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Comedies of the Decade

Movies, Year-End | By The Top 13 on November 2, 2009

As we near the end of the decade, The Top 13 takes a look at the funniest comedies of the 2000s. These are not necessarily the best movies that are comedies, just the ones that bring the most laughs. One thing is clear - this decade was dominated by a few individuals, most notably Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow, who collectively had a hand as an actor, producer, or director in more than half of the films on this list. There is a fine line between clever and stupid, and many of these films deftly walk that line. For a list of all comedies released this decade, see here.

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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)


Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

This is the movie that, for better or for worse, cemented Will Ferrell’s status as Hollywood’s leading insane funnyman. In an odd way, this movie was a precursor to stardom for both Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell, who blasted off following their turns in the 40-Year-Old Virgin. The jokes in this movie are like Sex Panther - 60 percent of the time, they work every time. Or as Time Out said, Anchorman "takes a joke and runs with it - sometimes too far, but usually long enough to wear you down and force you to submit to its craziness."

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)


The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

This film launched many careers on the big screen, none more notable than that of its director, Judd Apatow, the reanimator of the Rated-R comedy. This is the film that officially propelled Steve Carell into superstardom, launched Seth Rogen's film career, and cemented Paul Rudd as a go-to comedy brah. It also gave the world "you know how I know you're gay." Bravo.

Borat (2006)


Borat (2006)

Quite possibly the least politically correct film since The Birth of a Nation, Borat is subversively hysterical. There may never be a funnier or more disturbing scene than Borat's utterly ridiculous naked wrestling match with his manager Azamat. As the Boston Globe said, Borat is a "comic put-on of awe-inspiring crudity and death-defying satire and by a long shot the funniest film of the year. It is Jackass with a brain and Mark Twain with full frontal male nudity."

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)


Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Walk Hard is a pitch-perfect skewering of the music biopic, taking aim specifically at the likes of Walk the Line and Ray. It rises above the average spoof by virtue of its genuinely good, funny songs and cameos galore. As best put by Rolling Stone: "The tricky thing about parody movies is that the jokes get old fast and they're hit-and-miss. Walk Hard is guilty on both counts. How lucky that when the jokes do hit, they kick major ass."

Idiocracy (2006)


Idiocracy (2006)

Likely the most divisive choice on The Top 13, Idiocracy is a witheringly satirical condemnation of modern society and where it's headed. This movie is full of hilarious one-liners, but often teeters on the line of being as stupid as the people it lampoons. With a box office pull of less than $400,000, this film is legendary for the degrees that its studio tried to bury it. This is a true love-it-or-hate it film. The Top 13 loves it.

Team America: World Police (2006)


Team America: World Police (2006)

Another brilliant hit from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Team America ridicules big-budget action movies and America's response to terrorism abroad - with puppets. This one would make The Top 13 for the songs alone, including "America, Fuck Yeah" and "Everyone Has AIDS." As the Village Voice said, "Team America is at once grandiose and tacky, elaborate and deflationary." Matt Damon!

Knocked Up (2007)


Knocked Up (2007)

Judd Apatow's follow-up to the 40-Year-Old Virgin, this movie is at once funny and heartfelt. It helped further propel the careers of Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, and bit players like Jonah Hill and Jason Segal. While it veers off frequently into drama territory, all of the scenes featuring Rogen's juvenile roommates and those featuring Paul Rudd as a beleaguered husband land the film on this list.

Zoolander (2001)


Zoolander (2001)

Zoolander is pretty much a one-joke movie, but that joke is a funny one. Featuring surprisingly inspired performances by Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and about a million cameos, Zoolander's best quality is how little it takes itself seriously. This movie gave Stiller and Ferrell the footholds that they used to become the ubiquitous comedic actors of the decade.

