The 50 Best Comedy Movies Streaming on Netflix

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The 50 Best Comedy Movies Streaming on Netflix

Not everyone finds the same movies funny, but hopefully the descriptions below will give you a sense of which comedies streaming on Netflixare right for you. Some are subtle comedies, while others are completely ridiculous. But all of these films tickled us one way or another and all are just a  Netflix account and a few clicks away.

We’ve tried to limit it to movies that are primarily comedies. So while Netflix lists some wonderful movies that incorporate humor as comedies (Trainspotting, Fargo, Lost in Translation, Broken Flowers, Say Anything and Pirates of the Caribbean—all of which we recommend), you won’t find them on this particular list.

Spanning decades and sub-genres, here are the 50 Best Comedy Movies Streaming on Netflix Instant.

do-deca.jpg 50. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon
Year: 2012
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Even fans of writer-directors Jay and Mark Duplass may not be aware of The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, a cutting satire of brotherly love that didn’t receive the attention that other recent outings like Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home enjoyed. Mark Kelly and Steve Zissis play adult siblings who decide to revisit an epic competition they invented as kids; since there was a dispute back then about who won, they’re going to restage it now, the champion getting the bragging rights as the superior brother. Low-key even by the Duplass brothers’ standards, The Do-Deca-Pentathlon is a closely observed study of male competiveness that draws its humor from the childishness that still exists in the most seemingly mature of men.—Tim Griersonbr clear=”all”>

legend-drunken-master.jpg 49. Legend of Drunken Master
Year: 1994
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
1994’s Drunken Master II (released in the US as The Legend of Drunken Master) is Jackie Chan’s best movie by far—it has everything that makes him uniquely awesome as a martial-arts movie star and each of his prime elements (fluidity of motion/technique, comedic timing, sheer athleticism) is showcased better than in any of his other films, including the original 1978 Drunken Master (starring a much younger Jackie Chan). Chan stars as Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung who utilizes his Zui Quan (Drunken Boxing) skills to stop the corrupt British consul who is illegally exporting Chinese artifacts out of the country. While nearly all the action sequences are impressive and memorable, the final fight is a real show-stopper.—K. Alexander Smith

don-jon.jpg 48. Don Jon
Year: 2013
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt 
Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes an assured debut as a writer-director with Don Jon, a cultural critique of the expectations placed on relationships in an environment saturated with media misrepresentations of both women and men. It’s a comedy ostensibly about porn, but that’s really just the skin Gordon-Levitt puts on his examination of modern love, the hook that belies his trenchant commentary on how we objectify—instead of connect with—the opposite sex.—Annlee Ellingson

his-girl-friday.jpg 47. His Girl Friday
Director: Howard Hawks
Adapted from the widely acclaimed play The Front Page, His Girl Friday is a classic whose sharp, witty dialogue matches that of old newsrooms. This smooth-talking editor, played by the always-charming Cary Grant, recognizes true journalistic talent and goes to great lengths to get his best reporter to cover a major story.—Bonnie Stiernberg

safety-not-guaranteed.jpg 46. Safety Not Guaranteed
Year: 2012
Director: Colin Trevorrow
At the last few Sundance Film Festivals, a running joke has developed about the ubiquity of Mark Duplass. It seems like if he’s not writing and directing an independent film with his brother Jay (Cyrus, Jeff, Who Lives at Home), he’s producing and/or starring in another. But while indie film fans may feel like they’ve gotten a handle on Duplass’s hipster vibe, his performance in Safety Not Guaranteed shows that he can be mysterious as well as funny, brooding as well as charming.—Jeremy Matthews

A League of Their Own.jpeg 45. A League of Their Own
Year: 1992
Director: Penny Marshall
Although a film about women’s baseball during WWII, the real star of the feature is not one of the girls; it’s Tom Hanks. His portrayal of a fallen baseball great trying to regain respect (and kick the bottle) is one of the actor’s finer moments. Who can ever get tired of that famous quip, “There’s no crying in baseball!” a staple that baseball commentators throw out like it’s their fastball? It’s still a great line mulled over to this day. That’s when you know a movie has weight. Geena Davis and Lori Petty’s sibling relationship is swell, too.—Joe Shearer

boy-movie.jpg 44. Boy
Year: 2010
Director: Taika Waititi
“Can you stop calling me ‘dad’? It sounds weird,” isn’t a line you’d expect from a feel-good coming-of-age movie. And the suggestion that follows, “How about ‘Shogun’? I like that,” puts Boy squarely in the realm of comedy. But Boy isn’t exactly a feel-good movie, though it will make you laugh. It’s a movie about crushing failure, personal identity, and the possibility of hope as experienced in one M?ori family, circa 1984. What separates Boy from other movies in its category is its child-centeredness. These kids’ fantasy world, which includes not only Boy’s humorous revisions but Rocky’s belief that he has magical powers and can change reality around him simple by raising his hand and concentrating, creates just the right amount of irony to make the much harsher “real” world believable. The movie’s power lies in how the irony collapses.—Aaron Belz

gotta-give.jpg 43. Something’s Gotta Give
No longer streaming on Netflix as of Sept. 1, 2014
Year: 2003
Director: Nancy Meyers
When you’ve got two giants of cinema exploring love later in life, you can expect great chemistry. That’s what happens with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton when the former breaks his streak of dating women in their twenties and falls for the mother of one of his girlfriends (Amanda Peet). With a soundtrack that spans genres and generations (Badly Drawn Boy, Jimmy Cliff, Paul Simon and Django Reinhardt, to name just a few), it’s a worthwhile take on the opposites-attract rom-com.—Josh Jackson

