This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.
When considering the best in cinema, it can be easy to overlook the movies that go out of their way to make us crack up. For whatever reason, comedy never seems as significant or important as comedy. But if we didn’t laugh, there’d be nothing to pick us up from those sad moments. So as part of our look back at the decade that was 2010 through 2019, I wanted to make sure we singled out the funniest movies of the year. No, I’m not just picking the best comedies, because sometimes the funniest movies can’t be so simply classified in a single genre like that. Instead, I wanted to pick the movies that made us laugh the hardest, most frequently, and most consistently. Without further adieu, let’s get into the Top 15 Funniest Movies of the Decade.
15. The Death of Stalin
Why It’s Funny: First of all, it’s written by satire master Armando Iannucci, the brilliant writer behind the British political comedy series The Thick Of It, the feature film spin-off In the Loop, and their American counterpart Veep. Second of all, You’ve got Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Isaacs, Simon Russell Beale, and an impressive ensemble cast all playing the lackeys of the late dictator Joseph Stalin. Aside from the witty and vicious dialogue shared between these historical figures, what makes it even more entertaining is that every single cast members doesn’t even try to do a Russian accent or any impression of these people. They just play it straight, and that makes the proceedings even more hilarious.
One of the Funniest Moments: Stalin’s potential successors all debate how they will determine who steps into power, but they can’t help but be distracted as doctor begin to cut into his skull in front of their very eyes. Then suddenly, they’re interrupted by Stalin’s son, who is in full panic mode.
14. The Nice Guys
Why It’s Funny: Ryan Gosling as a bumbling private investigator, and Russell Crowe as an enforcer who brings some muscle to the table. Together, the two are investigating a mysterious disappearance of a young woman. As the two get caught up in a noir style story in 1970s Los Angeles, the two keep stumbling into more danger. Making things even funnier is Angourie Rice as Gosling’s daughter, which allows the movie to show even more of his character’s hilarious shortcomings. This is one of those movies that is hilarious, but also comes with some heavy suspense, violence and mystery.
One of the Funniest Moments: Russell Crowe has a message for Ryan Gosling.
13. The LEGO Movie
Why It’s Funny: With a meta sense of humor that references the real LEGO sets you can find on shelves, and a comedic approach to the Chosen One adventure formula, The LEGO Movie is better than it has any right to be. And it’s one of the funniest movies for adults that’s still extremely family friendly. From the incorporation of various sects of pop culture that have become LEGO sects to an outstanding voice cast that includes Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and even Morgan Freeman, this movie is one of the most imaginative films in recent memory, and it’s that imagination that allows for the movie to be funny in a variety of ways without ever feeling like Phil Lord and Chris Miller are trying too hard.
One of the Funniest Moments: Good Cop/Bad Cop is more than just a game played with suspects. It’s two characters in one voiced perfectly by Liam Neeson, and this interrogation scene is a prime example of how Lord & Miller do something clever with the nature of LEGO elements.
12. This Is the End
Why It’s Funny: You’ve got Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, James Franco and Craig Robinson all playing exaggerated versions of themselves alongside some of their most famous friends. When The Rapture happens, all hell breaks loose, and these celebrities are forced to figure out what the hell is going on and how to survive. The only problem is that can’t help but get on each other’s nerves and fucking things up. It’s vulgar, violent, ridiculous, and Channing Tatum becomes a gimp. Need I say more?
One of the Funniest Moments: James Franco gets pissed at Danny McBride for jizzing on his adult magainzes.
Why It’s Funny: Unlike a lot of Saturday Night Live sketches turned into movies, MacGruber becomes a full fledged character that evolves beyond the bite-sized sketch concept that he came from. Writer and director Jorma Taccone knows that MacGruber works as a kind of parody of 1980s action movies, and he and co-writer/star Will Forte turn him into a borderline insane and idiotic character who is somehow still successful as an action hero. He’s outdated in the worst way possible, but he doesn’t give a shit, and that kind of confidence is a big part of what makes the character so damn funny to watch.
