Are you a Netflix subscriber? Are you in the market for some side-splitting laughs from the streaming service? If the answer to both those questions is yes, scroll down and feast your eyes on this article, where we’ve compiled the best comedy films on Netflix from the streaming service’s current crop.
From biting satires to heart-warming rom-coms, they’re all here – and be sure to check back regularly for updates, as new films arrive on Netflix all the time. Oh, and if you’re more interested in funny TV series than funny films, don’t worry: we’ve also got a list of those too: The best comedy TV shows on Netflix.
Come for Olivia Colman’s towering turn as the petulant Queen Anne, stay for Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz’s almost-as-memorable performances as two courtiers competing for the 18th-century monarch’s affections in Yorgos Lanthimos’ sumptuous black comedy. This complex female love triangle, existing almost totally outside of male society and influence despite the time and place, forms the foundations for a caustic, bawdy black comedy that’s unlike anything else we’ve seen in recent years.
Nominated for ten Oscars in 2019 but winning only one (Colman, for Best Actress), The Favourite is a strange, striking period drama that we’re certain will be seen as a classic by future cinema nuts.
Why can’t all teen comedies could be as funny, pacy and ultimately life-affirming as Superbad, which manages to juggle all the tropes of the genre (partying, sex, friendship) without feeling hackneyed or bloated?
It’s ninety minutes of proof that parties are eternally anxiety-inducing. You need someone over the age limit to buy the booze (maybe your high school friend with an ID that reads “McLovin” will do?). You’ve got to impress the girls (Seth works out that headbutting them in the face works a charm). And in American movies, there’s always the chance the cops will show up to send everyone home – we just wish all of them were as warped as Bill Hader and Seth Rogen.
Bong Joon-ho’s Best Picture-winning black comedy bucks Oscar-winning trends left and right. Astonishingly, it’s the first foreign-language film to win the award. It’s also extremely cynical and mischievous in tone, which is an area where the Academy usually favours optimism, sentimentality and earnestness. But it’s also masterfully crafted, funny, shocking, insightful and relevant to the current state of the world, all while bowling along at a dizzying pace. It couldn’t not be picked as the best movie of 2019!
The film revolves around two very different Korean families: the working-class Kims and the wealthy upper-middle-class Parks. The Kims pull off a dazzlingly devious scheme to install themselves as well-paid household employees of the trusting Parks, but a twist means victory is short-lived. Suddenly, neither they nor the viewer really knows where they stand. An engaging treatise on class, inequality and how our society brings out the bloodsucker in everyone, rich and poor alike.
Perhaps the consummate blockbuster rom-com, Pretty Woman’s subject matter – a handsome, wealthy but emotionally closed-off man hires a sex worker to be his no-strings companion for a week but falls in love with her – doesn’t seem all that bright and breezy from a 2024 perspective. And yet, despite all that it’s mostly a fun, light-hearted comedy about culture clash, sexism and class with two immensely likeable stars in Richard Gere and (in her breakout role) Julia Roberts.
Pretty Woman wouldn’t be made today, at least not like this, but its heart is very much in the right place. Funny, sweet and (yes) romantic.
Groundhog Day existed before Groundhog Day, but it was really Groundhog Day that turned Groundhog Day into… y’know, Groundhog Day. That is to say, it used to be a quaint American tradition involving a chubby mammal; now it’s a cliché used to describe pretty much anything that happens more than once. And it’s all Bill Murray’s fault.
Murray’s at his lugubrious best in this laidback comedy from Ghostbusters and Caddyshack director Harold Ramis, which builds on a great hook of a premise (man keeps living the same day over and over again) and is just funny enough not to squander it to sentimentality. (Warning: may contain romance and/or Scrooge-like self-discovery.)
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Nicolas Cage plays himself (or more accurately an alternative-reality version of himself) in an action-comedy that looks over the great man’s career and popular persona with a distinctly postmodern eye.
Failing to land the meaty parts he thinks he deserves and feeling his relationship with his teenage daughter getting more and more strained, Cage (the character) decides to retire from acting, but not before taking one last paycheque role: real-life guest of honour at the birthday party of a wealthy superfan (Pedro Pascal, clearly having a great time). Accompanied by the ghost of his digitally de-aged younger self (we told you it was postmodern), he heads to the Mediterranean for a final big payday, dejected and resigned to a life out of the spotlight – only to find himself in the middle of a kidnapping plot. Cue the bullets, fist fights and deranged one-liners we’ve learned to expect from the great man.
Directed by Brass Eye creator Chris Morris, who co-wrote it with Peep Show’s Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, this 2010 jihadi-themed satire is still disturbingly relevant (and extremely funny) today.
