Our 10 Favourite Recent Comedy Movies

Andrew Buckle,

The Jennifer Lawrence-starring No Hard Feelings and the Adele Lim-directed Joy Ride are two of the very rare (and good) adults-only studio comedies to recently receive a release in Australian cinemas. To celebrate this mini resurgence, we are reflecting on some of the very best recent comedies (released 2018-2023) that we feel will stand the test of time and become classics of the genre.

Shiva Baby (2020)

Shiva Baby chronicles an especially awkward shiva for a directionless young bisexual Jewish woman, Danielle (Rachel Sennott), who is forced to navigate the collision of her romantic and career prospects under the intense scrutiny of the attendees, including her parents (Fred Melamed and Polly Draper), ex-girlfriend Maya (Molly Gordon) and sugar daddy Max (Danny Deferrari).

The film has an exquisite balance of humour and tension, which makes the fact that this a debut feature all the more extraordinary. The predominantly single location and real time narrative creates a sense of paranoia and claustrophobia for Danielle, who is bombarded on all sides by pressure to uphold her image as she desperately attempts to suppress the awkwardness. If you’re interested in what’s in store next for writer-director Emma Seligman, they and Rachel Sennott have teamed up for the upcoming teen sex comedy, Bottoms, which also stars The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri.

Tomatometer: 96%

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store.

Triangle of Sadness (2022)

Ruben Östlund‘s Triangle of Sadness is as unique and surprising a film about social discomfort as you will ever see. In the story Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (the late Charlbi Dean Kriek), models and influencers, are invited to a luxury cruise ship alongside a group of out of touch wealthy people. The passengers’ indulgence then takes an unexpected and stomach-churning turn during an ill-fated captain’s dinner.

In this satirical black comedy about the obscenely rich and privileged – within the microcosm of a superyacht – the stage is set for absolute chaos to ensue. The film is split into three acts, and all are fascinating, but the middle act contains one of the funniest extended sequences I have ever encountered. A maelstrom of eye-popping imagery, incredible events, and a showcase for the masterful direction and commitment to performance. 

Tomatometer: 72%

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store.

Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart, the directorial debut for Olivia Wilde (Don’t Worry Darling), was a critical hit back in 2019 and is regarded as one of the funniest and mot relatable teen coming-of-age movies ever made. Before graduation, best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) realise that they have been cast aside for being bookworms and pretentious. They then decide to let loose and make up for lost time by attending multiple of their peers’ graduation parties over the course of one night.

With many memorable sequences, Wilde manages to make the duo’s often uncomfortably relatable pilgrimage to prove they’re as cool as their peers feel fresh despite the familiarity of the premise. Dever and Feldstein are dynamic comedic pairing and the supporting cast is also full of up-and-coming stars – with Skyler Gisondo, Billie Lourd, Diana Silvers and Molly Gordon amongst Amy and Molly’s fellow classmates.

Tomatometer: 96%

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store.

Game Night (2018)

A group of friends, including Max (Jason Bateman, Arrested Development) and Annie (Rachel McAdams, The Notebook), who meet regularly for game nights, find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery when Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is seemingly kidnapped during a Murder Mystery game gone awry.

Game Night features a now-iconic performance from Jesse Plemons as well as some of Rachel McAdams’ best work, but the whole cast is having a great time bringing this witty and frequently surprising story to life. The cinematography by Barry Peterson (who most recently worked on Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves) is also really impressive for a comedy. My only gripe with this otherwise undisputed classic is the fact that if Max and Annie are such hardcore gamers why are Scrabble and The Game of Life anywhere near their table?

Tomatometer: 85%

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store.

Palm Springs (2020)

In Palm Springs two wedding guests – Nyles and Sarah – develop a budding romance while being stuck in a time loop and forced to live the same day over and over again.

The inimitable talents of Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hot Rod and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) and Cristin Milioti (Made for Love and The Resort) are at the heart of this temporally-twisted rom-com. This is a wild, briskly paced, energetic, hilarious and sometime shocking ride, and despite flirting with disaster at times the film always feels assured due to the tremendous chemistry between the pair.

Tomatometer: 94%

Stream on Prime Video.

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

A tragic victim of the pandemic a few years back, this bizarre experience is one of the more underappreciated (and frankly, unseen) films on the list. There is nothing conventional about this colourful dose of very silly, escapist fun.

Lifelong friends Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time and vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida. Mumolo and Wiig, who co-wrote Bridesmaids, are the creative force and are as funny as they have ever been, but a surprisingly hilarious Jamie Dornan will prove to be a scene-stealer for many.

Tomatometer: 80%

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store.

Bad Trip (2021)

Bad Trip is a mix of scripted buddy comedy road movie and a real hidden camera prank show follows the outrageous misadventures of two buddies – Chris (Eric André, The Eric André Show) and Bud (Lil Rel Howery, Get Out) – who embark on a cross-country road trip to NYC so that Chris can declare his love for his high school crush. Tiffany Haddish co-stars as Bud’s pursuing criminal sister Trina, whose car they have stolen for the trip.

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for pure situational chaos and for one of the bravest public humiliation performances you will ever see from writer-star Eric André there’s a lot to admire about this genuinely great entry in the hidden-camera-pranks genre. This is narrative-driven fusion of the pranks we typically see from those crazy Jackass guys, as well as the parody-reality work of Nathan Fielder (Nathan For You).

Tomatometer: 79%

Stream on Netflix.

Long Shot (2019)

In Long Shot a dorky NYC journalist, Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), reunites with his childhood crush, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), now one of the most influential women in the world as the United States Secretary of State. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter and unlikely sparks fly.

This is the quintessential Seth Rogen role (who doesn’t love Seth Rogen?) and he and Theron, an amazing and underrated comic performer in her own right, have an unlikely but infectious chemistry as the ultimate odd couple. Throw in some savvy political hijinx, and a particularly hilarious ecstasy trip, and this is a shot worth investing in.

Tomatometer: 81%

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store.

Werewolves Within (2021)

In this homage to cozy whodunit mysteries with a grisly werewolf twist, the spirit of the iconic TV personality, Mr. Rogers – represented here by kindly, idealistic park ranger Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) – is challenged when the residents of a small New England town, selfishly divided over the proposed establishment of a pipeline, start to eat themselves alive.

Werewolves Within is a fun, lightweight and surprisingly charming horror-comedy with an entertaining concept. It makes just the right transformations between creature-feature bite, whodunit intrigue and loopy character interaction to become a rewatchable classic. I wrote more about this unexpected treat here but if you ever find yourself in the mood for ‘One Night Ultimate Werewolf: The Movie’ then this is 100% for you.

Tomatometer: 86%

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store.

Dolemite is my Name (2019)

Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer in the ’70s who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious and obscene alter ego, Dolemite, became a phenomenon. The film captures Moore’s rise to fame centered around his amateur, self-promoted production of his groundbreaking film, Dolemite.

At the time of release this film offered a welcomed return for the now lightly-worked comic legend with Murphy completely disappearing into the Blaxploitation trailblazer. Dolemite is My Name is the most genuinely uplifting movie-within-a-movie stories since Murphy’s own Bowfinger. You can’t help but get swept up in this lavish document of a man who bet on himself and inspired others, spotlighting a period of creative renaissance for black artists.

Tomatometer: 97%

Stream on Netflix.

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