Honestly comedy has been the most lackluster genre of 2017, at least in my personal opinion, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few gems to explore! From more subtle artistic comedy films to outright loony comedic adventures this genre had more than its fair share of both fan fodder and significant artistic pieces to sift through and I picked my favorite ten of the genre films I saw in 2017. From dark comedy to outright satire, these were the films that made us laugh, either hilariously or cynically, throughout the year. Time to count down my picks for the Top 10 Comedy Films of 2017.
The comedy genre is pretty widespread so for this list I looked at films that embraced comedy as a primary categorization, even if that genre shared that right with another genre. Many of these films managed to blend deeper elements with either subtle or outright obvious comedic charm and while they may not be funny all the way through, comedy is a big part of the presentations of these movies and each one proved to be a quality project in its own right. Other films were a bit less subtle and completely embraced their hilarious settings. As with previous 2017 “Best of” lists no movie that appears on another list can make this top 10 and no Netflix exclusives, although there is at least one film on here that earned its place because it had a Netflix release combined with a limited theatrical run. Also the top three films once again qualify for my year-end Best of 2017 list on New Years Day.
Whether funny or satirical, true-to-life or completely out of control these movies all stood out in a genre that oozed mediocrity for many mainstream offerings in 2017. Which ones actually made a mark? Let’s get started. Let me know what your favorite comedy film of 2017 is in the comments below!
Despite what you might think about Amy Schumer she knows her brand of comedy and totally owns it. The film followed Schumer’s character and her on-screen mother as they were kidnapped in a foreign country and had to find their way home and to safety. While not as effective as her past works, “Snatched” was still a pretty amusing comedic offering rising above a generic plot to provide some truly laugh-inducing moments. I actually saw this movie with my mother, as many did since it was release on Mother’s Day weekend, and I thought it was a fitting fun-filled romp to pander to its chosen weekend crowd. In my review I called it among 2017’s better comedies and a film where its stars “take a mediocre tale and lift it much higher than it deserves to be”. It’s a solid film to start this list off as one of the few middle-of-the-road comedies of the year to be truly entertaining.
9. “Going In Style”
Take three top-notch actors and an “Ocean’s 11” style heist story and you have a recipe for a satisfying comedy that might not have turned many heads, but the ones that did turn probably cracked a smile. Led by legendary actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin “Going In Style” told of three elderly men who, after losing their benefits and retirement due to greedy actions by their ex employers, planned a daring robbery with comedic high jinks ensuing. If not for the talent of its main cast members this film could have been a dumpster fire, but its these performances that helped add charm and credibility to a project that in my review I called “a pretty good offering” for a generic comedy. While it wasn’t very unique, there was enough charm and hilarity that made me keep coming back to this movie time and time again this year in a year filled with forgettable comedy projects that were never up to snuff. For that I had to put it on this list and give it its due credit.
8. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”
I thought about putting this film in my action movie list, but it was equal parts comedy and action and I felt it was more at home here. Starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson respectively as a bodyguard and the hitman he must protect this film packed tons of action, but also brought the laughs even if they weren’t as numerous as they should have been. In my review I actually said the action was the better part of the film, but for the sake of better action movies I included it here instead to give it its due. In that same review I said “There’s just enough here (with ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’) to give us what we expect” meaning it was a delightfully passable action comedy that went on to dominate the box office for several weeks during the slowest time of the year.
7. “A Bad Moms Christmas”
As proof that I’m not made of stone, here’s a shameless generic comedy that I absolutely loved and is solely responsible for giving me holiday spirit before Thanksgiving in 2017. While I acknowledged this holiday-themed sequel wasn’t cinematic gold it was genuinely funny and contained a great cast that totally owned their parts as we saw the three moms from the first film share the holidays with their own eccentric mothers. In my review I said “as far as comedies go ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ is a solid motion picture in a year filled with massive duds”. Was it cliché? Yes! Did it borrow to heavily from the first film? Absolutely. But it really did feel like this film’s format lent itself to the holiday theme maybe even more than the previous film’s more generic school backdrop. All in all it showed that “A Bad Moms” can rise above mediocrity and is worthy of franchise status.