The Hangover (2009)


The Hangover (2009)

The most recent movie on this list, The Hangover is evenly hilarious, a pretty rare feat for this type of film. Propelled largely by Zach Galifianakis' soon-to-be-legendary performance, The Hangover does the Vegas buddy comedy right. Profane, insane, and very, very funny. As Rolling Stone put it: "The Hangover ain't art, but Phillips has shaped the hardcore hilarity into the summer party movie of all our twisted dreams."

Shaun of the Dead (2004)


Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead was a pleasant surprise in 2004, a nearly perfect spoof of the zombie movie genre starring the very funny comedy duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It somehow manages to toe the line between being a spoof while retaining the elements of a great zombie film. As their follow-up, Hot Fuzz attests, Pegg and Frost are quite adept at blending spoof and sincerity.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

This may be controversial, but for our money, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is at least as funny as Clerks and might just be Kevin Smith's smartest movie. While Jay and Silent Bob had made cameos in all of Smith's prior films, Smith made this movie about the stoner duo. The results are outrageous and hysterical, although they do play as an inside joke for fans of Smith's prior movies.

Old School (2003)


Old School (2003)

This movie is beloved by many, but The Top 13 thinks that Todd Phillips' follow-up, The Hangover, was superior. This formulaic revival of the Animal House frat comedy certainly has its moments, most notably when Will Ferrell gets shot by a tranquilizer dart and all of the scenes involving geriatric pledge Joseph 'Blue' Palasky. Vince Vaughan perfected in this film the same basic character that he's been playing ever since.

Super Troopers (2001)


Super Troopers (2001)

Super Troopers came out of nowhere in 2001 to become a cult comedy classic. Contrary to what you'd expect, this movie is not a parody of cop movies - rather, it's more like a drawn-out skit about a group of incompetent state troopers. This group has since cranked out two other films, the relatively tone-deaf Club Dread and a more worthy follow-up, Beerfest. As Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press wrote: "It's consistently funny, in an irresistible junior-high way, and consistently free of any gag that would force you to give it a millisecond of thought."

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Comments Leave a comment


Idiocracy is awesome!

1:33 AM   Nov 02, 2009


This list is great, but if you want the best Pegg/Frost comedy film then it has to be Hot Fuzz

4:19 AM   Nov 02, 2009


Haha, I couldn't stand Walk Hard. Totally agree on Idiocracy though. Good list!

6:31 AM   Nov 02, 2009

KungFuJay ★★

The inclusion of Zoolander and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is very suspect.

9:03 AM   Nov 02, 2009


Great list! I agree, but would also give honorable mention to: Harold & Kumar (either one), About a Boy, Bad Santa, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Clerks II. And I may have to move things around on my list - Zoolander & Team America would be in my top 5.

9:18 AM   Nov 02, 2009


I've been meaning to give Anchorman another shot since everyone seems to love that film, but after my one viewing, I thought it was distinctly lacking in the funny department save for one or two scenes.

Agree with the inclusion of 40 Year Old Virgin, Old School, Knocked Up, Super Troopers and either Jay & Silent Bob or Clerks II.

10:42 AM   Nov 02, 2009


so glad zoolander is on there. i love it. Superbad should be on there though, and as far as Kevin Smith movies, i like Clerks II more than Jay & Silent Bob... but i like them both.

2:53 PM   Nov 02, 2009

PulpAffliction ★★

Walk Hard was awful, but I'm extremely pleased to see "Idiocracy" included on your list.

5:22 PM   Nov 02, 2009



6:15 PM   Nov 02, 2009


WET call indeed. Idiocracy for sure, but what about its predecessor...Run Ronnie Run??? ok, perhaps that's a stretch, admittedly...

6:46 PM   Nov 02, 2009


I think only Anchorman, Borat, and Shaun of the Dead would make my list. Wet Hot American Summer and Clerks II probably would. Does a movie like Boogie Nights count?

7:08 PM   Nov 02, 2009

KungFuJay ★★

No, Boogie Nights really isn't a comedy despite being "funny" in parts.

7:43 PM   Nov 02, 2009


Boogie Nights also wasn't released this decade. Super Troopers and Anchorman are probably my favorites from this list.