Like the bumbling, corrupt politicians in Bain and Armstrong’s In the Loop, the titular lions are bigoted buffoons who stubbornly cling to an extreme belief (suicide bombing ‘moderates’ in this case) despite mounting evidence of their idiocy and their agenda’s contradictions.
Four Lions is well worthy of its frequent billing as a terrorism equivalent of This Is Spinal Tap, but it’s not just about the gags. Morris spent years researching British Islamists, and their depiction here (confused, misguided and easily led losers) is likely far more accurate than the media’s portrayal of them as evil masterminds.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
A stop-motion Wes Anderson film based on Roald Dahl’s beloved novel about a rural fox outwitting three wicked farmers, Fantastic Mr. Fox manages to marry the two artists’ oeuvres far better than you might imagine. The animation and sets are glorious, and Anderson’s visual style works just as well with models as it does with people, while his script breathes new life and humour into Dahl’s book while keeping its themes and essence largely intact. It’s a film both kids and grown-ups will adore, and features a great vocal performance from George Clooney in the title role.
Zombieland hits the ground running with a refreshingly self-aware opening credits sequence laying out the ground rules for survival in a post-apocalyptic, undead-infested America.
Jesse Eisenberg’s lily-livered Columbus stays alive by following those rules to the letter, while his travelling companion Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is a reckless killing machine on a quest for the last remaining Twinkie. Sharp, witty and blessed with one of the most memorable cameo appearances ever, this is a zombie movie with braaaaiins.
Don’t Look Up
Adam McKay’s blackly comedic take on the apocalypse has divided critics, but we think it’s a perfectly serviceable satire with a frighteningly salient point: that the divided, easily distracted and inward-looking world we live in currently is simply not fit to deal with any genuinely huge issues it might face.
In the movie it’s a mountain-sized comet hurtling towards the planet, spotted by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence’s low-level scientists and all but certain to wipe out all life on Earth, but the reaction they get from those with power – from dismissal to indifference to “how can we exploit this for political gain?” – could easily apply to climate change or the coronavirus pandemic. The star-studded cast, McKay’s signature fast-moving direction and a glut of jokes keep the tone generally light, even if the subject matter is anything but.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
He may have upset millions of basement-dwellers by directing the first genuinely interesting Star Wars film in over 30 years, but thankfully for the rest of us Rian Johnson’s movies tend to be fun, topical and packed with twists. Glass Onion, the sequel to Johnson’s own Knives Out, is no exception.
This suspense-filled comedy retains Daniel Craig as dapper private detective Benoit Blanc but switches out the rest of the original’s all-star cast for an entirely fresh set of A-listers. When Blanc is summoned to a tech billionaire’s private island for a murder mystery party only for a real murder to occur, his legendary powers of deduction are put to their toughest test yet. The cast includes Dave Batista, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monae and Edward Norton.
Will Ferrell’s patchy movie output doesn’t take away from the fact that when he’s good, he’s really good; Step Brothers is one of the films which – perhaps a little surprisingly, given its premise – illustrates this fact. Ferrell and the equally superb John C. Reilly play coddled, middle-aged man-children who still live with their respective mother and father, and are then forced to live under the same roof when said parents get married. Chaos ensues as the two go to all-out war.
If it sounds like the sort of film Adam Sandler would swerve, Step Brothers actually morphs swiftly from standard slapstick fare to, well, superior slapstick buddy comedy fare as the two enemies become allies and unite against an external threat. It won’t change your life, but it will keep you laughing for 90 minutes of it.
In the Loop
Before he was the twelfth Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi played the fantastically foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker, government spin-doctor extraordinaire (and clearly inspired by Tony Blair’s real-life media guru Alastair Campbell, almost as sweary as Tucker). In this feature film – spun off from the BBC series The Thick of It – Tucker is part of a delegation sent to Washington to deal with rising tensions in the Middle East.
Writer Armando Iannucci’s take on the build-up to the Iraq War is at once farcical and bleak, as backstabbing politicos massage the evidence to create a case for intervention while scrambling to exclude each other from committees and action groups. Capaldi’s baroque swearing is the undoubted highlight, but the late James Gandolfini’s turn as a U.S. Army general comes a close second.
Game Over, Man!
A slacker comedy version of Die Hard might sound as tortuous as walking barefoot over broken glass, but Game Over, Man! is a pleasant surprise. “Pleasant,” however, would not be the appropriate term for the source of most of the laughs – this is one of the most effective gross-out comedies in recent times, packed with dismemberment, toilet humour, graphic nudity and all the rest of that good stuff.
The setup? A group of well-trained international terrorists take over a swanky high rise hotel in Los Angeles, taking everyone (including 90s pop-reggae star Shaggy) hostage except for three members of the housekeeping staff. Can this trio of losers turn the tables on the bad guys and save the day? Well, what do you think?
