The 27 best comedy films on Netflix
In need of a chuckle tonight? Mainline one of these funny films into your eyeballs. Updated for January 2023
Are you a Netflix subscriber? Are you in the market for some side-splitting laughs?
If the answer to both those questions is yes, scroll down and feast your eyes on this article, where we’ve compiled the best comedy films on Netflix from the streaming service’s current crop. From biting satires to heart-warming rom-coms, they’re all here – and be sure to check back regularly for updates, as new films arrive on Netflix all the time.
Oh, and if you’re more interested in funny TV series than funny films, don’t worry: we’ve also got a list of those too: The best comedy TV shows on Netflix.
Rian Johnson’s modern day twist on the classic whodunnit is great fun, with Daniel Craig clearly enjoying himself as a Southern gentleman sleuth hired to investigate the death of a wealthy octogenarian crime novelist.
While circumstances suggest the writer took his own life, it quickly becomes clear that there’s far more to this case. Several members of his family (an all-star cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans and Toni Collette) have a motive for murder, while the deceased’s young nurse (Ana de Armas) seems far more distraught about the death than any of his children. Johnson cleverly flips the genre on its head, delivering a fast-moving tale of love, hate, lies and blackmail.
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s Oscar-winning comedy-drama takes a look at middle-aged manhood, responsibility and friendship, all refracted through the lens of alcohol consumption.
Four male pals, all teachers who work at the same school, decide to put an obscure theory – the idea that we’re born with a 0.05% deficiency in our blood alcohol levels – to the test. By keeping themselves in a state of perpetual pre-drunken tiddliness (albeit with strictly no boozing at weekends, or after 8pm), they believe they can unlock some secret to contentment and achievement in both their personal and professional lives.
Needless to say, their experiment proves revealing, but perhaps not quite in the way intended. Mads Mikkelsen stars.
Will Ferrell’s patchy movie output doesn’t take away from the fact that when he’s good, he’s really good; Step Brothers is one of the films which – perhaps a little surprisingly, given its premise – illustrates this fact. Ferrell and the equally superb John C. Reilly play coddled, middle-aged man-children who still live with their respective mother and father, and are then forced to live under the same roof when said parents get married. Chaos ensues as the two go to all-out war.
If it sounds like the sort of film Adam Sandler would swerve, Step Brothers actually morphs swiftly from standard slapstick fare to, well, superior slapstick buddy comedy fare as the two enemies become allies and unite against an external threat. It won’t change your life, but it will keep you laughing for 90 minutes of it.
Writer-director Lulu Wang’s semi-autobiographical tale of cultural differences and similarities makes for a funny and tender look at family, death and duty.
Awkwafina plays Billi, a young Chinese-American struggling to find direction as a writer in New York. She then discovers her grandmother back in Beijing has only months to live – but is blissfully unaware of it. In China, an aghast Billi is told, families often withhold such information from dying relatives to spare them psychological pain. Despite seeing this as a cruel deception, she travels to China with her parents to say her goodbyes under the guise of attending a cousin’s wedding.
Beverly Hills Cop
It’s tempting to opine, when asked to talk about Beverly Hills Cop, that “they don’t make films like this anymore” – but given that the beloved 1984 action-comedy is about to get a Netflix-produced sequel with many of the original cast, we’re not so sure that that’s true.
Whatever happens with the new movie, this one remains a gem. Eddie Murphy, in a star-making turn, plays smart-mouthed Detroit detective Axel Foley, who absconds to Los Angeles to track down his friend’s killers, getting into heaps of trouble along the way.
With its iconic Jan Hammer soundtrack, genuinely hateable villains (including Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks) and some classic 80s action scenes with nary a bit of CGI in sight, this is an enjoyable reminder of a once-imperious movie genre that’s all but disappeared from cinema screens.
Napoleon Dynamite is a nerd of many talents: time machine inventor, llama handler, graceful dancer and all-round poster boy for the semi-mythical 1980s.