8:20 PM   Nov 02, 2009


Whoa, '97. Not even close.

10:42 PM   Nov 02, 2009


It's clear that some theme's or character underpinning's struck a nerve, so hysterical and sensitive, that the author's glaringly omitted them from the list, specifically:
Napoleon Dynamite, Harold & Kumar. Where are the Huge Nerd films?

7:16 AM   Nov 03, 2009


I am migrating over here since the ACL board seems to have finally bit the dust. My list included Anchorman, Borat, Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Napoleon Dynamite, Love Actually, Old School, Shanghai Noon, The Incredibles, Shrek, Evolution, Talladega Nights, and the first Pirates of the Carribbean.

9:19 AM   Nov 03, 2009

tloveisready ★★

Death at a Funeral has got to be my #1. Agreed with Old School for sure. Also, Knocked Up and Super Troopers. Can't believe you two left off Tropic Thunder!

9:51 AM   Nov 03, 2009


Jay and Silent Bob, Old School, and Super Troopers should all be higher up on this list. I also agree with tlove, Death at a Funeral should be on here somewhere. What about The Baxter? Definitely one of Showalter's best comedies. I don't even think Knocked Up belongs on this list, Superbad was so much better.

10:22 AM   Nov 03, 2009


My tentative list: Little Miss Sunshine, Up, Borat, Planet Terror, Shaun of the Dead, Kung Fu Hustle, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Orange County, Wet Hot American Summer, Observe & Report, Superbad, Clerks II, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

10:50 AM   Nov 03, 2009


I have O Brother Where Art Thou? and Kung Fu Hustle on my list as well.

11:25 AM   Nov 03, 2009


dude, where's dude where's my car?

9:45 PM   Nov 03, 2009


What? No love for "One Night at McCools"?

8:05 PM   Nov 04, 2009


Oh, and if you haven't seen Adam Carolla's "The Hammer," put it in your Netflix.

8:20 PM   Nov 04, 2009


I'm counting The Life Aquatic and The Royal Tenenbaums as comedies because they're funny and brilliant.

10:23 PM   Nov 04, 2009


My top three: Wet Hot American Summer, Beerfest, Super Troopers

1:00 AM   Nov 05, 2009


I made my submission. But can someone explain me how Top 13 will make a list of the readers favorites? Is it a point system or something else?

6:11 AM   Nov 05, 2009


btw, Funny People, 50 First dates, The Longest Yard are on my list. (I'm an Adam Sandler fan!)

6:14 AM   Nov 05, 2009


Reader results will use a weighted points based system, 13pts for your #1 picks, 12pts for #2, so on down the line.

8:13 AM   Nov 05, 2009



8:16 AM   Nov 05, 2009


If Elf doesn't make the Top 13 I'm convinced that there is no God.

11:05 AM   Nov 05, 2009

KungFuJay ★★

One Night at McCool's was the worst.

1:35 PM   Nov 05, 2009


I thought about including Elf and Sideways. I really hope Napoleon Dynamite doesn't make the list.

4:23 PM   Nov 05, 2009


Just Friends is on my list. Highly underrated.

10:05 PM   Nov 11, 2009


Nice to see the Death at A Funeral love. I had forgotten about that one. Very funny.

4:05 PM   Nov 17, 2009


Glad to see Dewey Cox on there. I liked Stepbrothers a lot. Anchorman/40yrold Virgin did nothing for me. Completely overrated. Where is "grandma's boy"? Zoolander & Joe Dirt gets better each viewing unlike Hangover

10:02 PM   Dec 28, 2009


No "Wedding Crashers," huh?

And we're supposed to believe this list is credible?

9:40 PM   Dec 29, 2009


i could of totally came up with a better list..... like come on wheres tommy boy?

8:28 AM   Jul 18, 2011


Tommy Boy came out in 1995.

2:40 PM   Jul 19, 2011

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