#20 (tie) – Zombieland (2009)
PAT: The takeaway from this one: casting is everything. The mismatched team of Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone vs. the undead is great fun. But when it seems like the film might come to a screeching halt in Hollywood, we get the un-billed cameo of the century…Bill Murray, as himself. Bill Murray’s section of the film is so funny, you could conceivably laugh so much that you’ll forget everything that happens before and after. It becomes a mini-homage to his entire career/existence and perhaps cemented Bill Murray’s legacy as a multi-generational meme.
#20 (tie) – The Transporter 2 (2005)
TOM: One of my favorite dollar theater experiences. The action is so ridiculous. It’s probably my favorite Jason Statham role. Remember: if you find a bomb attached to your car, the best way to remove it is to corkscrew your car through the air and have a crane knock it off. Skip the 1st and 3rd one.
#19 – The Trip (2010)
JOHN: The film is mostly just a vehicle for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon to offer their impressions of British celebrities, but their impersonated banter is top-notch stuff. The Michael Caine bit is already classic. (“When he gets loudly, he gets very loudly indeed!”) The chemistry between the two is great, allowing the film to be (a little bit) more than just a series of skits.
#18 – Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
TOM: A dollar comedy so good an elderly couple left after one too many double entendres. And like any good dollar action/comedy, the action just gets sillier and sillier! Clive Owen is great as a dollar action hero, as is Paul Giamatti as a villain. I like to think Owen turned down James Bond to star in a Shoot ‘Em Up franchise.
#17 – Hot Fuzz (2007)
TONY: The best film of the Pegg/Frost “Cornetto” trilogy, Hot Fuzz is really a paean to dollar action movies: Nick Frost’s character bases his entire cop career on their teachings, and the film itself references a range of familiar flicks. An amusing plot, many great jokes, and hilariously casual ultraviolence…and it’s the rare buddy cop movie that somehow accurately portrays small-town rural life.
#16 – MacGruber (2010)
JOHN: Will Forte claimed that this movie turned out exactly as planned, and indeed, it exudes the same qualities as a perfectly cut diamond. The re-watch value of this movie is unfathomable. Forte has more good lines than any character since Carl Spackler, including “Call 911!” and, “I asked her to terminate it, obviously, so we could start fresh.”
#15 – Step Brothers (2008)
PAT: “Did we just become best friends?” “Yup!” “Do you wanna go do karate in the garage?” “Yup!” Adam McKay takes absurdist humor to new heights in this modern masterpiece about two man-children (Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly) who refuse to conform to societal norms. It does the impossible… it’s a comedy of manners for the modern era. Adam McKay, Richard Jenkins, Mary Steenburgen (in her finest role since Back to the Future Part III), Rob Riggle, Kathryn Hahn, and Adam Scott all give solid supporting performances.
#14 – The Aristocrats (2005)
TONY: A documentary focusing almost solely on one infamous dirty joke (with the titular punchline), as told by a wide variety of comedians, comic actors, and associated figures. The cinematic equivalent of watching a man get shot out of a cannon 100 times in a row–but if you love that cannon shot (as I do), then you’ll be in stitches. Probably some of the foulest language ever assembled on screen; Bob Saget’s ultra-gross-out bit is the most famous part, but my personal favorite is the gleefully demented segment with the late Taylor Negron (above).
#13 – Seven Psychopaths (2012)
TOM: Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken are great as dog kidnappers who kidnap the wrong mobster’s dog. Colin Farrell plays the sullen straight man, but Rockwell, Walken, and the assorted psychopaths make the movie. Rockwell acting out his screenplay is one of the funniest scenes of the decade!
#12 – The Nice Guys (2016)
PAT: The Nice Guys combines the best of Shane Black’s (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout) screenwriting/directing skills with the inspired pairing of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as two private eyes in ’70s Los Angeles. A distinct lack of solid buddy cop comedies over the last few years finally had the void filled. The dialogue pops, the bullet hits are real, the slapstick work of Gosling should be studied, and the humor is decidedly un-PC. Special shout-out to the kid who played Chet for delivering one of the best comedy exchanges in recent memory.
#11 – Shanghai Noon (2000)
DAN: Shanghai Noon is everything. It is a western. It is a kung-fu film. It is a buddy-cop flick. It also has everything that a dollar audience wants: phenomenal action, hilarious one-liners, and toilet humor. I cried in laughter when this came out in 2000, and I still cry to this day when Owen Wilson says they have to save Princess Pee Pee.
Check back next week for more entries on our Top 50 Comedies Since 2000 list!