Funny Female Movie Characters

Wednesday, May 4 by Tom Gordon

The funny female movie characters on this list range from polished and sophisticated to uneducated and insecure. But they're all capable of making audiences laugh and charming them with their sweet-hearted nature and good looks. Some of these funny female movie characters may be well known to modern movie audiences, while others may have you searching through classic cinema for a look at how funny leading ladies got laughs years ago.

  1. Annie Hall. One of the great female movie characters ever captures on screen, Annie (Diane Keaton, who won an Oscar for her performance) is a neurotic 1970s dope-smoking, wannabe singer who hooks up with Woody Allen's Alvy Singer in the classic "Annie Hall." In many ways, it's the anti-romantic comedy, while at the same time appreciating the moments that make up any great relationship, even those that are never meant to last. Keaton bounces from warm and tender, to independent and bold, to insecure and sweet in a movie told in flashback and with multiple asides to the audience. Just great.
  2. Angie Ostrowiski. Amy Poehler instills her brand of coarse, but cuddly comedy in the role of a surrogate mother in the 2008 comedy, "Baby Mama," starring Tina Fey as Kate Holbrook, an uptight executive yearning to have a baby. Angie is a South Philly semi-literate young woman with a knucklehead for a boyfriend. But she has a decent heart and the potential to be much more. She eventually moves in with Kate and their two personalities and lifestyles clash in a very funny way.
  3. Nora Charles. Myrna Loy was a star of 1920s cinema and with the advent of talkies, became even more popular playing sophisticated and urbane characters in comedies and dramas. But it was the New York socialite Nora Charles, who became Loy's best-known and most beloved character. Married to Nick Charles (the outstanding William Powell), Nora Charles sweeps through comic mystery after comic mystery in the clever and still-funny "Thin Man" series of films in the 1930s and 1940s. She swills martinis, keeps Nick in line and delivers great one liners that often befuddle the snobby rich people she encounters throughout the series.
  4. Billie Dawn. If you've never seen "Born Yesterday," the 1951 original and not the mediocre remake, you owe it to yourself to see one of the great female performances in screen history. The beautiful Judy Holliday, with impeccable comedic timing, plays the ultimate dumb blonde—who of course is in many ways the smartest character in the story. The movie centers on Billie, a showgirl who seems happy in her ignorance, married to a gangster (Broderick Crawford) who's trying to appear respectable to gain power in Washington, D.C. Her husband hires a college professor (the slightly cynical, but earnest William Holden) to teach Billie about the real world so she won't embarrass herself in Washington society. Well, the more she learns, the wider her eyes open to her husband's business and what it is she really wants out of life. The gin game scene between Holliday and Crawford alone is worth renting this movie.
  5. Sally Albright. Meg Ryan is at her absolute cutest in this 1989 romantic comedy classic co-starring Billy Crystal. Ryan's Sally Albright is terminally upbeat on the outside, never wanting to acknowledge the cynical aspects of relationships. At first she's intrigued but turned off by Crystal's Harry Burns, whom she meets on a cross-country trip to New York. They continue to bump into each other and form a friendship, that eventually turns sexual, which complicates everything and threatens to ruin their deep friendships. Sally's asking for special orders every time she gets a meal, her one-by-one depositing of letters in a mailbox, and her fake orgasm performance in a downtown deli all make her one of the most appealing and funniest female movie characters ever.
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  1. May 4, 2011 1:53 am


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