Netflix doesn’t stop. The churn of movies old and new is constant, as titles fall off and are added to the selection regularly throughout the year. That means our last list of the best comedies on Netflix, which dates back to last March, is now hopelessly outdated. Let’s rectify that right now.
If you haven’t read one of the previous versions of this list before, here’s the standard spiel: I’m the comedy editor here at ol’ Paste Magazine. When calibrating the best comedies on this list, the overall cinematic quality of a film is important, but slightly more crucial is how much it makes me laugh. Hence Caddyshack coming in higher than the two Wes Anderson movies on the list.
Our last list had 50 films. This one has 40 because, uh, we were already kinda scraping the bottom of the Netflix barrel just to get to this point. I don’t know if Netflix’s increasing focus on original programming explains why their worthwhile film offerings are slimmer than before, but while scanning through the listings it was a quickly realized fact: the comedy section isn’t what it used to be.
Still, that doesn’t leave you completely high and dry. There are dozens of great comedies I can wholeheartedly recommend to our loyal readership. All of those, and a few more, are below.
40. Scary Movie
Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans
The least terrible of the five () Scary Movie movies is the only one we can (tepidly) endorse. Before writers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer really kicked off their ___ Movie parody reign of terror, three members of the Wayans family took one of their scripts and turned it into a dim but occasionally funny satire of Scream and the teen horror films that were popular in the late ‘90s. (If you want to know why a satire of horror films needed its own satire, well, you’ve already put more thought into this than Friedberg or Seltzer ever have.) Anna Faris is fine despite the lackluster material, and some of the fourth wall breaking meta-jokes from Marlon and Shawn Wayans work.—Garrett Martin
39. Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal The Movie
Director: Jeremy Konner
Too short to rank higher on this list, but maybe still too long for what it tries to do, this Funny or Die-produced parody is an absurd, caustic pseudo-adaptation of the 1987 memoir that first brought our most inexplicable of presidents to national prominence. Starring Johnny Depp, in his best perfrmance since that 21 Jump Street movie, as Trump, The Art of the Deal is a cameo-filled 50 minute sprint through Trump’s formative business years, with the joke-a-minute style of Zucker-Abraham-Zucker and the voice of a late night comedy sketch.—Garrett Martin
38. In Like Flint
Director: Gordon Douglas
The second mid-’60s James Bond sequel to star James Coburn as Derek Flint doesn’t hold up as well as the original, but it’s the only one of the two on Netflix right now. It’s a goofy, very ‘60s parody of early Bond movies that pretty clearly inspired Austin Powers (really, those movies feel less like Bond parodies than homages to Flint). In Like Flint’s plot now feels as archaic as the Bond tropes it was sending up—it’s all about evil feminists who want to take down the men who rule the world—but Coburn’s tough guy act works perfectly in this comedic setting, and the super ‘60s atmosphere is a delight.—Garrett Martin
Director: Andy Tennant
Sure, Hitch never garnered any high-profile awards buzz. However, this standout 2005 romantic comedy did teach us the Q-tip dance, and we can all be thankful for that. Alex “Hitch” Hitchens is a professional dating consultant with an expertise in teaching nerdy men how to woo women. Played by the delightfully suave Will Smith, the “date doctor” is hired by Albert Brennamen in hopes to win the heart of beautiful celebrity Alegra Cole. While coaching Albert, Hitch also attempts to take his own advice as he charms cynical gossip columnist Sara Melas, who is not too pleased when finding out her beau is actually the man she is attempting to expose. Smith’s comedic chemistry with Kevin James is showcased when Hitch teaches Albert how to move it on the dance floor. If any studio executives decide to make a sequel, we suggest you take Aziz Ansari advice: “MINDYKALING AS A FEMALE HITCH!”—Stephanie Sharp
36. Band of Robbers
Directors: Aaron Nee, Adam Nee
As strong as the talent is in front of the camera (including the comedic sidekick duo of Hannibal Buress and Matthew Gray Gubler), consider the talent behind it even more. The Nees know their stuff, whether they’re setting up a punch line (of which Band of Robbers has many) or composing countless lovely shots in widescreen. They’ve made a film that’s as hilarious as it is beautiful. As Huck himself might say, it’s nothin‘ but magic.—Andy Crump
Director: Michael Dowse
You’d think Slap Shot would’ve said all there is to say about violence as a crucial marketing tool for minor league hockey, but Goon carves out its own nook in the sports comedy pantheon thanks to a funny script from Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg and fine performances from Seann William Scott and Liev Schreiber. A sequel is actually being released a week from the day this list was originally published in March 2017.—Garrett Martin
34. Sausage Party
Directors: Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
Though Sausage Party is uneven at times, all is made whole by a third act that presents scene after scene of some of the most unbelievable ridiculousness ever shown in a film. Credit goes to Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, who wrote This Is the End and The Interview, as well as to The Night Before writers Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. This team knows how to end their films with a literal and metaphorical bang that pays off beautifully.—Ross Bonaime
33. Drinking Buddies
Director: Joe Swanberg
If you feel compelled to go full indie and can’t stand love stories with tidy, happy endings, Drinking Buddies should be your pick. It’s an unconventional romance in that most of the characters never commit to the relationships or infidelities we expect them to. Instead, it’s about temptation, the lies we tell ourselves in a relationship and the boundaries between friendship and romantic feelings. A scion of—but not full-fledged entry into—the mumblecore genre, its largely improvised dialog lends an air of reality to the conversations, but those expecting typical genre conventions may find themselves perplexed when you don’t get anything resembling the “wedding bells” ending of the typical romantic comedy.—Jim Vorel
32. Little Evil
Director: Eli Craig
Seven years after he gave us Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, one of the best horror comedies in recent memory, director Eli Craig has finally returned with another horror comedy exclusive for Netflix, Little Evil. An obvious parody of The Omen and other “evil kid” movies, Little Evil wears its influences and references on its sleeve in ways that while not particularly clever, are at least loving. Adam Scott is the sad-sack father who somehow became swept up in a whirlwind romance and marriage, all while being unfazed by the fact that his new step-son is the kind of kid who dresses like a pint-sized Angus Young and trails catastrophes behind him wherever he goes. Evangeline Lilly is the boy’s foxy mother, whose motivations are suspect throughout. Does she know that her child is the spawn of Satan, or as his mother is she just willfully blind to the obvious evil growing under her nose? The film can boast a pretty impressive supporting cast, from Donald Faison and Chris D’elia as fellow step-dads, to Clancy Brown as a fire-and-brimstone preacher, but never does it fully commit toward either its jokes or attempts to frighten. The final 30 minutes are the most interesting, as they lead the plot in an unexpected direction that redefines the audience’s perception of the demon child, but it still makes for a somewhat uneven execution. Tucker & Dale this is not, but it’s still a serviceable return for Craig. —Jim Vorel
31. Bad Santa
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Billy Bob Thornton is sublimely degenerate, as only he can be, but the film’s ending has one of the most redemptive turns this side of It’s A Wonderful Life. A true masterpiece of a dark comedy, in Bad Santa we see the titular Anti-St. Nick pee himself, get wasted, swear at kids, disrespect authority and plan on robbing the very mall in which he (barely) works. That the aforementioned Bad Santa is not just a vulgar caricature is testament to Thornton’s these-are-the-facts deadpan, countered by two brilliant supporting performances from the late greats John Ritter and Bernie Ma, as well as Thornton’s genuinely touching rapport with innocent cherub Thurman Murman (Brett Kelly). —Greg Smith