2011 was a pretty good year for comedy in film. A comedy won Best Picture at the Oscars (which almost never happens), a comedy featuring a mostly-female ensemble did well at the box office while actually being funny (which also almost never happens), and Woody Allen had the highest-grossing box office showing of his entire career. Here are the six best comedy movies of 2011.
It's hackneyed to say that "women can be funny too," since why shouldn't they? But unfortunately there are all-too-few examples of funny women in Hollywood comedies. But "Bridesmaids" should do some damage to that outmoded paradigm, thanks to a hilarious script and a top-notch ensemble featuring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, and even a couple dudes.
"Midnight in Paris"
It's not anywhere near as funny as Woody Allen's early comedies, but it's a delightful romp nonetheless. Owen Wilson stars as a depressed writer who idolizes the culture of the 1920s, and thanks to some magical shenanigans he's able to travel back in time to hobnob with his favorite figures of that decade, including Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Cancer isn't funny, but this Judd Apatow-produced comedy/drama about a guy played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who finds out he has a very serious form of cancer is pretty hilarious all the same. Seth Rogen plays his best buddy in a story that's loosely based on true events. The laughs are somehow more satisfying when there are real life-and-death emotional stakes at play, and "50/50" graces the line between funny and dramatic beautifully.
Roman Polanski isn't known for comedy, but his 2011 effort "Carnage" is one of the funniest movies of that year. Granted, it's funny in a more cringe-y, painful-to-watch way than some viewers might be comfortable with, but for people who are up to 80 minutes of comic tension there are big laughs to be had. The story has John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, and Christoph Waltz as two yuppie New York couples trying to sort out a dispute between their children. It does not go as planned.
"30 Minutes or Less"