mother.jpg 42. Mother
Year: 1996
Director: Albert Brooks
Because writer/director Albert Brooks’ early films are (justifiably) lauded—Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost in America, Defending Your Life—it’s easy to overlook Mother, the final gem of an almost-two-decade run. Brooks plays an unhappy writer whose second divorce prompts him to reassess his history of unsuccessful romantic relationships. This self-absorbed soul-searching leads to him moving back in with his mom (Debbie Reynolds), a seemingly sweet older lady whom he blames for destroying his confidence in childhood. Mother’s not as merciless a satire as Modern Romance or Lost in America, but it’s a very smart, very funny look at how easy it is to pin our failings on the people who have unconditionally loved us since we were born.—Tim Griersonbr clear=”all”>

41. Barton Fink
Year: 1991
Director: Joel Coen
While hung up with the intricate plotting of Miller’s Crossing, The Coen Brothers took a break to write a script about a blocked screenwriter (Jon Turturro). Reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch at their most darkly satiric, Barton Fink depicts a self-important New York playwright who struggles to write a Hollywood wrestling picture while residing in a rotting hotel. A jaundiced metaphor for the compromised creative process of show business, Barton Fink delivers the deadpan comedy and quirky performances of the Coen’s trademark, including Oscar nominee Michael Lerner as a bombastic studio chief, John Mahoney as a boozing, Faulkner-esque novel, and John Goodman as a cheerful salesman with a dark secret. Audiences can obsess over the meaning of lines like Goodman’s “I’ll show you the life of the mind!” but any answers the film holds are unlikely to be reassuring.—Curt Holman

puffy-chair.jpg 40. The Puffy Chair
Year: 2005
Director: Jay Duplass
The comedy that launched filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, The Puffy Chair is a deceptively simple story about a couple (Mark Duplass and real-life wife Katie Aselton) hitting the road with his brother (Rhett Wilkins) to buy the exact replica of the chair their father used to own. But naturally, the journey isn’t so simple, as questions of family, commitment and maturity begin to crop up. Showcasing the easy, empathetic demeanor that would soon make him an indie-film staple, Mark Duplass is well-paired with Aselton, resulting in one of mumblecore’s most believable, nuanced twentysomething relationships. Bittersweet and insightful, The Puffy Chair is funny because its observations are so true: We laugh because we recognize ourselves in these characters. If you’re still like these characters in your 30s, though, you may want to look into that.—Tim Griersonbr clear=”all”>

39. Sleepwalk With Me
Year: 2012
Director: Mike Birbiglia
Charlie Chaplin once said, “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” Mike Birbiglia takes the pain of a struggling comic, an unsure boyfriend and a scared sleep-disorder patient, and plays with these mounting problems for our amusement. Not many sleep-disorder stories—even those first shared with Ira Glass on This American Life—have ever been as funny as Birbiglia’s.—Monica Castillo

trading-places.jpg 38. Trading Places
Year: 1983
Director: John Landis
A biting take on the The Prince and the Pauper story as filtered through the prism of the Decade of Greed, Trading Places stars Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy as, respectively, high class broker Louis Winthorpe III and homeless street vagrant Billy Ray Valentine. As part of a “nurture vs. nature” experiment by the Duke Brothers, two wealthy, yet unscrupulous business magnates, Louis and Billy end up abruptly, per the title, trading places on the social ladder. The Dukes frame Louis for drug dealing, resulting in him losing both his job and his girlfriend, and then bail Billy out of jail and provide him with Louis’ old job and high-class apartment. Once Billy and Louis discover this deception, they launch a plan for vengeance. Featuring both Murphy and Aykroyd at the top of their game, Trading Places represents a prime example of the kind of smart, yet decidedly un-PC comedies that could only exist at a certain point in the ‘80s (Aykroyd’s blackface-heavy disguise in one scene, for example, would never fly in today’s market). A stone-cold ‘80s classic if there ever was one.—Mark Rozeman

zack-and-miri.jpg 37. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Kevin Smith  used the experiences of making his first film (Clerks) at night in the convenience store where he worked, and injected it into Zack and Miri Make a Porno, where cash-challenged roommates shoot their first adult film at night in the coffee shop where they work. Zack (Seth Rogen) and his partner/roommate/possible love-interest Miri (Elizabeth Banks) attend their high-school reunion where Miri tries to reacquaint herself with Bobby, her unrequited high-school crush hilariously played by Brendan Routh. When Miri learns Bobby’s “partner” is a gay porn star (Justin Long in a memorable performance) Miri is shattered but Zack is inspired, and the two begin to shoot their homemade porn film to help pay the rent. The audition scenes are priceless (use your imagination to learn Bubbles’ talent), but when Zack and Miri have to star in their own film they discover more than just sex.—Tim Basham

roger-dodger.jpg 36. Roger Dodger
Year: 2002
Director: Dylan Kidd
A gem of a movie if there ever was one, this 2002 indie comedy stars Campbell Scott as the titular Roger, a suave New York City ladies man who suddenly finds his well-manicured world complicated by an abrupt visit from his dorky teenage nephew, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg in his film debut). Set mostly over the course of a single day, Roger attempts to give the hapless Nick a crash course in the ways of woman and seduction. Propelled by a crackling screenplay courtesy of writer/director Dylan Kidd and the phenomenal chemistry of Scott and Eisenberg, Roger Dodger remains one of the most criminally underrated comedies of the 2000s.—Mark Rozeman