In case you missed the t-shirts that are still knocking about decades after this movie was released, the movie’s story revolves around Napoleon’s new best friend Pedro running for class president, with obligatory indie teen comedy staples like girl trouble and a dysfunctional family tossed into the mix.
But as with many low budget indie comedies, Napoleon Dynamite is buoyed along more by its tone (absolutely laden with irony) and characters (deadpan, deluded and just plain weird) than its plot. Trust us: just hop on and enjoy the ride.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
One of the Coen brothers’ most inventive and winsome movies, 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? is an unconventional adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. The 1930s American South stands in for ancient Greece and, while George Clooney’s escaped convict makes for an unlikely Odysseus, any halfway keen observer will pick up the similarities easily enough.
Packed with the Coens’ trademark offbeat humour, blessed with a fine ensemble cast and boasting a fantastic bluegrass and folk music soundtrack, this movie is a delightfully weird, effortlessly entertaining trip into the mythical past. Or should that be two mythical pasts?
In the Loop
Before he was the twelfth Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi played the fantastically foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker, government spin-doctor extraordinaire (and clearly inspired by Tony Blair’s real-life media guru Alastair Campbell, almost as sweary as Tucker). In this feature film – spun off from the BBC series The Thick of It – Tucker is part of a delegation sent to Washington to deal with rising tensions in the Middle East.
Writer Armando Iannucci’s take on the build-up to the Iraq War is at once farcical and bleak, as backstabbing politicos massage the evidence to create a case for intervention while scrambling to exclude each other from committees and action groups. Capaldi’s baroque swearing is the undoubted highlight, but the late James Gandolfini’s turn as a U.S. Army general comes a close second.
Hot Rod – in which Andy Samberg plays a wannabe stuntman desperate to win the respect of his tough stepfather (Ian McShane) – received mixed reviews and achieved little box office success upon its 2007 release.
Since then it’s garnered something of a cult following, and deservedly so. Originally intended to be a Will Ferrell vehicle, it instead transmuted into a platform for the sort of bizarre, surreal humour that made Samberg and his Lonely Island comedy cohorts Jorma Taccone (who co-stars) and Akiva Schaffer (who directs) famous. Describing as ahead of its time might be exaggerating things a bit, but one thing is accurate: a decade-plus on this offbeat style of comedy has become pretty much mainstream. Do yourselves a favour and take this Hot Rod for a spin.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
North Norfolk’s favourite son arrives on the big screen in typical Partridge style – energetically singing along to Roachford’s “Cuddly Toy” whilst driving to work at his digital radio station. Alpha Papa might not do enough to win over non-Partridge fans, but anyone who’s adored Steve Coogan’s past work (and there are lots of you out there) will get a huge kick out of seeing how Alan Partridge works on a bigger-than-normal budget (spoiler: surprisingly well). It’s a comedy movie well stocked with all the gracelessness, pathos and lack of self-awareness you’d expect from one of television’s most delightfully cringy characters.
Game Over, Man!
A slacker comedy version of Die Hard might sound as tortuous as walking barefoot over broken glass, but Game Over, Man! is a pleasant surprise. “Pleasant,” however, would not be the appropriate term for the source of most of the laughs – this is one of the most effective gross-out comedies in recent times, packed with dismemberment, toilet humour, graphic nudity and all the rest of that good stuff.
The setup? A group of well-trained international terrorists take over a swanky high rise hotel in Los Angeles, taking everyone (including 90s pop-reggae star Shaggy) hostage except for three members of the housekeeping staff. Can this trio of losers turn the tables on the bad guys and save the day? Well, what do you think?
Love and Monsters
A family-friendly comedy adventure set in a post-apocalyptic USA might seem tonally odd, but this colourful, fast-paced and involving flick pretty much gets everything right. Seven years after an event that led to cold-blooded animals rapidly evolving into huge mutant monsters and humans moving right down the food chain, cowardly but loveable Joel decides to leave the relative safety of his underground bunker to find the girlfriend he hasn’t seen in the best part of a decade. Between the pair lies 80 miles of predator-infested wilderness – and that’s assuming he can even walk in the right direction.
