Funny Movies Of 2008

Wednesday, April 20 by Tom Gordon

Among the very funny movies of 2008 are those that showcase the silliness of Will Ferrell, Jack Black and Ben Stiller, as well as few that get a little edgy with sexual frankness and violence. It's the mix of films that comprise this list of funny movies of 2008 that makes for an unusual, but entertaining collection. The best comedies of 2008 tend to be more adult in nature, but there are a couple of funny, family-friendly movies here, too.

  1. "Tropic Thunder." Stiller, Black and Robert Downey Jr., team up in this raunchy, very un-politically correct movie that may have been the funniest of 2008. They play actors who set out to shoot a war movie in the jungle, only to wind up in the middle of some very real trouble. Only at first they're too dim-witted to realize they're no longer in a movie. One of the unexpected and hilarious highlights of "Tropic Thunder" was the nearly unrecognizable Tom Cruise as the foul-mouthed and ridiculous studio executive Les Grossman.
  2. "Step brothers." Ferrell and frequent co-star John C. Reilly play 40 year ol step brothers who have the emotional and intellectual maturity of 12-year-olds. They nearly kill each other at first, angry that Ferrell's mom and Reilly's dad got married. But when they start to see how much they have in common, in a funny scene that includes riffs on John Stamos and velociprators, the step brothers start to get along and make plans to start and entertainment company Prestige Worldwide. The characters are as obnoxious as hell, but there's a lot of funny stuff throughout the movie, including the over-the-top nonsense at the Catalina Wine Mixer climax.
  3. "Kung Fu Panda." Here's one for the whole family. Jack Black voices the title character in this Dreamworks Animation film that grossed more than $200 million at the box office in the U.S. alone. The story follows a martial arts-loving panda named Po, who winds up becoming the Dragon Warrior and teaming up with the heroic Furious Five, China's kung fu masters, in preparing for a showdown with the deadly Tai Lung, a snow leopard who believes he should have become the Dragon Warrior. Black's line readings are very funny ("The Sword of Heroes! Said to be so sharp you can get cut just by looking at – Ow!")
  4. "Pineapple Express." Seth Rogen, who also voiced one of the characters in "Kung Fu Panda" plays a much different role here. He's a pot-smoking court clerk who, with his dealer (played to heavy-lidded stoner perfection by James Franco) gets involved with a crooked cop, violent drug lord and murder. There's plenty of violence and gun play, as well as more stoner humor than two or three old Cheech and Chong movies. But the humor is clever and springs from the characters, especially Franco's Saul Silver, who may be one of the most appealing characters in any 2008 comedy.
  5. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." Written by and starring Jason Segel, a veteran of Judd Apatow films and the TV series, "How I Met Your Mother," this edgy twist on the romantic comedy theme showcased the talents, so to speak, of Segel, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, Mila Kunis, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Jack McBrayer and Paul Rudd, who seems to show up in just about all of these types of movies. Segel's character, Peter Bretter, is devastated by his breakup with Sarah  (Bell), so he decides to leave California for a tropical resort to forget all about her. Naturally, Sarah shows up at the same resort with her new boyfriend, a shallow and self-absorbed rocker, perfectly played by Brand. Wackiness ensues. There's plenty of sex and sex talk, but the writing and performances raise this movie above the usual raunchy sex comedy.

-James Roland