Ranked! Mandatory Top 15 of 2020: Comedy Movies of the Year
This year has been no laughing matter. Quite the opposite. The history books will remember 2020 as void of new releases—Thursday night showings and gargantuan box office numbers a studio’s wet dream. Despite the disadvantages inflicted upon the entertainment industry, it has adapted (not unlike us). Comedies have made their way into our homes, the best of which offering up some much-needed laughter and “feels.” Whether they were lucky enough to see the big screen before the coronavirus pandemic or premiered on streaming services, here are the Mandatory Top 15 of 2020: Comedy Movies of the Year.
Cover Photo: Hulu
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15. 'Yes, God, Yes'
Adapted from her debut short of the same name, Karen Maine’s Yes, God, Yes follows innocent Catholic schoolgirl, Alice (Natalia Dyer), facing a rumor that she “tossed the salad” of one of her classmates (although she doesn’t even know what that means). The film explores Alice’s sexual awakening—provoked by cybersex on AIM—in the wake of religious duplicity. Yes, God, Yes’ humor, while present and effective, is so dry it oftentimes feels bleak.
14. 'Get Duked!'
Writer/director Ninian Doff’s Get Duked! (originally titled Boyz N the Woods) follows a group of working-class seniors on a camping trip in the Scottish Highlands where they become the target/prey of murderous royals (dressed like Purgers). This crazy, smart, and enthusiastic black comedy/hip-hop-inspired adventure is a must-watch.
13. 'Extra Ordinary'
Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s Extra Ordinary follows driving instructor Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins), who possesses supernatural abilities like being able to spend wayward spirits into the afterlife. While she has not used themselves since a paranormal accident killed her father, Rose decides to help Martin (Barry Ward) and his daughter Sarah with the spirit of his nagging wife (among other things). Part horror film, part oddball romantic comedy, Extra Ordinary is sweet, hilarious, and, at times, creepy.
12. 'Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga'
Director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) brought us Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams-led Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The musical comedy (which plays out more like an earnest drama that just so happens to implement European accents and elves) follows singers Lars Erickssong (Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (McAdams) as they represent their country at the Eurovision Song Contest.
11. 'Bill & Ted Face the Music'
The third film in the time-traveling comedy franchise, Bill & Ted Face the Music brought back Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as Bill S. Preston, Esq., and Ted "Theodore" Logan. Largely recapturing everything we loved about the originals, this threequel further cements Reeves' resurgence (among other things).
Brian Duffield’s Spontaneous (based on the novel of the same name) is a startling marriage of genres—a science fiction, romantic/black comedy. It follows the budding romance of high-school seniors Mara (Katherine Langford) and Dylan (Charlie Plummer) amid a pandemic: students are inexplicably exploding. At times exceptionally witty and others, overwhelmingly emotional, Spontaneous succeeds in accentuating the absurd and unforgiving nature of growing up—live each day like it's your last.
9. 'The Trip to Greece'
Michael Winterbottom’s fourth installment in Steeve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s The Trip franchise, The Trip to Greece, see its stars (again) play fictionalized versions of themselves traveling, sightseeing, eating, and engaging in long, laugh-out-loud banter.
8. 'Happiest Season'
A fresh take on the holiday rom-com stars Kristen Stewart as Abby, a young woman planning to propose to her girlfriend, Harper (Mackenzie Davis), while at the latter’s family Christmas party. Twist: Harper hasn’t told her super-conservative family that she’s gay—they think Abby is just a friend. Happiest Season’s stellar cast is rounded out by Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Mary Steenburgen.
7. 'The Gentlemen'
In the vein of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and RocknRolla, The Gentlemen is a return to form for writer/director Guy Ritchie. The film follows Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) and events revolving around his London-based marijuana empire as he looks to cash out of the business. Those familiar with Ritchie's unique banter and flow will immediately acclimate themselves with this cool, consistently witty, and sporadically laugh-out-loud outing.
6. 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm'
Sacha Baron Cohen’s surprise return as Borat Sagdiyev in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan aims to tackle COVID-19, Trump, and our political divide. In it, Borat attempts to bring his 15-year-old daughter (Maria Bakalova) to Vice President Mike Pence, bringing honor to his country once again. While not as fresh, or consistently funny as the first film, Borat’s second outing is much more ambitious.
5. 'The Kid Detective'
Evan Morgan’s mystery-comedy/drama follows Adam Brody as Abe Applebaum, a celebrated kid detective turned washed-up private investigator. As a 30-something-detective, Abe still solves childish cases until, one day, a naive high-school student, Caroline (Sophie Nélisse), hires Abe to solve her boyfriend’s murder — his first “adult” case. The comedic mystery case of The Kid Detective puts Abe on a path to redemption worthy of Brody’s (often) underappreciated talents.
4. 'The King of Staten Island'
Judd Apatow’s semi-autobiographical film follows Scott (Pete Davidson), an aspiring tattoo artist dealing with arrested development induced by the untimely death of his father when he was a child. Its charm stems from Davidson’s dark humor, its story, and cast orbiting around a lost young man (for better or worse). In addition to Davidson, The King of Staten Island stars Bill Burr, Steve Buscemi, Marisa Tomei, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, and Pamela Adlon.
3. 'The Climb'
Michael Covino’s directorial debut sees him play Mike, who sleeps with the fiancee of his best friend, Kyle (co-writer Kyle Marvin). Like the GIF above, The Climb begins with this casual revelation and follows the tumultuous yet enduring friendship of these two men, mirroring the real-life friendship of its leads. Unlike buddy comedies that have come before (for example, Step Brothers), The Climb embraces reality, awkward, relatable, and sweet moments amplifying the hilarity.
2. 'The 40-Year-Old Version'
Radha Blank wrote, directed, produced, and starred in The 40-Year-Old Version, following a fictionalized version of herself swiftly approaching 40 as a down-on-her-luck playwright who decides to use her voice as an artist to become a rapper. The film (as well as Blank’s performance) is hilarious, poignant, and beautiful.
1. 'Palm Springs'
Cristin Milioti’s Sarah meets Andy Samberg’s Nyles at her sister’s wedding; after an inexplicable incident involving an arrow and a cave, Sarah finds herself reliving the same day over (and over) again. Funny thing is, Nyles is stuck in the same time loop. Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs applies a not-so-original concept to its romantic comedy formula with top-tier results.
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