Cinema, like all art forms, can be a powerful tool to explore important themes, make commentary on social issues, and delve into human emotions and psychology. Many excellent films do these things, and are normally hard-hitting dramas. But other genres can do this too; sometimes, you want a film that you can relax into and have a smile on your face throughout; a film that still has a good story or important themes, but which doesn’t require excessive analysing and thinking throughout. Which is why, I’ve put together some of my favourite comedy films. I’ve tried to pick a range here, with different comedic styles, so hopefully there’s something to suit different tastes. Personally, I’m not a fan of excessively crude humour, and I prefer comedy films to have a decent storyline, and a bit of heart or some smart humour in them too. So, without further ado, here we go!
One of my all-time favourite films forever. I seriously can’t get enough of this one. For those unfamiliar its about collegiate a cappella groups, which sounds a bit unusual at first, but it really is great. The humour ranges from sarcasm to physical comedy, to just weirdness at times, but it keeps me giggling throughout. Anna Kendrick (who I have such a girl crush on anyway) plays the lead character, who has a biting, sarcastic sense of humour that appeals to me so much, and every other character has their own personality and humour to go along with it. It’s also got a good storyline about strong female friendships, and the soundtrack is pretty fantastic too.
I was a big fan of Aubrey Plaza’s character, April, in Parks & Rec, with her trademark deadpan humour, so I was definitely interested in seeing her in the lead role of a comedy film. The To Do List is about a girl who was so focussed on her high school grades, she did little else, so in her summer before college, she writes a to do list of sexual experiences to try out. So, as you might expected, there’s a lot of very dirty humour in this one, as well as Plaza’a sarcastic, deadpan style. It’s also got a great supporting cast, and is set in the oh-so-wonderful 90s, which just makes everything even better. It’s also a refreshingly modern, feminist take on casual sex.
My first two choices have been similar in style, and American films, but of course I couldn’t write this list without some good old British humour. Edgar Wright’s entire Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy is pretty great, but the first instalment, Shaun of the Dead is my favourite I think. A zombie comedy film, set in a small English town, and which also involves some relationship drama between the main characters. It’s nice to have a storyline in there, as well as the typical features of a zombie film, and the comedic elements. The comedy is quintessentially British, often dark, cynical and self-deprecating, as well as sarcastic and witty.
This isn’t the most obviously comedic film on the list, but I did say I wanted to include a range of tastes! And this is probably one of the best Scottish films ever made. It’s a dark, gritty story about a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh, and has a dark sense of humour to match. There’s an intense storyline in there too, and it gets violent and brutal, and even a bit disgusting sometimes, so it might not be for everyone! I wouldn’t say black comedy is a genre I go for often either, but in this case it works so well within the film, and I ended up really enjoying it. I’m probably biased when it’s Scottish though, so watch and judge for yourself!
And finally, ending the list on a lighter note. There’s a lot of 80s movies that I really like, and Ferris Bueller sprung to mind quickly when trying to think of comedies I’ve enjoyed. It’s a simple storyline, about a high school student bunking off school for a day, while his principal tries to track him down. A suitably humorous premise, I’m sure most would agree. It’s an easy, fun film to watch, with a certain innocence to it – none of the dirty or black humour in some of my other choices! -, and shows us how to slow down and enjoy life. One of the more unique features is Ferris breaking the fourth wall to tell us his inner thoughts, providing his own funny commentary on what’s happening.