Life can be heavy. Some days, it might have you wishing you could just Amazon Prime ship yourself into outer space and never come back. (Sadly, for now, that right is reserved exclusively for Mr. Bezos and his motley crew of space explorers.)
But while you’re stuck down here on earth, there’s still plenty of ways to make the gravity of the world feel a bit lighter. Like, for instance, watching a comedy movie on Amazon Prime. With a wide range of award-winning blockbusters, slapstick favorites, and satires as dark as the fate of our world, Amazon is sure to have something to turn that existential dread upside down. Or, at least keep you entertained for a few hours.
Take a load off and get some laughs out. You deserve it. These are the best comedies on Amazon Prime, available right now.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Based on the experiences of writer Cameron Crowe while undercover at a San Diego high school, Fast Times at Ridgemont High has become an iconic teen comedy of the 80s. Featuring young lovers, rebels, slackers, and stoners, the film offers a slice of teenaged life—and a stellar performance from a young Sean Penn.
My Best Friend’s Wedding
There are some rom-coms that stop you in your tracks no matter how many times you’ve watched reruns of it on cable, and My Best Friend’s Wedding is one of them. Hilarious and heartbreaking, the film stars Julia Roberts as a single 27-year-old whose marriage pact with her best friend (played by Dermot Mulroney) goes awry just days before their ultimatum arrives. Now forced to cope with her latent feelings for him, she must also cope with being maid of honor to her best friend’s fiancée, played by Cameron Diaz.
Nothing says bachelor party quite like a midlife crisis road trip to wine country. Directed by Alexander Payne and starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh, and Virginia Madsen, Sideways follows Miles and Jack, two forty-somethings determined to have one last hurrah before Jack’s wedding. As the trip, and an affair, unfold, the two friends realize they might have had different itineraries in mind.
Something’s Gotta Give
Only such seasoned vets as Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson could make a classic rom-com feel this refreshing. In the most unlikely (and unsettling) of meet-cutes, Keaton and Nicholson star as Harry and Erica, two middle-aged people whose paths cross over a heart attack. More specifically, the heart attack that Harry has suffered while having sex with Erica’s twenty-something daughter. Boy meets girl, boy meets girl’s mom…you get the gist.
His Girl Friday
If you’re on the market for some time-tested, perennial punchlines, you can’t go wrong with heading back to the classics. And the 1940s screwball hit His Girl Friday might be as classic as comedies come. Starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, the film follows Walter, a news editor, as he attempts to revive his marriage with Hildy, his ex-wife and fellow journalist, by pursuing one final story together. As Hildy begins to uncover unexpected details about their subject, though, the story Walter had envisioned might be in need of a re-write.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
A classic early aughts comedy, Dodgeball sees a stacked cast of comedy power players take the court for a raunchy, wacky, and ultimately charming underdog tale. Vince Vaughn stars as the owner of Average Joe’s, a gym down on its luck seeking a financial Hail Mary pass. When Average Joe’s is threatened with being taken over by luxurious Globo Gym and its owner White Goodman, played by Ben Stiller, the gym enters a local dodgeball competition in hopes of securing the cash prize.
Burn After Reading
(Insert the Brad Pitt dancing gif you’ve used thousands of times without ever knowing the origin.) Burn After Reading is a star-studded dark comedy from the Coen brothers starring Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and J.K. Simmons. Pitt and McDormand star as two gym employees who, upon finding memoirs from a former CIA analyst, try to cash out thinking they’ve found confidential information.
Harold and Maude
A cult classic from Hal Ashby, this beloved 1970s dark comedy about an unlikely friendship between Harold, a death-obsessed young man, and Maude, an elderly woman with a profound appreciation for life. Somewhat controversial to this day, it’s a staple in the niche canon of eyebrow-raising romantic comedies. Opposites attract.
The House Bunny
Don’t let the poor reviews fool you: If you’re looking for a laugh without a lot of leg work, House Bunny is an easy watch with some hidden comedic gold. With stellar early-career performances from Anna Faris and Emma Stone, among others, The House Bunny follows Farris as ex-Playboy Bunny Shelley who unexpectedly finds herself in a new house full of women—the nerdy Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority. Needing new pledges, the house enlists Shelley to be their saving grace in revamping their misfit community.
If you’re late to the Step Brothers bandwagon, one watch of this buddy comedy will probably open you to a world of one-liners that had been going over your head for years. As entertaining as it is quotable, Step Brothers sees comedy duo Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in arguably their best performance together. The duo stars as Brennan and Dale, two thirty-something year-olds who are newly step brothers after their divorced parents marry one another. Reckoning with their immaturity, Brennan and Dale experience something of a latent coming-of-age that’s packed with hilarity and strange sincerity.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Just when saying “My wife!” for the past fourteen years was starting to get old, envelope-pushing comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has reprised Borat Sagdiyev when we needed him most. While the mockumentary packs its signature over-the-top comedy, Cohen’s on-the-ground satire “reporting” brings a deeply analytical lens to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 election, and Trump’s America. Perhaps the most memorable of all, though, is the breakout performance from Maria Bakalova, who stars as Borat’s daughter Tutar whom Borat is determined to offer as a bride to Mike Pence.
