Best Comedy Films 2004
#5 – Dodgeball
Dodgeball can’t be called the greatest of the Stiller-Vaughn-Wilson-Carell-Ferrell brand of humour films, but it certainly had its moments. A large part of that was the fantastically stupid characters that populated the Dodgeball universe. Ben Stiller’s ridiculous fitness-obsessed antagonist was consistently funny, and Alan Tudyk (who we all love from Firefly and, uh, I, Robot) did a brilliant job, even against the stoic and uninteresting Vince Vaughn.
There’s nothing quite like watching Rip Torn throw a wrench at Justin Long’s face.
#4 – Mean Girls
Hey, remember when Lindsey Lohan wasn’t a complete car crash? (Boy am I going to regret writing that sentence if she ever gets behind the wheel.) Mean Girls was an amazingly funny, quotable film, which saw innocent-but-slowly-turning-corrupt Cady going up against the snooty girls clique. Along the way, she learns a lesson about friendship, and falls in love with a man who is clearly too old to be in high school.
It’s a little painful to watch Mean Girls today, mainly because you can’t help but tut and sigh “what went wrong?” every few minutes.
#3 – Anchorman
I love Anchorman as much as I love lamp, and that’s a hell of a lot. With the guaranteed-to-be-awful sequel on the way, it makes the first Anchorman all the sweeter. With Will Ferrell at his best, Steve Carell knocking out the constant non-sequitors, David Koechner providing a beautiful southern drawl and Paul Rudd being… around… Anchorman is one of the most indelibly quotable films of all time.
The parking lot fight between news station teams has to be one of the best scenes on 2004. Pleeease let Anchorman 2 be ok. PLEASE?
#2 – Napoleon Dynamite
Most people don’t get Napoleon Dynamite on their first watch. I certainly didn’t. It’s weird, it’s flat, it has Jon Heder’s face, it’s completely unconventional. Why the long-suffering Napoleon makes for a strangely compelling protagonist is unknown, only that, for those of us who spent high school drawing mythical creatures and dreaming of nun-chucks, we can see our own ineptitude mirrored back at us. For the two years after this film was released, you couldn’t walk down the street without someone yelling “GAAAWD”, or listing “bow-hunting” as one of their skills.
#1 – Shaun of the Dead
The start of the Wright-Pegg-Frost triumvirate, Shaun of the Dead has aged the best out of the comedies of 2004. The writing and performances are excellently funny, but even better is the filmmaking abilities of Edgar Wright. The use of colour, the long, single takes, the foreshadowing, the subtle references to the zombie genre, even the use of swearwords, all are indicative of a masterful director. It makes Shaun of the Dead a real treat to watch even now.
And who of us doesn’t remember the sight of an old man getting smacked with pool cues set to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now with a warm fondness?