Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Decade reviewed (2): comedy films

A look at the films that made us laugh in the noughties (*).

10) Shallow Hal (2001)
I'm not Jack Black's biggest fan but this one by the Farrelly brothers really got me in stitches. Based on the undeniable truth that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" or, if you prefer, that "a man's meat is another man's poison", it subverts the idea that "thin is beautiful" while producing a number of hilarious gags.

9) Death at a Funeral (2007)
British black humour at its most effective, this underrated comedy unravels through one single day. It's someone's father's funeral but a string of weird characters and gripping subplots turns it into a cringeworthy mess. Apparently the Americans, uncapable of simply importing a foreign film and enjoying it for what it is, are currently working on a remake.

8) The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
How do you deal with a "wife from hell" after rushing into marriage? Another Farrelly brothers' release, it contains a memorable series of frenzied Carry On-style situations as well as slapstick and farce aplenty.

7) Freddie Got Fingered (2001)
This is not the most accessible of comedies, but if you're into crude, bizarre and demented humour you'll just fall for it. Two examples: "the Backwards man" moment or the restaurant phone call. Directed and interpreted by Tom Green, it's a got to be one of the top ten quotable movies of all time.

6) American Pie Wedding (2003)
Like it or not, the original American Pie trilogy marked the first half of the decade (avoid the spin-offs that followed like the plague). If straightforward slapstick does it for you, then instalments 2 and 3 and their mockery of testosterone-fuelled antics will make your sides split. Stifler chewing on dog shit must be one of the iconic images of the decade.

5) Roadtrip (2000)
Based in part on the American Pie template (and also featuring a recycled Stifler- this time called E.L.), its strength lies in the endearing qualities of each character. When Josh posts by mistake a sex video to his long-term girlfriend, he decides that the only way to sort it out is to drive across the US and pip the postman at the post (pun unintended).

4) The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
In world where everything is sexualised to the extreme, how will a 40-year-old superhero model collector cope? Featuring a fantastic Steve Carrell and a series of subplots centred around his inept work colleagues, this is one of the best comedies to come out of the US ever.

3) Mama's Boy (2007)
The underrated story of a twentynine-year-old uber-geek who's still tied to his mother's apron. When she announces she's getting married his sabotaging attempts will make you laugh heartily.

2) Superbad (2008)
The soft heart of gross-out teenage comedies, we said on release. Beneath all the teenage bravado, the tale of friendship between Seth and Evan makes for one of the most poignant reconstructions of teenage life ever portrayed. Watch out for the excellent McLovin' nerd.

1) Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Simon Peggs' gem is a genius parody of a) the zombified times we live in with rat race and all the rest b) social ineptitude c) trite zombie-based horrors. It's absolutely unique in the way it portrays everyone's annoying traits and twitches. The characters' depth and a series of details ensure that you can watch it once a week without even getting tired of it. Possibly one of the best British comedies ever made.

(*)Note: with the following I'm just expressing my own personal taste. If you disagree, remember that this is exactly why the saying
'each to their own' was created.


Anonymous said...

Roadtrip. How can you say thats a good movie? For me, The Worst of cheap laughs condensed in 90 mins.

roym said...

SOTD aside, the rest of this list makes me want to retch.

Martin Manser said...

roym: Have you got it in for the Yanks or what?

roym said...

not at all but the farelly brothers? really?! and the judd apatow stable?

to be honest, i think comedy has been getting progressively weaker as time marches on.

dj said...

Are you fucking serious with this shit?

Emma said...

"Are you fucking serious with this shit?" (Nice), "This list makes me want to retch" etc. Hagley Road isn't advocating raising taxes or taking your kids away from you, so relax. It's not like we're going to change the list for you.

roym said...

yeah but in your heart of hearts you must admit most of these films are pants!

claude said...

For some, mentally, it will always be Year 7 at school i.e. getting weirdly irked when people simply mention the music or films they like.

As though people's future, world peace or something major depended upon it!

It's simply an individual matter of taste. It's harmless. It's "each to their own".

So take a deep breath. Relax. It doesn't matter, really, think about it.