A dark comedy to its core, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite received worldwide acclaim from Cannes to the Oscars for its inventive commentary on late-stage capitalism. The film follows a lower-income family on their mission to infiltrate a wealthy family’s home by picking up household jobs for them. The film is an urgent watch, as its message applies not just to its setting of South Korea, but to our ever-growing wealth gap worldwide.
In a deft balance of drama and comedy, Lulu Wang’s semi-autobiographical The Farewell is arguably one of the most memorable and moving dramedies of the past few years. With a stunning performance from Awkwafina at its core, the film moves through the decision process of a Chinese-American family who, upon learning that their grandmother is nearing her death, must decide whether or not to tell her about her diagnosis.
Another moving dramedy, Uncle Frank stars Paul Bettany as a gay literature professor living in New York in the 1970s. Upon receiving news that his father has passed, he must journey back to the less-than-accepting home in South Carolina he’d sought refuge from so many years ago. The somber journey is uplifted, though, by the unexpected company of his niece, played by Sophia Lillis, and boyfriend, played by Peter Macdissi.
Knives Out did us the long overdue favor of breathing life back into the traditional whodunnit film.This murder mystery ensemble comedy is the perfect off-kilter thriller for your next movie night. With a star-stacked cast crammed into the manor of the deceased mystery novelist Harlan Thrombley, one detective sets out to untangle this familial mystery with its fair share of laughs and antics.
The Big Sick
This romantic comedy stars Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan as a couple whose rocky relationship is complicated by her sudden, potentially fatal illness—a premise based on Nanjiani and wife/co-writer Emily Gordon’s own story.
Being a teenager sucks, and writer-director Bo Burnham makes it feel like all this happened just yesterday, offering a coming-of-age story in the time of social media, with actress Elsie Fisher delivering a heartbreakingly real performance.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
Cassandra Peterson’s hilarious and spooky character gets her own feature in this ’80s cult classic, which sees Elvira inheriting a mansion from her recently deceased aunt. But her arrival in a straight-laced small town ruffles the feathers of her new neighbors.
The Foot Fist Way
A hapless Tae Kwon Do instructor sees his life upended when his wife announces that she’s cheated on him with her boss—and she’s leaving him for her new man—in this comedy starring Danny McBride, directed by his longtime collaborator Jody Hill.
Based on Elmore Leonard’s bestselling novel, this black comedy stars John Travolta as a loan shark who travels to Los Angeles to settle a debt from a Hollywood hotshot (played by Gene Hackman). But he quickly learns that Hollywood isn’t so much different than the mob, and he quickly pivots into a new profession as a producer.
Winona Ryder stars as the whip-smart Veronica Sawyer, a popular girl who hates her best friends (a trio of queen bees, all named Heather). Her life spins out of control when she falls for the new kid at school—the trench coat-wearing, gun-toting J.D., played by Christian Slater—who convinces her to kill off her clique.
In the Farrelly Brothers’ underrated comedy, Bill Murray plays a cocky bowling champ who meets his match in a gentle and kind-hearted Amish man (Woody Harrelson) who moonlights as a bowling prodigy.
Married to the Mob
After she’s freed from her unhappy marriage when her husband is murdered, mob wife Angela (Michelle Pfeiffer) thinks she’s in the clear—that is until she’s pursued by another randy mob kingpin, his jealous wife, and a handsome FBI agent who has fallen in love with her.
Much Ado About Nothing
Then-couple Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson star as the bickering Benedick and Beatrice, two long-time enemies whose friends essentially trick into falling for each other, in Branagh’s gorgeous adaptation of the classic Shakespeare comedy.
Six Degrees of Separation
Will Smith stars as a con man who tricks wealthy socialites (Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland) into believing he’s the son of Sidney Poitier in this adaptation of John Guare’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play.
Some Like It Hot
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play two Chicago musicians who unwittingly witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. After fleeing to Florida, the pair find a gig with a jazz band. The only issue? It’s an all-female band, requiring the two to disguise themselves in drag.
Jonathan Demme’s cult classic stars Jeff Daniels as a straight-laced banker named Charlie who gets picked up by the charming and elusive Lulu (Melanie Griffith), who takes Charlie on a wild and unexpected journey that results in a crime spree.
The Squid and the Whale
Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are NYC writers whose crumbling marriage leads to all manner of familial dysfunction—including for their two sons (Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline)—in Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed 2005 indie.
The ’80s cult classic stars Robin Lively as a nerdy high school girl who pines for the hottest guy in her class. Luckily for her, she also learns that she’s a descendent of the witches of Salem, and can harness her powers to make her crush fall for her, too.
Maybe one of the best SNL-to-film adaptations ever made, the boneheaded duo Wayne and Garth bring their heavy metal-loving cable access show to a wider audience—and deliver an iconic lip sync to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
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