The best comedies on Netflix UK
Mark Harrison | On 21, Aug 2016
With things as they are in the world, it’s more important than ever to kick back and have a laugh every once in a while. There are a whole range of comedy films on Netflix UK, from classics to modern laughers, to help you there – in fact, you’re probably spoiled for choice. Luckily for you, we’ve picked out a selection of side-splitters currently available to stream.
We’ve tried to maintain a good mix of eras and styles and hopefully, there will be some that you haven’t seen (or heard of) before, as well as a few you’d like to revisit. In alphabetical order, here are the 25 best comedy films now on Netflix UK.
This list will be updated regularly to reflect new releases and removals.
Woody Allen’s best film finds him in fourth-wall-busting form as Alvy Singer, who’s trying to figure out why his relationship with the titular character has failed. Allen’s impeccable script keeps his endlessly cynical and self-sabotaging protagonist from being unbearable and, indeed, makes this one of the funniest, saddest romantic comedies ever made – approach with caution, if you’ve recently been through a break-up. Otherwise, watch out for one of the great cameos of all time, from Christopher Walken (who else?) as Annie’s brother.
The Court Jester
If Game Of Thrones cheered up a bit, you might get something like Danny Kaye’s musical parody of the Robin Hood legend, in which a loyal subject of the infant king leads the battle to save his kingdom from a dastardly pretender. Unusually for a musical, it’s fast and furious in its pacing and it’s often given to verbal gymnastics and immaculate slapstick, led magnificently by Kaye’s performance. With a budget of $4m, it was the most expensive comedy ever made in its day and though it was a costly box office bomb, it has deservedly found its audience.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
An effete British con artist (Michael Caine) and a brash young American (Steve Martin) butt heads over who will rule a small town on the French riviera, with their professional rivalry staked on swindling a young woman out of $50,000. From the title down, Frank Oz’s remake of Ralph Levy’s Bedtime Story feels like a holdover from another era and its good old fashioned capering makes it essential viewing, especially for fans of Caine and/or Martin.
Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb
General Jack D. Ripper goes off reservation and orders airborne units to drop hydrogen bombs in Russia, setting off a chain of events that could lead to the end of the world. Meanwhile, George C. Scott and numerous Peter Sellerses scramble to try and avert catastrophe from the US government’s war room. Stanley Kubrick’s evergreen satire of Cold War politics is as potent now as it ever was – even though the world stage is continuously populated by people who might get worried about mineshaft gaps or precious bodily fluids, you’ll laugh to keep from crying.
After his wife leaves him for another man, David (Colin Farrell) is a single man who has been dispatched to The Hotel, where he must find a romantic partner in 40 days, or submit to being transformed into a beast of his choice. Yorgos Lanthimos’ wickedly weird dystopian love story was one of the funniest films of 2015 and if you missed it in cinemas, it’s a must-see. It’s cold to the touch, but warmed through by frequent fits of surreal humour.
A New Leaf
Written and directed by its star, Elaine May, this flawless anti-rom-com features Walter Matthau as spoilt man-baby Henry Graham, who burns through his inheritance and plots to marry and bump off May’s painfully shy heiress in order to replenish his funds. Matthau plays charmingly charmless to a tee and while May’s Henrietta is much too adorable to be murdered, the dry wit and macabre tone constantly leaves you wondering how it’s all going to end.
George Kellerman (Jack Lemmon, again) has to be at the most important job interview of his life in New York City, but he and his wife (Sandy Dennis) stumble into a series of delays, strikes and demonstrations in the Big Apple in the 24 hours leading up to it. Lemmon’s indomitable screen presence lends great pathos to George’s desperate and super-litigious antics, while Dennis makes an endlessly supportive foil, but it’s the relentless pile-up of misfortunes that makes it impossible to look away from the Kellermans’ plight.
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists
Aardman’s raucous adaptation of Gideon Defoe’s children’s books is a tour de force of visual gags and cheesy jokes that deserves more praise. The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) really wants to win the coveted Pirate of the Year award, but gets himself into trouble with Charles Darwin (David Tennant) and a ravenous Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) along the way. From gorgeous stop motion cinematography to terrific voice performances, this is as good as Ham Day.
Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal are electric together in this underrated action comedy about two wise-ass Chicago cops, who are trying to survive what The Simpsons once called “ret-irony” during their 30 days’ official notice, so that they can retire and run a bar in Florida. They don’t make them as zingy as this any more, nor do they make anything quite as 1980s, right down to the banging theme song and the freeze-frame ending. It turns into more of an action movie before the end, but the characters’ chemistry keeps it lighter and funnier than the likes of Lethal Weapon.
Adam McKay was Oscar nominated for directing The Big Short, but for our money, this is his masterpiece. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play the adult children of Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins, first fighting and then becoming best friends with disastrous and flabbergastingly funny results. It’s a kind of reverse Bugsy Malone, in which most of the characters should be children, but they’re played by adults instead, and it’s glorious to behold.
Wet Hot American Summer
Released in 2000, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler are among the 16 year olds spending a summer at Camp Firewood, dealing with life, love and the imminent camp talent show. This is essential nonsense, taking the trope of adults playing children to its illogical extreme. Furthermore, you should also check out the Netflix Original prequel series, First Day Of Camp, which was filmed 15 years later with all of the original cast still playing 16 years old.
Before this year’s Deadpool, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick made a big impression with Zombieland, in which Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson team up to try and survive in a world overrun by zombies. In another era, Columbus and Tallahassee might have been played by John Wayne and Woody Allen, but the chemistry between the two leads does just fine, next to sparky support from Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin and another of cinema’s greatest cameos, by Bill effing Murray.