One of the Funniest Moments: MacGruber rounds up a team of some of the finest soldiers he’s ever known in order to take on his nemesis, but he accidentally blows them all up in the team van. Oh, and MacGruber has sex with his wife’s ghost in a graveyard.
10. Thor: Ragnarok
Why It’s Funny: Chris Hemsworth has lived as Thor for so long that he’s incredible comfortable in the role. But thankfully, he’s not on auto-pilot, and he gives his best performance yet as a Thor who is still cocky but has learned the sarcastic ways of Earth. Whether it’s his bickering with his step-brother Loki Tom Hiddleston or interactions with a Hulk Mark Ruffalo that talks like a caveman, Hemsworth’s comedic chemistry with his co-stars and the creative collaboration from director Taika Waititi turns what could have just been an average cosmic adventure into a remarkably hilarious comic book sequel that reinvigorated the franchise,. And let’s not forget that Jeff Goldblum‘s eccentric turn as The Grandmaster is a treasure, and Waititi’s supporting role as Korg sweetens the deal.
One of the Funniest Moments: Thor tells a story about how Loki turned into a snake to trick him as a child.
9. They Came Together
Why It’s Funny: David Wain and Michael Shower deliver a classic parody of romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail, all with the absurdity of movies like Airplane!, Spaceballs, or The Naked Gun. The result is a goofy spoof featuring hammy performances by Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler that show how silly many romantic comedies can be when it comes to dramatizing relationships for the big screen. They hit every cliche in the book and make it ridiculous, taking odd left turns and inserting random jokes that allow for a gut-busting laugh riot.
One of the Funniest Moments: Michael Shannon shows up as Amy Poehler’s ex-husband just released from prison, and he wants to kill Joel for moving in on his ex-wife. You’ll laugh as soon as he shows up with a sword in his hand and crazed look in his eyes, but you’ll lose it when you see what happens when the cops try to take him away.
Why It’s Funny: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, and, of course, Melissa McCarthy make for a hilarious wedding party where anything and everything can go wrong. But what’s great about Bridesmaids is that it’s not just a string of gags. The movie has a lot of heart and a great story about friendship, and it’s defined characters who feel like they’re actually friends that make the jokes land firmly. We can thank director Paul Feig and writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo for that. There’s a reason this movie got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, something that comedies aren’t usually recognized for.
One of the Funniest Moments: Kristen Wiig is ready to parrrrrtaaaaaaay.
7. Game Night
Why It’s Funny: Max Jason Bateman and Annie Rachel McAdams don’t immediately know that what should have been a fun murder mystery game with their friends turns into a night of intrigue, heists and danger as Max’s brother Brooks Kyle Chandler gets kidnapped by some shady criminals. Their ignorance of the real peril in this situation makes for a lot of the comedy, not to mention that bickering between the ensemble as they slowly figure out that not everything is as it seems. The dynamic between the various couples, and especially the dimwitted enthusiasm of Billy Magnussen make this a home run.
One of the Funniest Moments: Jason Bateman has been shot, and Rachel McAdams tries to get out the bullet with instructions from the internet.
6. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Why It’s Funny: Two words: Julian Dennison. This chubby, charismatic kid is adorable, hilarious, and makes for a lovable lead who is just a misunderstood orphan looking for somewhere that he feels like he belongs. The dynamic between Julian Dennison’s character Ricky Baker and the grump bushman played by Sam Neill is where a lot of the laughs come from, but Rachel House as a child welfare services agent is a scene stealer.
One of the Funniest Moments: After Auntie Bella passes away, she gets a small funeral overseen by Taika Waititi.
5. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Why It’s Funny: Thanks to The Lonely Island writers and directors Akiva Shaffer and Jorma Taccone, and star Andy Samberg, this music mockumentary not only lampoons the idea of celebrity and the documentaries that follow them, but it features a banger of a soundtrack that is full of professionally produced hip hop tracks with hysterical lyrics and performances to go along with them. Combine that with a stream of endless celebrity cameos that make the mockumentary feel that much more legitimate, and you’ve got some of the best comedy of the decade.
One of the Funniest Moments: One of Conner4Real’s stage tricks takes an embarrassing turn.
4. The Big Sick
Why It’s Funny: Kumail Nanjiani is playing a version of himself, and since he’s a professional stand-up comedian, he has no trouble being charismatic and hilarious. Combine that with the fact that the likes of Aidy Bryant, Bo Burnham, and Kurt Braunohler play his comedian friends, and there are plenty of laughs that come from their dynamic. But since The Big Sick also tells the true, odd love story between Nanjiani and his real life wife Emily V. Gordon played Zoe Kazan in the movie, there’s also some charming comedy that comes from the authenticity of seeing their story play out on the big screen, especially when Kumail has to endure meeting Emily’s parents Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, while she’s in a medically induced coma with an unknown ailment. The result is a love story that is touching and harrowing, but also consistently amusing.
One of the Funniest Moments: Kumail makes the best 9/11 joke ever to Emily’s parents.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Why It’s Funny: Michael Cera is playing a bit of a douchebag as the titular character in this adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel directed by Edgar Wright. But he’s still extremely funny in this role as he cluelessly stumbles from fight-to-fight with the exes of the newfound object of his affection, the too cool Ramona Flowers Mary Elizabeth Winstead, becoming increasingly frustrated, just like you would if you were playing a video game that got increasingly harder as you played on.
But honestly, it’s the supporting cast of evil exes that make this movie so funny, especially Chris Evans as the perfect action movie skateboarder douchebro, Brandon Routh as a vegan with psychic powers, Jason Schwartzman as a smarmy record producer, and Mae Whitman as Romana’s one evil ex-girlfriend. Plus, there’s Pilgrim’s less than amused bandmates played by Mark Webber and and Allison Pill, Anna Kendrick as his gossipy sister, and Kieran Culkin as his judgmental gay roommate Wallace. The caliber of actors in this cast is incredible, and every single one of them is perfectly cast in this movie.
One of the Funniest Moments: The Vegan Police come to take the psychic powers of Ramona’s ex-boyfriend Todd.
2. 21 Jump Street
Why It’s Funny: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum make for an unlikely comedy dream team, the latter showing a surprising knack for comedic improvisation. But maybe the main reason 21 Jump Street works so well is that directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller subvert the expectations of what a big screen adaptation of an old TV show can be. They play with the formula in a meta way, use it to craft some hilarious moments, including what is probably the best thing Johnny Depp has done this entire decade. Plus, you’ve got Dave Franco playing a goober of an eco-friendly high school student, Brie Larson being absolutely wonderful, and an array of teachers played by Chris Parnell, Rob Riggle, and Ellie Kemper.
One of the Funniest Moments: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill take the drug they’re trying to track down during the school day.
1. What We Do in the Shadows
Why It’s Funny: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement and Jonathan Brugh play three longtime vampires living together in contemporary New Zealand. All three of them aren’t particularly good at being vampires, and they’re not all that great as roommates either. The funniest parts of this movie come from how vampire mythos is treated in the most mundane of ways, especially when it comes to seeing what everyday life is life for a vampire. From going out to a club and trying to find blood to feast on, this movie features gags that are horrific yet hilarious, and the jokes come flying fast and fierce too. Since the movie is written and directed by Clement and Waititi, it comes with those dry comedic sensibilities and occasional silliness that made their collaboration on Flight of the Conchords so funny. Plus, in this movie we also have Rhys Darby playing the leader of a pack of werewolves, and Cori Gonzalez-Macuer as a newly turned vampire. The result is one of the most original and funniest movies of the decade.
One of the Funniest Moments: The three vampires have a flat meeting to discuss some issues happening in the house.