Movie Guide – Best Comedy Films in 2011
Get ready for the worst and best comedy films to watch in 2011…
A film that has nothing to do with erections. Despite the name. Instead, the well-chosen cast (Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton) play off a tight script to ensure this newsdesk comedy full of romance and backstabbing intrigue will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling. There’s nothing wrong with a blockbuster comedy if it’s done right.
Read our Morning Glory review
Vince Vaughn plays a deeply unloveable man who discovers his best friend’s wife is having an affair and wonders whether to tell him or not. This is painfully low on funny both in the premise and in the delivery, and gay rights groups weren’t overjoyed by the trailer, either.
Read our The Dilemma review
Even Stephen Merchant cannot save this off-the-boil Farrelly Brothers comedy about two men let off the marriage leash for a week. If laughs were cheese, there wouldn’t be enough fresh material here to feed a mouse. A shame, because the Brothers have been quite good in the past.
Read our Hall Pass review
First there was Spaced, then Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Now, from the pen of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, comes Paul – a sci-fi geek road trip comedy. Can it live up to the witty British film comedies we’re used to seeing from Pegg? It’s not bad – but it’s not directed by Edgar Wright, either.
Read our Paul review
A sweet, funny and appropriately uncomfortable story about a teenager’s transition into not-quite-adulthood. All the actors do a sterling job and Ayoade should permanently slide over into the director’s chair as a welcome addition to British film.
Read our Submarine review
This big-budget epic stoner comedy by director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) may not live up to its original premise (sweary Dungeons & Dragons) but it’s hard to be truly scathing about a comedy hero who smokes weed and fights dragons while brandishing minotaur pizzles.
Read our Your Highness review
Arthur is elaborate, sparkly, charming and ultimately pointless, like an ornamental unicorn goad carved from a huge rock crystal by blind nuns. Exactly like that. Russell Brand is lovely as the embarrassingly over-privileged cheeky chappy with a history of raucous and debauched behaviour, but the original film had much better lines from the butler. Sorry, Helen Mirren.
Read our Arthur review
A strangely beguiling mixture of character piece and road movie that never leaves the city, Passenger Side is a warm and surprisingly poignant low-fi gem. A slew of cameos prop up two outstanding lead performances as director Matt Bissonnette announces himself as one to watch.
Read our Passenger Side review
Character actor and film demi-god Paul Giamatti is in fine form in this indie tragi-comedy about selfish and selfless acts in suburbia. Attorney Mike (Paul Giamatti)’s business is also not doing so well, so when Mike represents wealthy Joe, who is in the early stages of dementia and has no family in the picture, he offers to become Joe’s guardian… With original material and character-led storytelling, Win Win is a cleverly named wry look at middle American karma.
Read our Win Win review
TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT
The tagline for Take Me Home Tonight reads ‘Best. Night. Ever.’ Pretty bold for a film with little publicity and a cast of not-very-well-knowns. But this surprisingly sweet and funny tale of what was acceptable in the 80’s is full of decade-spanning charm, and enchantingly handled by director Michael Dowse (It’s All Gone Pete Tong).
Read our Take Me Home Tonight review
THE HANGOVER 2
As Todd Phillips insists on telling each of us, personally, on an hourly basis, The Hangover was the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time. And if people enjoyed watching irresponsible men wander around a dangerous city carrying a baby and looking for their possibly dead friend two years ago, then why wouldn’t they love seeing exactly the same thing again? With a monkey!
Read our The Hangover 2 review
Managing to be refreshing yet wearyingly familiar at the same time, Bridesmaids is your typical Apatow fodder: funny, crude, jolly and entirely disposable, only this time it’s with WOMEN WOMEN BLOOMIN WELL WOMEN. A recommended tonic for the predictability of The Hangover Part 2, though.
Read our Bridesmaids review
A potty-mouthed, greedy, grabby teacher (Cameron Diaz) is dumped by her sugar daddy and needs to hunt down some new man support – with the result that she comes into direct conflict with popular teacher Justin Timberlake and therefore needs to perform a carwash in tiny shorts. The casting is a bit colour-by-numbers but apparently the script is pretty strong…
Potiche is the French word for a vase or ornament of superficial beauty and little real value. Idiomatically, it refers to a trophy wife – a pretty, inoffensive girl who’ll sit on her shelf and not cause any trouble. Mischievous satirical prankster François Ozon directs the magnificent Catherine Deneuve in a hilarious and savvy tale of one trophy wife who simply won’t stay in the cabinet.
