In the 90s, comedies were still going strong at the box office. In fact, Home Alone became the third highest grossing movie of all time. Film comedies were changing with the new arrivals of Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey. Both would go on to make several memorable comedies of the decade that are now deemed classics.
Of course, not every comedy in the 90s banked big amounts at the movie theater. Here are ten that prove just because you don’t produce big numbers at the box office, the laughs are still there.
1. So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993)
After the megahit Wayne’s World hit the big screen, Mike Myers had a lot of people curious about his next film. While a Wayne’s World sequel was in the works, Myers starred in this film about a hesitant bachelor who finally finds the love of his life. The only problem – she might be a serial killer. Opposite Myers is the extremely talented Nancy Travis in one of her best roles. Serial killer or not, she does a great job making us wonder which.
The movie is a laugh riot with a strong cast that brings the funny as much as Myers does. The versatile Anthony LaPaglia, Oscar Winner Brenda Fricker, and the late great Alan Arkin in his most underrated comedic role as a police captain who’s way too nice. Also in a very funny role is – Mike Myers. Yes, he plays a dual role as his own character’s father making Myers twice as funny. He would go to play multiple roles in the Austin Powers films, but this would be his first attempt which was a success.
There are also a handful of cameos that stick out as some of the funniest moments of the movie. Firstly, Phil Hartman plays a tour guide for Alcatraz Prison who goes by the name Vicki. Also, Charles Grodin and Steven Wright bring their unique brands of humor to the screen. Last and certainly not the least is Michael Richards in a hilarious scene as Insensitive Man. Put all of it together and it’s a fun non-stop laugh fest.
2. Private Parts (1997)
The “King of all Media” Howard Stern went from radio to books to the big screen with this film. Known for crude humor and one shocking thing after another, his interviews would cut right to the juicy tidbits that everyone wanted to know. When the movie was released, we got what we expected with graphic sexual moments that could only happen on the radio.
We also got a great underdog story about a wannabe disc jockey who finds his voice. Stern plays himself and does it well. Also playing themselves are Stern’s fellow radio team who all turn in solid performances. And appearing in early roles are future stars Allison Janney, Mary McCormack and Paul Giamatti. The lengths that Stern goes are not just unpredictable, they’re funny. This film packs the same number of laughs of one of his radio shows. Especially when Giamatti teaches Stern how to say the correct call letters for WNBC as “W-EEHE-EENN-B-C!”
3. Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead (1991)
Everybody knew Christina Appelgate from Married… with Children as the dim-witted Kelly Bundy. Here she grows up as a teenager who must take care of her four siblings after their elderly babysitter croaks. Their single mother went to Australia for the summer and instead of calling her, they decide to handle this most unusual situation on their own. Appelgate lies about her age and applies for an executive assistant in fashion for which she is obviously unqualified. She impresses the head boss and keeps the lies going. When her siblings want to throw responsibility off the roof like dinner plates for skeet shooting, Appelgate steps in as mother hen.
It’s a story about growing up and learning how to be an adult. But the laughs aren’t left out as each sibling brings the funny. What could be seen as a silly teen comedy turns into a coming-of-age story of a family sticking together.
4. Fools Rush In (1997)
Matthew Perry will always be known as Chandler Bing from the ultra-loved sitcom Friends. However, Perry said Fools Rush In was his best film. That’s because it’s a different kind of rom com. Instead of the guy getting the girl, marrying her and having kids, it all happens backwards. Opposite Perry is the great Salma Hayek early in her long illustrious career. This is her first starring role in a comedy and she holds her own alongside the hysterically funny Perry. This started a long line of comedic performances for Hayek that led to the films Dogma, Grown Ups and Puss In Boots.
This was Perry’s first film during the ten-year run of Friends; he continued to do successful comedies like the big hit The Whole Nine Yards and The Kid both co-starring Bruce Willis. Perry and Hayek are great together and it would have been nice to see them on-screen again. But all we have is this film and it’s one worth seeing.
5. Rookie Of The Year (1993)
A lot of young boys dream of being a baseball player when they grow up. 12-year-old Henry Rowengartner didn’t have to wait that long. An injury in his futile little league career turned into an opportunity to play professional baseball. When the tendons in his arm heal in an unusual way, he’s able to throw a pitch like Roger Clemons. The Chicago Cubs recruit him immediately and before you know it, he’s on the mound. Thomas Ian Nicholas plays Henry in his first major role and later went on to star in the American Pie films. Gary Busey turns in a memorable performance as the aging pitcher who mentors Henry. And as the bumbling pitching coach – Daniel Stern – who also directs his one and only film.
While there are plenty of laughs, there are also a few heartfelt moments. This is due in large part to Bill Conti’s high-powered musical score that makes the key moments even stronger. He should know about great scores since he’s responsible for the music of the Rocky movies. While this film seems like a kid’s movie, it’s just as enjoyable for adults too.