What follows is an enjoyable 90 minutes of strong character building, breathless action, surprisingly well-written romance and laughs that’ll keep your kids (and maybe even you) glued to the screen.
Meet the Parents
It might be about as slick and mainstream as you can get for a comedy film, but there’s an unmistakable charm to this slapstick rom com about neurotic Jewish nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) becoming acquainted with his fiancée’s WASPish upper middle-class parents. Robert De Niro is the strait-laced future father-in-law, an ex-CIA agent with a penchant for cats, lie detectors and needling prospective suitors. It’s lightweight stuff, it’s true, but much better than most of De Niro’s late-career performances.
Jackass: The Movie
You know what to expect here: grown men performing childish stunts and getting hurt in the process. Big and clever? No. Hilarious and somehow life-affirming? Yes. The first of four big-screen outings for Johnny Knoxville and company, this takes the TV show’s concept to new heights while cleaving closely to its charming lo-fi roots. If you’re looking for plot, nuance or great cinematography, you’re out of luck – but if you’re in the market for laughs you’ll find plenty.
Is Amélie as twee and whimsical as it might seem? Maybe, just a little bit. But Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s stylish rom-com is also funny, heart-warming and unconventional. It’s a love letter to Paris that’s bathed in Gallic charm and wit, and rarely cloying.
Audrey Tatou’s performance as the titular character, a lonely woman who decides to improve people’s lives through some light interference, made her into a star, but there’s plenty of merit besides her turn – like the quasi-retro colour cast that apparently went on to inspire Instagram’s winsome vintage filters…
There’s a moment in Paddington that will make you leap off the sofa and howl out loud in agony. Whether you’re a fully-grown adult or bushy-eyed sprog, this cinematic ode to everyone’s favourite marmalade fiend finds a way to wind itself around your heartstrings.
It’s stuffed full of belly laughs, impeccable voice acting from Ben Whishaw and a refreshingly affectionate take on immigration. Can a Peruvian bear vanquish the dastardly Nicole Kidman and find a home for himself in Blighty? We’re not telling, but you’ll have a blast finding out.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
John Hughes’ iconic tale of a wily suburban teenager ditching school to spend a memorable day with his friends is one of the must-watch 1980s comedies – a movie that seems to represent a whole era. It helps that it’s an entertaining, engaging watch packed with great moments and performances, from Matthew Broderick’s career-best turn as fourth wall-breaking Ferris to Alan Ruck as his morose hypochondriac best friend Cameron, all of which invest it with a appeal that’ll land with free thinkers of all ages.
Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy shines in this raucous biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, an overweight, middle-aged and professionally directionless musician and stand-up comedian who found fame in the 1970s by creating a smooth-talking and confident stage alter ego: a pimp named Dolemite. As a rags to riches tale it might sound all too familiar, but Murphy’s performance, a fantastic supporting cast packed with familiar faces and a surprising amount of heart and soul make it a truly engaging watch – particularly if you’re learning about Moore and Dolemite for the first time.
Just as Adam Sandler looks set for a second career renaissance courtesy of Uncut Gems (the first being courtesy of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love), let’s rewind right back to the point in his career before he’d sunk so low as to need one: 1996’s Happy Gilmore, in which Sandler’s ability to play “shouty but loveable man-child” felt genuinely fresh and amusing.
Sandler’s eponymous protagonist dreams of making it as an ice hockey pro, but instead finds himself an unlikely golfing prodigy, able to drive the ball further than anyone else on the tour but hopeless at the more technical aspects of the sport’s short game. When his grandmother’s house come under threat, he decides prize money is the solution – and must overcome not only his skill shortcomings but the stuffy golfing establishment.
