The Daily’s list of the Best Comedies of the 2000’s can be found here.
Comedy gets a short shrift.
Any discussion about the greatest films of all time will tend toward the dramatic poles, elevating the epic and tear-jerking over the riotous. The films that are capital-S Serious. And they mean it. The Lords of the Rings, the Star Warses, the Casablancas, the Godfathers, the Citizens Kane.
Those movies weren’t formative for me (okay, except for “Star Wars”), and I’m sure that’s the case with all us film writers. We were all born in the latter half of the 1990s. Our films were dotted with Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig. Some critics may point to these films as exceptions to the rule that filmmaking has declined over the past hundred years or so, but I disagree. I think these films, these very, very funny films, many of which are obscure, many of which are blockbusters, are just as essential to understanding what culture, especially youth culture, was in the 2000s.
My parents didn’t show me the classics growing up. They showed me the weird ’80s comedies they loved when they were in their 20s. I watched “Raising Arizona” and “The Princess Bride” and “This Is Spinal Tap” too many times to count when I was younger. And I understood these not to be capital-S Serious films. I understood them to be good. And fucking hilarious.
The tough thing about any discussion of the topic is that comedy is much more subjective than drama. If someone dies or loses their job, that’s objectively sad. If someone falls down a flight of stairs, hey, that might be pretty funny. The films that occupy the top slots of our list are successful precisely because their comedic reach is so wide-ranging. “Superbad,” “21 Jump Street,” “Anchorman” and “Bridesmaids” are all part-slapstick, part-screwball and all-funny. In “Wet Hot American Summer,” every scene seems to try to appease a different sense of humor. “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Frances Ha” each occupy a space on the “quirky” shelf, and were impressionable enough on a core group of loyalists to earn a high enough space on the list.
The clear MVP of the list is Jonah Hill, who leads three films on the list, including the top two. Will Ferrell deserves a lot of props, starring in the three films in the list. Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Greta Gerwig, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler will find themselves well represented here too.
The films that follow, our ranking of the best comedy films since 2000, all occupied some real estate in the cultural zeitgeist at the time when we were in the target demographic. Some have been cherished since childhood, some were new discoveries. All are hilarious.
Click here to read the Daily’s list of Best Comedies of the 2000’s.