to acceptance and hope, Phil Connors is one of the best comedy protagonists of all time.
Groundhog Day is streaming on Netflix.
Love Dodgeball but want a PG option? Ben Stiller’s White Goodman shares a lot in common with his Heavyweights character, Tony Perkis. Both are egotistical-yet-insecure fitness gurus who spend most of the movie intimidating a group of scrappy underdogs. In the Disney movie, co-written by Judd Apatow, Perkis takes over a beloved fat camp and starts terrorizing the campers. I rewatched the 1995 film soon after Disney Plus launched and was pleasantly surprised that it mostly holds up — both in terms of jokes and subject matter.
Heavyweights is streaming on Disney Plus.
Oh, Hello on Broadway
When John Mulaney (SNL, New in Town) guest starred on Nick Kroll’s sketch show, Kroll Show, as George St. Geegland, a crotchety old Upper West Sider who hosts a public access prank show called Too Much Tuna with his friend Gil Faizon (played by Kroll), instant classic characters were born. Both veterans of the New York alt comedy scene, Kroll and Mulaney eventually brought the increasingly deranged George and Gil all the way to Broadway. The Netflix recording of the stage show is just as weird and silly and stupid as the sketches; It’s so much fun to watch these two men clearly having just the best time.
Oh, Hello on Broadway is streaming on Netflix.
One of the most quotable movies ever made, Step Brothers is chock full of incredible one-liners like: “I’m Dale, but you have to call me dragon.”; “DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS?!”; and, “It’s the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer.” Those lines aren’t especially hysterical on paper — it’s the performances from Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, two comedic actors at the top of their game, that make them classics. As aimless and juvenile step brothers who hate each other on site, the movie is at its best when Ferrell and Reilly are hurling insults at each other, but the supporting cast of Adam Scott, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, and Kathryn Hahn all get in a few choice zingers of their own.
Step Brothers is streaming on Netflix.
Throw Momma From the Train
Writers-block-afflicted novelist Larry Donner (Billy Crystal) gets pulled into a web of misunderstanding and murder by his student Owen Lift (Danny DeVito) in this spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Owen thinks that Larry agreed to kill his overbearing mother (Anne Ramsey) in exchange for Owen killing Larry’s ex-wife Margaret (Kate Mulgrew). Larry, of course, agreed to no such thing. The ensuing tension between Crystal, DeVito, and Ramsey is silly and fun, as Larry tries to avoid being accused of Margaret’s murder even while Owen hounds him to hold up his end of the perceived bargain.
Throw Momma From the Train is streaming on Amazon Prime and Tubi.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
That director Robert Zemeckis managed to pull off an original comedy-mystery story in which Warner Bros. and Disney cartoon characters “act” alongside live-action humans is an almost unbelievable feat. The movie is as funny as it is groundbreaking, with Roger Rabbit enlisting the help of toon-hating detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to help exonerate him of the murder of Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye).
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is streaming on Disney Plus.
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