#10 – The Other Guys (2010)
PAT: “Aim for the bushes!” A great spoof/buddy cop flick. Two desk cops (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) wish they were real cops and, you guessed it, after a series of circumstances they finally get the chance. Ferrell’s character’s past work as a pimp leads to some particularly gut-busting laughs. The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson are stand-outs. Ice-T narrates.
#9 – Idiocracy (2006)
TONY: Writer/director Mike Judge subtly professes eugenics in this sui generis comedy/nightmare. By now it’s almost a cliche to call this film prophetic, so I’ll just point how truly inspired some of the insane year-2505 elements were (Ow! My Balls!, “Welcome to Costco. I love you.”). Career-defining performances from Dax Shepard and Justin Long. Despite being basically suppressed by Fox at the time of its release, it has gone on to become one of the most beloved comedies of the century.
#8 – Old School (2003)
JOHN: Probably the most influential comedy of the last fifteen years. I would say that it set a tone in a way that few comedies have. You could argue that it was derivative of Animal House, but I would say that it became the Animal House (one of the very greatest film comedies of all time) for a new generation.
#7 – Crank (2006)
TOM: The movie is so crazy I might as well copy the Wikipedia synopsis: “Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is poisoned and must keep his adrenaline flowing constantly in order to keep himself alive. He does so by various methods including taking drugs and getting into fights, while he tries to track down the man who poisoned him.” Dwight Yoakam’s also great as his doc: “If you stop, you die!”
#6 – Jackass Number 2 (2006)
PAT: Jackass Number 2 features some of the most outrageous stunt work the Jackass crew has ever committed to film. Not only is it visually impressive–Jackass Number 2 ended slapstick comedy. If you can’t actually accept physical pain for the sake of a laugh, you will never be as funny as these guys. The stunts are outrageous, the gross-out stuff is grosser than ever. The Swan Lake of self-harm.
#5 – Tropic Thunder (2008)
TONY: The fake commercials/trailers that begin this movie ALMOST overshadow the hilarity that follows, but this send-up of self-important actors in war films is undeniably brilliant. A very inside-baseball kind of movie (one subplot involves an agent negotiating a TiVo for his client), but enjoyable for anyone who knows anything about the making of Apocalypse Now. Robert Downey Jr. received an Oscar nomination for his blackface performance.
#4 – Dodgeball (2004)
PAT: Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn go toe-to-toe in this slobs-vs.-snobs sports comedy classic. Jokes layered upon jokes lead to high re-watch potential. A paper-thin (but masterfully executed) plot involves a small-time gym (Vaughn’s Average Joe’s) fighting against a corporate overlord’s attempted acquisition (Stiller’s aptly named Globo Gym). Their plan? Win a dodgeball tournament and get the cash. Special recognition to the comedic commentary on ESPN 8 (The Ocho) by Gary Cole and Jason Bateman. A stacked supporting cast features: Stephen Root, Christine Taylor (Melody of Hey Dude fame), Rip Torn, and Nickelodeon alum LoriBeth Denberg. Notable and quotable.
#3 – The Hangover (2009)
TONY: With no memory of their wild bachelor party the night before, three friends search for clues and retrace their steps to find the missing groom somewhere in Las Vegas. Raunchy jokes are successfully wedded to a clever plot, and great performances all around. The film’s highlight is probably Zach G’s Rain Man-esque card-counting sequence. An unexpected masterpiece….how often does an R-rated comedy make $500mil at the box office?
#2 – 21 Jump Street (2012)
DAN: Channing Tatum is not often a great actor, but he scores in comedies, and in 21 Jump Street he delivered his finest performance. He is perfect as the super-kewl, jacked jock teaming with the social outcast nerd, played by Jonah Hill. Dollar comedy is full of buddy cop films, and few are better than this. Like Hot Fuzz, 21 Jump Street pokes fun at the ridiculousness of the genre while fully embracing it.
#1 – Pain & Gain (2013)
JOHN: This one had it all. The Rock turned in one of the best performances in any movie of the last twenty years. Mark Wahlberg’s best work. The fact that it’s based on a true story only makes it better. Plus: it’s one of the most American movies of all time.