6. “Girls Trip”
Ladies dominated the world of comedy in 2017 and while not all of these films were stellar we now have two films with ensemble females casts on this list. “Girls Trip” saw four high school friends rekindle their bond in New Orleans as one of them, now a famous writer, prepares to speak at a conference. Each of the four ladies, played by Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish, get their chance to shine and its no wonder this film lasted almost three months in the theater. THis was actually one of two films that explored the “old girlfriends getting wild” theme in 2017 and was FAR superior to the other offering, “Rough Night”, which featured a mostly white cast. “Girl’s Trip” was hilarious and charming and was a comedy that in my review I called a solid offering that “brings the laughs, heart, and even a subtle message of cultural identity to the table in a nice, tight package that never really gets boring”. In terms of outright unapologetically goofy comedies in 2017 this was one of the best and with the possibility of a second film being discussed I’ll be one to say I look forward to seeing these four party ladies back on the big screen some time soon.
5. “Logan Lucky”
The second heist film on this list “Logan Lucky” holds a special place in my heart thanks to its NASCAR themed story and while it might not be for everyone it was a solid comedy film to say the least. Following two brothers, the Logans, who plan to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race of the season, “Logan Lucky” successfully captured the same feel and charm of director Steven Soderbergh’s “Oceans” trilogy to give us another unpredictable heist adventure from start to finish. In my review I called “Logan Lucky” a “shamelessly fun time that works on almost every level to create a solid cinematic experience even for those who aren’t familiar with the sport and setting that serve as the backdrop”. For me it was one of the most entertaining comedies of the year earning it a top five spot on this list where it loses out to few films with more emotional depth that deserve their credit as well.
4. “Brad’s Status”
I waited patiently for this film to hit theaters and when it finally did I was one of the first in my area to give it a view. This dramady followed Ben Stiller as a father preparing for his son’s move to college and a bonding trip to Boston causes him to think about his life and fantasize about what he could have been beyond his normal self. A thinly veiled comedy directed at the concept of white privilege, “Brad’s Status” combines serious self-reflection with lighthearted true-to-life comedic realizations to create what I called “a great ride that takes you into the mind of a man struggling to come to grips with the life he has led and learns, as we all should at one point or another, to enjoy the ride he’s on”. You can read my full review here. While some may argue it was more drama than comedy, “Brad’s Status” is right at home here at number four on this list and it’s not even the last Ben Stiller project in this top 10.
3. “The Meyerowitz Stories”
Some eagle-eyed readers will notice that this film was a Netflix movie, but it qualifies for this list because it was not a Netflix exclusive. It was released in theaters on a limited basis as well as the streaming service and, thanks to its quality comedic presentation, is now in the running for my best of the year overall list. With a all-star cast of comedic greats, including Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller, “The Meyerowitz Stories” told of two brothers and their individual relationships with their artist father as a gala partially in his honor is preparing to open. Touching and absolutely hilarious this film caught me by surprise with career defining performances by everyone involved and a story that was both relatable and absolutely over the top at the same time. In my review I called it an admittedly odd film “worthy of recognition” and “a charming and fun ride with a great moral center, quality laughs, and a cast who is as solid as ever.” This film is the perfect melding of shamelessly fun comedy and dramatic irony and shows that sometimes a film doesn’t have to take itself too seriously to be a quality project.
2. “Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri”
A dark comedy if there ever was one in 2017, “Three Billboards” depicted a mother’s battle with her local police department after her daughter’s killer remains unidentified using three billboards to send her message. Overlaying the film’s dark tone was a truly relatable sense of humor that subtly spoke to the approach it takes to go through life’s hardships without letting the world break you down. It was an incredibly balanced cinematic experience not afraid to tug at the heartstrings while also making you smile. In my five-star review I called “Three Billboards” “a satisfying dark comedy that truly shines as a lesson to each of us through the eyes of numerous well presented characters following a tragic and unthinkable crime”. I added that the film was a “fantastic piece of filmmaking with the right balance in almost every aspect”. An early Oscar contender, there truly was so much to enjoy about “Three Billboards” that it not only overpowered many other comedies in 2017, it dominated them. Save for one, which sits at my top spot.
1. “The Big Sick”
There truly was no other option. Personally I despise romantic comedies, but “The Big Sick” redefined the sub genre in 2017 by taking the real life romance of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and wife Emily Gordon and turning into a comedy as deep as it is hilarious. With commentaries on love, race relations, and cultural identity “The Big Sick” was not only funny, it was heartfelt, compassionate, and, most impressively, tasteful. In my review I said it was miles above its comedic competition and was “a well written comedy film – a film like nothing I’ve ever experienced and truly is worthy of being considered one of the best films of the year”. Those statements still stand true as “The Big Sick” proved that comedy films don’t have to be raunchy and cliché to work and romantic comedies specifically don’t have to be mushy and formulaic. It’s a film that redefined quality within its genre and any film that can do that is pretty much automatic as one of the best. That’s why it finds itself here as my top comedy film of 2017.