The Other Guys
Before Adam McKay was tackling weighty subjects like big finance, media empires and politics (in The Big Short, Succession and Vice respectively), he was making a bunch of hilarious mainstream comedies with his pal Will Ferrell; The Other Guys is probably the second-best of these after Anchorman. A clever twist on buddy cop movies (albeit one that actually ticks off all the genre’s tropes), the film sees Ferrell’s pen-pushing desk jockey detective partner up with testosterone-fuelled maverick Mark Wahlberg.
From The Squid and the Whale to The Meyerowitz Stories (the latter of which you’ll also find recommended in this article), Noah Baumbach’s movies have a knack for laying bare the tragi-comic complexities of modern human relationships – and this Netflix original delivers more of the same by digging into the breakdown of a young couple’s (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) marriage.
The pair attempt a “conscious uncoupling” for the sake of their young son, but stumble into something far more acrimonious along the way. The setup is there for a depressing tale of love gone sour, but Marriage Story instead blooms into something far more nuanced and bittersweet.
Always Be My Maybe
Describing a film as “Netflix’s best original romantic comedy” might sound as if we’re damning it with faint praise, but Always Be My Maybe is a genuinely enjoyable, occasionally hilarious riff on the well-worn genre starring (and written by) two likeable leads in Ali Wong and Randall Park.
It’s about a pair of childhood friends who unexpectedly reunite many years after an awkward falling out, their lives having diverged onto very different paths in the mean time. You can probably predict how it turns out, but the route it takes is the fun part – particularly when a certain beloved Matrix megastar proves himself an excellent sport in a scene-stealing cameo.
Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Ray Romano gives the performance of his life in this quiet and affecting indie comedy. Romano stars as the neighbour and friend of the equally impressive Mark Duplass – the duo’s enjoyably mundane routine of martial arts movies, jigsaw puzzles, pizza and their invented pastime of “paddleton” disrupted by a terrible medical diagnosis.
What might easily have been an overwrought drama instead works as a beautifully understated, unsentimental and utterly convincing depiction of male friendship – and certainly one of the best Netflix-produced movies we’ve seen.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Originally intended to be a series of six individual episodes, the Coen brothers instead combined this collection of tales from the Wild West into a single anthology; over the course of its two hours we meet a cast of typically Coen-esque characters including the singing cowboy of the title, a bank robber who meets his match, and a determined prospector played by Tom Waits.
It certainly comes with its fair share of quirky Coen brothers charm, black humour and memorable lines, but the format means The Ballad of Buster Scruggs never quite gets going – and just as it looks like it might, with the tale of a blossoming romance on a wagon train journey to Oregon, it feels like it’s over too soon. Even so, it’s a must-watch for Coen fans.
Why can’t all teen comedies could be as funny, pacy and ultimately life-affirming as 2007’s Superbad, which manages to juggle all the tropes of the genre (partying, sex, friendship) without feeling hackneyed or bloated?
It’s ninety minutes of proof that parties are sources of never-ending angst. You need someone over the age limit to buy the booze – your high school friend with an ID that reads “McLovin” will do. You’ve got to impress the girls – Seth works out that headbutting them in the face works a charm. And in American movies, there’s always the chance the cops will show up – we just wish all of them were as warped as Bill Hader and Seth Rogen.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
“He’s not the Messiah; he’s a very naughty boy!” Falling foul of blasphemy laws in several countries upon its 1979 release (it was banned for eight years in Ireland), Life of Brian is now regarded as one of the greatest comedy films ever made, a British national treasure and a smart satire on the hypocrisy of organised religion. Like pretty much everything else ever made by the Monty Python team, it’s now available to watch on Netflix, bringing this fantastic film – in which a regular, unremarkable Judean man is mistaken for Jesus Christ – to a brand new audience.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Netflix has occasionally sought out real quality with its original movies, as evidenced by this wry, intelligent indie comedy-drama written and directed by Noah Baumbach – one of cinema’s most perceptive chroniclers of modern human relationships.
Starring Adam Sandler (in his best “serious” performance since Punch-Drunk Love), Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) examines a dysfunctional New York family through the prism of several of its members, all of whom revolve around Hoffman’s preening, needy and manipulative patriarch.