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The 25 best comedies on Netflix (March 2019)

15. Chef (2014)

Region: UK

The movie: With channels like Food Network pandering to our every culinary whim, a movie like Chef came out at just the right time. Jon Favreau directs, writes, and stars in one of the warmest, most likeable comedies of recent years. He plays the title role of Carl Casper, an LA chef who enters into a social media war with the critic who brutally slams his food. After a change of heart, Casper, his best pal (a never-better John Leguizamo), and his son hit the road in a beat-up food truck. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Think The Great Food Truck Race, but with waaaay more jokes and better looking grub. Chef goes for family-friendly comedy touches over gross-out humour, a pleasant distraction from the current wave of R-rated offerings.

14. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Region: US

The movie: Years before he gave us the delicious vehicular stylings of Baby Driver, Edgar Wright adapted a popular graphic novel series about a musician named Scott Pilgrim. While he might be an ordinary slacker, we soon discover that his circumstance is anything but when he finds himself in a battle with one of his girlfriend’s exes. Soon after, he learns he has to fight all seven of her evil exes. Only a director like Wright could wrangle a graphic novel inspired by a video game framework and crank out a gem like this.

Why it's worth a watch: If you like your stories told with enthusiasm, delight, and a massive dollop of larger-than-life humour - then Wright’s 2010 genre mashup is the movie for you. And who knew it was possible for Michael Cera, the schlubbish underachiever from Juno and Superbad, to transform into a seriously funny lead?

13. Goon (2011)

Region: US

The movie: Despite how violent Goon is, it's also incredibly funny. Seann William Scott (American Pie's Stifler) takes the lead in this sports comedy as Doug, a nice-but-dim bouncer whose catches the eye of a local hockey team manager after he beats up a guy hurling abuse at his brother. He's quickly hired to become the team's enforcer, leading to many sports-related hijinks. If you thought you’d seen everything horrifically violent slap shot had to offer, think again.

Why it’s worth a watch: On the surface, it might seem like a formulaic retread of countless underdog movies you’ve seen before, but it ain’t! Thanks to a hilarious script from Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, it's an absurd romp that's a hell of a lot of fun. 

12. Burn After Reading (2008)

Region: UK, US

The movie: A year after the Coens snagged two Oscars for No Country for Old Men, the duo returned to sillier, more outlandish matters. Burn After Reading is flat-out absurd. With an espionage plot played out for dark laughs, this is pure Coen gold. Frances McDormand stars as Linda Litzke, a gym employee who teams up with co-worker, the rather dense personal trainer Chad (Brad Pitt), to blackmail John Malkovich's former CIA analyst. 

Why it’s worth a watch: It's a plot with delusions of grandeur that go terribly, terribly wrong, as is often the case for the Coens' cast of characters, which this time is more star-studded than ever, including superb comedic turns from George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, and J.K. Simmons.

11. Wayne's World 2 (1993)

Region: UK

The movie: A decade after The Blues Brothers made the transition from Saturday Night Live to big screen, Wayne's World did the same. And then a couple of years later they repeated it for the sequel. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey play doltish twenty-somethings Wayne and Garth, who run a late-night TV show from their basement that becomes a huge hit, eventually leading to the creation of a musical festival, Waynestock. 

Why it’s worth a watch: The true sign of its brilliance is that you don't notice that not a lot really happens. This is all about prodding and poking fun at corporate America through endless montages riffing on product placement, and the duo's well considered breaking of the fourth-wall. Excellent!

10. I Love You, Man (2009)

Region: UK, US

The movie: I Love You, Man hijacked the bromance bandwagon of the 2000s and turned it into a pretty damn funny look at what it's like for grown men to make new male friends. Paul Rudd is ridiculously likeable as Peter Klaven, a real estate guy on the verge of getting married who realizes he doesn't have anyone he can call on to be his best man. When his fiancee encourages him to go and find a buddy, he does just that, befriending Jason Segel's beach bum Sydney at one of his open houses. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Segel and Rudd’s sizzling chemistry! It’s what really makes this a realistic comedy, watching the pair banter and riff like newly-forged buddies do. Straying into heart-warming territory toward the end adds to the whole affair.

9. My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

Region: UK

The movie: Is it believable to think that at 28 Julia Roberts wouldn’t be married? In 1997 it was. That idea is key to the basic gist of this corking romcom in which Roberts character Jules Potter is on the cusp of said birthday recalling a promise she holds with her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney). If neither are married by that age - they’ll marry each other. Thing is, he’s about to get wed to Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Cue an onslaught of over-the-top attempts by Jules to derail his nuptials, that may or may not involve the best karaoke scene EVER.  

Why it’s worth a watch: A blockbuster comedy through and through, this is a prime example of a big-budget studio romcom getting everything right. All of it simply works; Roberts is in her prime, Diaz will melt your heart, and the script blends together just enough silliness into its heart-warming ending. Together with a cracking supporting cast (Rupert Everett is sublime) it’s one of the best modern studio comedies ever made. 

8. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Region: US

The movie: The God of Thunder’s humourous streak takes centre stage at last. Thor is out of sorts after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, finding himself captured by a fire demon and in desperate need to prevent the demise of Asgard. Through a series of amusing happenstances, Thor winds up in a gladiatorial battle with none other than the Hulk, who helps his Avenging comrade to prevent Ragnarok, the destruction of Asgard at the hands of Hela, Thor’s sister. Yes, it’s a complicated plot, but it’s so funny and crammed full of slapstick gags galore, you won’t care. 

Why it’s worth a watch: This is the Thor movie you’ve been waiting for. Where the first two showed glimpses of comedy, hidden in murky, dull stories, Thor: Ragnarok shines from start to finish. Director Taika Waititi’s ability to unite action and comedy gives the material - i.e. Thor’s somewhat gloomy tale - its best chance for success. 

Read more: Thor: Ragnarok ending explained - everything you want to know after watching

7. Empire Records (1995)

Region: US

The movie: Cross Clerks with Almost Famous and you’ve got Empire Records. A day in the life at an indie record store may sound bleh, but it’s a great vehicle for shenanigans ahoy, especially after Lucas, one of the store’s rebellious slackers, learns that the Empire is to be sold as a franchise. He decides to gamble the previous day’s takings as a way to “save the Empire” which winds up dropping everyone in it. The rest of the day continues to unfold through more calamitous happenings, from Deb’s fake funeral to Rory’s attempt to seduce sleazy pop has-been Rex Manning. And they’ve still got to stop the store from being sold to those evil capitalists! 

Why it’s worth a watch: The ‘90s gave us a lot of teen comedies and Empire is one of the best, despite its poor critical reception at the time of release. It offers a genuinely amusing glimpse into a 24-hour period in the mid ‘90s, where love, life, death, and everything in between are dealt with sans social media and smart phones. 

6. Heathers (1988)

Region: US 

The movie: Heathers' dark, bleeding underbelly is the perfect antidote to the saccharine sweet comedies that filled multiplexes at the time of release. In fact, it arguably killed the traditional teen movie forever. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater star as Veronica and JD, two teens who club together to knock off the popular kids, making their deaths look like suicides. Told you it was dark. There are real laughs to be had throughout - they're just black as treacle.

Why it’s worth a watch: If it weren't for Heathers, we'd never have movies like Mean Girls. On the whole, the world would be a lesser place without dialogue like "Fuck me gently with a chainsaw," and "Dear Diary, my teen angst bullshit has a body count!" It’s a trendsetter that continues to get better with age, from its sight gags (Veronica in the last scene) to its killer dialogue (see above), every aspect a reminder that the melding pot of high school is still as vicious. 

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Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.