I had a teacher that once said that drama is for feelings and comedy is for thought. At first I dismissed this idea because how can a movie like Little Nicky or Dickie Roberts: Child Star be thoughtful. But if you think about it, although they are horrible movies, they are indeed thoughtful. The former deals with living up to your father’s expectations, while the latter is about the effects stardom have on a child.
For this reason comedy is my favorite genre. Can you make a drama about a girl trying infiltrate a clique of popular girls to bring them down, and eventually becoming one of them? Yes you can, but it does not have the same effect as a comedy. So, I was quite excited about compiling a list of my favorite comedies of the decade, but it turned out to be harder than I thought. I’m sure I left out a few good ones, but I feel happy with the way it turned out.
Here’s my list for the 10 best comedies of the decade:
Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson | 2001
I saw this without having seen any sort of promotional material for it (how I managed to do that, I don’t know), so imagine my surprise when the movie started. Shrek is a clever take on fairy tales that has jokes coming in very often, and they never get old. Will the movie age well? Probably not because of all the pop culture references, but I will always have fond memories of it.
9. I Love You, Man
John Hamburg | 2009
A great story about friendship sewn together by great chemistry between Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Together, they make some poorly written lines and situations work. The rest of the cast also does a pretty good job of making this work, among them the always reliable JK Simmons, Andy Samberg, and Rashinda Jones.
8. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Adam McKay | 2004
This movie came out at the peak of Will Ferrell’s popularity, that is when he used to do the things he still does, but with good scripts. The story is inpired and a perfect fit for Ferrell’s comedic abilities. The sight gag are great and the dialogue (which is rather good) is delivered perfectly by the cast. And I believe that this is still Ferrell’s best performance.
Brad Bird | 2007
This movie is full of sophisticated and innocent humor. Prior to this it had been a while that I had not seen a non-Pixar animated movie that was hilarious and had clean humor. Yes, there is a poop joke, but that fits the personality of the character that is involved in the joke. Ratatouille made once again made the messy kitchen, the food to the face, slapstick feel fresh once again.
6. School of Rock
Richard Linklater | 2003
Jack Black gives his best and funniest performance here. Yes, the plot has been done before, but the way the story is told, and the earnest performances from the young cast, makes this stand above the rest of other movies with the same plot. Plus, the ending is pure magic.
5. Mean Girls
Mark Waters | 2004
Before “30 Rock” and Sarah Palin made Tina Fey a house-hold name, and before Linday Lohan started doing drugs and ruined her career, they made this movie. Lohan, along with Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfriend, and Lacy Chabert, make Fey’s creations come to life in a great way. The movie is full of your typical Fey dialogue, and that alone makes it stand above other comedies.
4. Hot Fuzz
Edgar Wright | 2007
The love that Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg have for bad action movies shows here. And only them could they make an intentionally hilarious action movie like this. The biggest laugh, however, don’t come from the spoofing, but rather from the small moments, like the old man being stabbed in the foot, or the crossword puzzle dialogue exchange. Just great stuff all around.
Mike Leigh | 2008
Some do not think that this is a comedy, and I can see why they think that however, since this made me cry because of all the laughter, it definitely qualifies as a comedy. No other movie made me laugh this hard this decade. This is all thanks to Mike Leigh’s great writing and direction, which fleshed out every single character, even those who are on-screen for only a few minutes. The movie also works as a comedy thanks to Sally Hawkins’ amazing performance.
2. Knocked Up
Judd Appatow | 2007
One would think that it would be hard to find comedy in an uncomfortable situation such as an unwanted pregnancy. However, Judd Appatow did, not in the actual situation, but in the fall out from it. Seeing these two people and their families trying either help them or trying to tear them apart is funny as well as seeing them trying to make things work when they are clearly not meant for each other. While his direction may not be the best, Appatow’s script makes the movie work, and one of the best comedies of the decade.
1. In Bruges
Martin McDonagh | 2008
Like Knocked Up, In Bruges finds comedy in a situation that would not necessarily require it. This time it is two killers hiding out after a job goes wrong. The comedy here is mixed in with the anguish that the main characters are feeling, and it works. On one hand we have Ray (Collin Farrell) feeling bad about what he did, and on the other we have him, and his partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson), getting into all sorts of trouble with their boss, a local drug dealer, Canadians, Americans, thieves and a midget. Even when things get awfully dark, the movie keeps it’s sense of humor, and that’s why it is the best comedy of the decade.
Honorable mentions: The 40-year-old Virgin, Role Models, Superbad, WALL-E, Amelie, Cheaper by the Dozen, Shrek 2, Blades of Glory, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Shaun of the Dead, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, The Producers, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment about this list.