Read our Potiche review
KUNG FU PANDA 2
Jack Black continues to prove that he’s much better off heard and not seen in the stupidly charming Kung Fu Panda 2. Funny, warm, beautiful to look at and packed to the brim with high-speed tail kicking, it just goes to show that sloppy seconds really aren’t Dreamworks’ style.
Read our Kung Fu Panda 2 review
Well, you never know. It could surprise us all and end up being as genuinely funny as Kung Fu Panda 2. Hapless zookeeper (Kevin James) needs to win back his dream woman, and a bunch of zoo animals voiced by comedy favourites like Adam Sandler and, er, Judd Apatow do their best to help the chappy get the woman back. What’s with all the animal films this year? Rango, the Jim Carrey thing with the penguins… it’s never-ending Year of the Beast.
If we’re very, very lucky this could be the next Office Space – a Hollywood comedy with just enough darkness to bump it up a notch. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day play three friends who decide to moider their awful bosses after being pushed to the limits of their endurance. The horrible bosses in question are Jennifer Aniston and, more interestingly, Kevin Spacey. Strong cast! Let’s hope it’s matched with a bold script!
CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.
We’re hoping for quite a subversive comedy here, since the directors (Glenn Ficarra, John Requa) were responsible not only for I Love You Phillip Morris but also the seminal Bad Santa. Family man (Steve Carrell) is horrified when his wife (the eternally lovely Julianne Moore) demands a divorce. Forced back into the heady world of dating while trying to manage his relationship with his kids, Carrell takes on the services of a style-conscious life coach (Ryan Gosling). Should be fun, with a bit of meat on its bones.
Oh, for God’s sake. Yes, fine, Best For Film has a mad crush on Ryan Reynolds. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for him to do YET ANOTHER body swap comedy. We’ve had enough of them to last a lifetime. At least Reynold switches bodies with his best friend rather than a woman/shorty so perhaps we do have something to be thankful for.
This is going to be so dire it’s actually upsetting us a little bit just thinking about September’s tragic fate. It used to be a beautiful month, full of curling red leaves and little fluffy clouds… Now it’s full of Jamie Foxx and Martin Lawrence coming together to make a feature of their TV show characters Sheneneh and Wanda, who are all in your face, girlfriend and rob banks. There is a very small chance this might be funny. We’ll eat our hat if so. Mmmm. Hat.
30 MINUTES OR LESS
Two fledgling criminals (McBride and Swardson) kidnap a pizza delivery guy (Eisenberg), strap a bomb to his chest and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank… Wow. An old-school comedy caper! It’s by the director of Zombieland, so the indie kids may well love this film. We’re secretly hoping we will, too.
JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN
In the latest Rowan Atkinson outing, Johnny English goes up against international assassins hunting down the Chinese premier. Atkinson proved his excellence in delivering sarcasm in Blackadder, and he’s an enviable talent at body comedy. If only he could find a script to match his comic timing.
BUCKY LARSON: BORN TO BE A STAR
This porn comedy (co-written by Adam Sandler) was due for UK release in May, so we’re not sure what’s happened there. But we’re genuinely looking forward to it! Porn comedies are nearly always funny (who couldn’t love Zack and Miri Make a Porno?) The plot: Bucky (Nick Swardson) has a no-hope job in a small town. His life changes unrecognisably when he discovers his buttoned-up parents used to be adult film stars. This’ll be Sandler rather than Kevin Smith levels of crude, but we’re sure it won’t let the rich heritage of porn comedy down.
Oh yeah. Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick and Eddie Murphy team up in an action comedy for adults. When a group of hard working guys find out they’ve fallen victim to a wealthy business man’s Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence. Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock were both considered for starring roles in this film at one point, with the film being developed as an “African American Ocean’s Eleven (2001)”. Murphy was eventually cast for a supporting role after Ben Stiller signed on as the lead.
WE BOUGHT A ZOO
Set in Southern California, an american father (Matt Damon) moves his young family to the English countryside to renovate and re-open an inherited struggling zoo. This comedy drama by Cameron Crowe should prove to be endearing.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…
Good heavens! Surely this is the perfect Christmas movie! But no, apparently we must wait till February to see the Muppets reunite to save their studio from a greedy oil tycoon, aided only by the voice acting of (rumoured) Michael Cera and cameos from Jack Black and Ricky Gervais among others. February, eh? That seems a very long time to wait.
Watch the full trailer for the Muppet movie! There. Don’t you feel better now? We wouldn’t leave you on a low.
So… there’s our guide to comedy films in 2011. Think we missed one? Comment below and let everyone know. Share the love…