Love and Monsters
A family-friendly comedy adventure set in a post-apocalyptic USA might seem tonally odd, but this colourful, fast-paced and involving flick pretty much gets everything right. Seven years after an event that led to cold-blooded animals rapidly evolving into huge mutant monsters and humans moving right down the food chain, cowardly but loveable Joel decides to leave the relative safety of his underground bunker to find the girlfriend he hasn’t seen in the best part of a decade. Between the pair lies 80 miles of predator-infested wilderness – and that’s assuming he can even walk in the right direction.
What follows is an enjoyable 90 minutes of strong character building, breathless action, surprisingly well-written romance and laughs that’ll keep your kids (and maybe even you) glued to the screen.
There’s a moment in Paddington that will make you leap off the sofa and howl out loud in agony. Whether you’re a fully-grown adult or bushy-eyed sprog, this cinematic ode to everyone’s favourite marmalade fiend finds a way to wind itself around your heartstrings.
It’s stuffed full of belly laughs, impeccable voice acting from Ben Whishaw and a refreshingly affectionate take on immigration. Can a Peruvian bear vanquish the dastardly Nicole Kidman and find a home for himself in Blighty? We’re not telling, but you’ll have a blast finding out.
Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy shines in this raucous biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, an overweight, middle-aged and professionally directionless musician and stand-up comedian who found fame in the 1970s by creating a smooth-talking and confident stage alter ego: a pimp named Dolemite. As a rags to riches tale it might sound all too familiar, but Murphy’s performance, a fantastic supporting cast packed with familiar faces and a surprising amount of heart and soul make it a truly engaging watch – particularly if you’re learning about Moore and Dolemite for the first time.
From The Squid and the Whale to The Meyerowitz Stories (the latter of which you’ll also find recommended in this article), Noah Baumbach’s movies have a knack for laying bare the tragi-comic complexities of modern human relationships – and this Netflix original delivers more of the same by digging into the breakdown of a young couple’s (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) marriage.
The pair attempt a “conscious uncoupling” for the sake of their young son, but stumble into something far more acrimonious along the way. The setup is there for a depressing tale of love gone sour, but Marriage Story instead blooms into something far more nuanced and bittersweet.
Always Be My Maybe
Describing a film as “Netflix’s best original romantic comedy” might sound as if we’re damning it with faint praise, but Always Be My Maybe is a genuinely enjoyable, occasionally hilarious riff on the well-worn genre starring (and written by) two likeable leads in Ali Wong and Randall Park.
It’s about a pair of childhood friends who unexpectedly reunite many years after an awkward falling out, their lives having diverged onto very different paths in the mean time. You can probably predict how it turns out, but the route it takes is the fun part – particularly when a certain beloved Matrix megastar proves himself an excellent sport in a scene-stealing cameo.
Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Ray Romano gives the performance of his life in this quiet and affecting indie comedy. Romano stars as the neighbour and friend of the equally impressive Mark Duplass – the duo’s enjoyably mundane routine of martial arts movies, jigsaw puzzles, pizza and their invented pastime of “paddleton” disrupted by a terrible medical diagnosis.
What might easily have been an overwrought drama instead works as a beautifully understated, unsentimental and utterly convincing depiction of male friendship – and certainly one of the best Netflix-produced movies we’ve seen.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Originally intended to be a series of six individual episodes, the Coen brothers instead combined this collection of tales from the Wild West into a single anthology; over the course of its two hours we meet a cast of typically Coen-esque characters including the singing cowboy of the title, a bank robber who meets his match, and a determined prospector played by Tom Waits.
It certainly comes with its fair share of quirky Coen brothers charm, black humour and memorable lines, but the format means The Ballad of Buster Scruggs never quite gets going – and just as it looks like it might, with the tale of a blossoming romance on a wagon train journey to Oregon, it feels like it’s over too soon. Even so, it’s a must-watch for Coen fans.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
“He’s not the Messiah; he’s a very naughty boy!” Falling foul of blasphemy laws in several countries upon its 1979 release (it was banned for eight years in Ireland), Life of Brian is now regarded as one of the greatest comedy films ever made, a British national treasure and a smart satire on the hypocrisy of organised religion. Like pretty much everything else ever made by the Monty Python team, it’s now available to watch on Netflix, bringing this fantastic film – in which a regular, unremarkable Judean man is mistaken for Jesus Christ – to a brand new audience.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Netflix has occasionally sought out real quality with its original movies, as evidenced by this wry, intelligent indie comedy-drama written and directed by Noah Baumbach – one of cinema’s most perceptive chroniclers of modern human relationships.
Starring Adam Sandler (in his best “serious” performance since Punch-Drunk Love), Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) examines a dysfunctional New York family through the prism of several of its members, all of whom revolve around Hoffman’s preening, needy and manipulative patriarch.