Sometimes, even the most hardened cinephiles can enjoy a mainstream comedy, even if it’s not quite in the same league as what they’re used to. Speaking as a cinephile myself who despises most mainstream American comedy a la Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry, I’ve attempted to round up some of the higher quality mainstream comedies that are quite good and very watchable.
Sure, these movies may not all be high cinematic art, but they are of a higher intellect than the truly bad “comedies” of today’s cinema. I hope that you will find some lightweight enjoyment out of the following films, and they might even help restore your faith in the genre stance in American cinema. These are fifteen American comedy films of the twenty-first century that can be enjoyed by even the most hardcore cinephiles and high-brow movie watchers.
15. Old School
A good frat comedy for the twenty-first century, Old School packs in the laughs with it’s hilarious cast, often clever dialog and premise which lends itself to many a chortle. Big laughs in particular come from Will Ferrell, in one of his earlier performances. Old School may not be a masterpiece of American cinema, but for some good laughs and some fun viewing, it’s worth a look.
14. Wedding Crashers
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s chemistry completely make this film complete watchable, and it’s actually a pretty decent comedy replete with a lot of laughs and a good comedic premise. The supporting cast is great, and while the script never quite escapes genre formula, Wedding Crashers is edgier, funnier and more memorable than your average romantic comedy.
13. The Hangover
One of the most popular comedies of recent years, The Hangover combines raunch and true laughs to successfully create a comedy with a funny premise and good characters. The cast shares great chemistry, and The Hangover is simply a very funny film with a good sense of humor. The film’s structure allows for plenty of hilarity, and by the end, it’s a ride you’ll be glad to have been on.
12. This is the End
This is the End is a hilarious satire of disaster flicks, and contains one of the best comedy casts ever. Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel and Jonah Hill lead an immensely talented group, and the laughs are non-stop. Self-deprecating comedy is big here – all the actors play themselves in the film. There’s lot of raunchy humor, and all the performances are truly committed and funny. This is a likable film with a wonderful ensemble and a truly laugh-a-minute script. It’s really worth checking out.
11. The Other Guys
Probably the highest quality entry in Adam McKay’s filmography, The Other Guys is a truly clever spoof of buddy-cop comedies, and it’s full of big laughs and impressive action set pieces. Will Ferrell is hysterical here, and in the role of the straight man, Mark Wahlberg has good comedic timing and is entertaining to watch. The Other Guys may not bend the rules of comedy filmmaking, but for what it’s worth, it’s a great watch.
10. Zack and Miri Make A Porno
Kevin Smith is known for his View Askew films, but with Zack and Miri Make A Porno, he departed from his regular universe and tried his hand at a slightly different breed of comedy. Some love this film, others hate it, but it’s worth watching as it’s edgy, hilarious and features good performances from Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen and the rest of the cast.
9. 21 Jump Street
With 21 Jump Street, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller did the unexpected by taking an 80’s television show and turning it into a hilarious and entertaining comedy with lots of flair and personality. There are endless amounts of hilarity here, and thanks to perfect delivery by the cast and some genre-spoofing zaniness, this film was a massive success. Jonah Hill is as funny as usual, and Channing Tatum makes a real impression in his first real comedic role. The two have great chemistry, and the film is great comedy.