Modern Comedy Movies

Thursday, April 14 by Tom Gordon

Many of the more popular modern comedy movies have successfully blended clever writing with a little raunchy humor and a heart at the center of it all. Several of the comedies listed below feature big-name stars or directors who keep turning out one funny blockbuster after another. If you've missed any of these, don't hesitate to check one out for a lot of laughs tonight.

  1. "The Hangover." After the success of "Old School," director Todd Phillips delivered the funniest film of 2010 and one of the most popular modern comedies of the 21st century.  "The Hangover" follows three groomsmen who lose their buddy (the groom-to-be) after a crazy night of drinking in Las Vegas, and must piece together their night in order to find him.
  2. "Wedding Crashers." Another wedding-related and raunchy comedy, this 2005 hit starred Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as buddies who crash weddings in order to hook up with chicks. A lengthy set of rules guides their crashing, but everything gets screwed up when they fall for a pair of gorgeous sisters.
  3. "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy." One of the first great modern comedy movies of the 21st century, 2004's "Anchorman" features Will Ferrell as a self-absorbed but not very bright TV anchor in 1970s San Diego.
  4. "Knocked Up." Seth Rogen became a superstar in this 2007 comedy, where he plays slacker Ben Stone who gets lucky with a gorgeous TV entertainment reporter (Katherine Heigl) and gets her pregnant. The funny ensemble cast include Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel and Leslie Mann.
  5. "Juno." A very different modern comedy about an unexpected pregnancy, "Juno" nevertheless is a funny and thought-provoking movie that earned first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody an Oscar in 2008. Ellen Page is terrific as the teen navigating her way through pregnancy high school and her complicated friendship with the nerdy Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), who is the baby's father.
  6. "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Steve Carell and a cast that includes Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen are all perfect in this very funny, and also awkwardly sweet movie about a guy goaded into finally getting laid. This 2005 follow-up to "Anchorman" clearly put director Judd Apatow at the top of the heap of modern comedy movie directors.
  7. "The Big Lebowski." This 1998 comic mystery from the Coen Brothers gave the world an iconic movie characters in The Dude (Jeff Bridges), who is trying to reclaim his life after a nasty case of mistaken identity gets him in big trouble.
  8. "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." In 2006, fake Kazakh TV correspondent Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) invaded theaters with an outrageous take on American culture. It's among the funniest modern comedies, but it's not for every taste and incredibly inappropriate for the kids.
  9. "Shaun of the Dead." Also not one for the tykes, this 2004 horror movie spoof features a bummed-out  Brit named Shaun (Simon Pegg) with his hands full as he deals with girlfriend and family problems, as well as a town full of zombies. Pay close attention, as some the funniest gags are based on zombies going about their business in a way that's not quite like the way they did things when they were alive.
  10. "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." Writer-director Wes Anderson has made some excellent quirky, low-key comedies, such as "The Royal Tennenbaums" and "Rushmore," but "Life Aquatic" may be his best. The 2004 film stars Bill Murray as a Jacques Cousteau-esque oceanographer/filmmaker on his latest voyage that includes a reunion with a son he never knew (Owen Wilson), pirates who kidnap a crew member, funding troubles, an eccentric crew, and his odd relationship with his wife (wonderfully played by Anjelica Huston).
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