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10 Road Trip Comedies That You Can’t Miss

27 November 2012 | Features, Film Lists, Guest Posts | by David Zou

When it comes to comedy, the road trip movie conjures up the kind of fish-out-of-water conflict that generates genuine laughs. The tight proximity that these travelers must share during their obstacle-ridden trips adds to the awkward clash of quirks and nerve-wrecking situations. These 10 road trip comedies managed to grab notable actors, critical approval and financial success during their long distance box office journeys.

Dumb and Dumber


Raking in over $247 million during its world-wide trek, this 1994 Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale) duet about dim-witted do-gooders was directed by a biological duo Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary). These road-tripping roommates forget to pack their intelligence prior to leaving their residence in Providence, Rhode Island before their trip to Aspen, Colorado.


Due Date


After previously sending Zach Galifianakis on a Las Vegas bachelor party road trip in the huge hit The Hangover, director Todd Philips threw him back on the wild road in 2010 with Robert Downey Jr. (The Avengers). Downey’s character just wants to make it in time to witness his child’s birth, but Galifianakis’s wannabe actor is going to make that a really difficult proposition.




Screenwriter and director Alexander Payne (The Descendants) adapted author Rex Pickett’s novel for this 2004 romantic “dramedy” starring Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man) and Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3) on a California wine tour road trip that unexpectedly turns into a love connection. Even the Academy Awards made a celebratory toast to this film by bestowing it with an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.


The Muppet Movie

The Muppet Movie

Jim Henson makes the perfect travel agent for colorful puppets, especially after booking a cross-country trip around America for the Muppets. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Animal lead the way in this first of many Muppet movies that was released for families to repeatedly enjoy during the summer of 1979.


National Lampoon’s Vacation


The old saying for writers goes: “write what you know”, and that is exactly what screenwriter John Hughes did when he adapted his own short story about a personal family vacation into the road trip movie that became a Chevy Chase franchise – the 1983 hit comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation. Never has the winding road to an amusement park been blocked with so many obstructions.


Little Miss Sunshine


This is the story of a dysfunctional family learning to finally function together during the unpredictable ride to bring the youngest member to a beauty pageant. Not only did screenwriter Michael Arndt win an Academy Award for his Little Miss Sunshine script, but he also received a nomination for the mega moneymaker Toy Story 3 and was granted the incredible gig of penning the screenplay for the 7th “Star Wars” installment.


The Blues Brothers

the blues brothers

The original “men in black”, the Blues Brothers played by Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters) and John Belushi (Animal House) lead a musically-inclined cast that includes Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway and James Brown in this 1980 hit directed by John Landis. Landis is no stranger to comedic cinematic travelers after crafting Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s Africa to New York City trip in Coming to America, Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd’s America to the Soviet Union voyage in Spies Like Us, and Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short’s Hollywood to Mexico trip in Three Amigos.


Planes, Trains and Automobiles


What better title for a road trip movie than this? Written, directed and produced by John Hughes, normally known for teen classics like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, this three-day road trip takes Steve Martin’s advertising executive from New York City to his family in Chicago for Thanksgiving dinner – with John Candy’s look-on-the-bright-side character talking him to death.


Pee Wee’s Big Adventure


Before Paul Reubens had his own Saturday Morning children’s television series called Pee Wee’s Playhouse, he starred in this 1985 feature film debut of director Tim Burton (Batman, Alice in Wonderland). This hilarious road trip takes the tightly suited red bow-tie wearing man-child Pee Wee Herman with over-the-top urgency to reclaim his pride and joy – a bicycle.


Midnight Run


This time around, the road trip genre mixes and matches with the action comedy to follow the problematic travels of a bounty hunter (Robert De Niro) and a $15 million embezzling accountant (Charles Grodin) who is trying to skip out on bail. This 1988 odd couple hit also took the good graces of prominent movie critics along for the ride as well, with Roger Ebert giving Midnight Run 3.5 out of 4 stars.

This has been a guest post from Skedaddle Car Hire, the experts at planning out road trips down under. If you’re looking to go on the trip of a lifetime, they’ll be able to help you out with a car.


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  • Steven Flores

    With the exception of Midnight Run, I’ve seen everything else though my least favorite is Due Date. I don’t think Zach Galifianakis is funny.

    Yet, if National Lampoon’s Vacation or Little Miss Sunshine is on TV, my parents will be watching it. They love those 2 movies.

    • David Zou

      How can one not love Little Miss Sunshine? I heard pretty good things about Midnight Run so I think you should give it a try.

  • Stephanie

    Great post! My favorite, on this list, is Little Miss Sunshine. I also liked Sideways and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

    • David Zou

      Thanks Stephanie.Little Miss Sunshine is also my fave in the bunch too.

  • Mark Harding

    There’s a little seldom seen film that was made back in ’73 called Your Three Minutes Are Up starring Beau Bridges and Ron Leibman. Some think that the writers of Sideways were inspired by it, because the parallels are quite close. It’s about 2 old friends with one about to be married go on a road trip in southern CA chasing women and doing scams. Sound familiar? It’s actually quite good and ended up a sleeper hit. But try to find it on video which I doubt you can. I don’t think it has ever been released on any format.

  • basuperstar

    now this is a list, also one of the most quotable group of movies you’re likely to see…. “I like it a lot”