There’s rarely more than two or three good comedies in any given year, so 2008 was a terrific year for the genre. Even better, the movies for which I didn’t have high hopes turned out to be hilarious. While we wait for I Love You, Man, Observe and Report, and Bruno (God, I can’t wait for Bruno) in 2009, let’s take a look back at the best comedies from the past year. With apologies to Hamlet 2 and Zack & Miri Make a Porno, we’ve ranked the five funniest movies from 2008 – in reverse order, as always.
5. Step Brothers
John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell acting like children and/or idiots is nothing new, but it works. In Step Brothers, Brennan’s (Ferrell’s) mother marries Dale’s (Reilly’s) father, forcing the two overgrown dependents to live together. After tormenting and threatening each other, Brennan and Dale discover they have a lot in common, which makes for even more awkward scenes of men acting like children.
Funniest Scene: When Brennan tells his mother, referring to her new husband, “Robert better not get in my face. Cuz I’ll drop that motherf*cker.” There’s something inherently funny about Will Ferrell cursing. Either that or the “Boats and Hoes” video.
4. Role Models
Paul Rudd is funny in everything, so when you add a de-Stiflered Seann William Scott,
McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and scene-stealer Bobb’e J. Thompson, the result is a very funny cast and very funny movie. Only with an atrocious script could this movie fail, and the story of two men forced to enter a Big Brother program as part of their court-ordered community service is more than adequate. My only gripe is that some of the dialogue felt a bit too scripted; Rudd is at his best when he’s improvising.
Funniest scene: Sadly, it was given away in the trailer. When Wheeler attempts to acquaint himself with Ronnie, Ronnie shouts out “I don’t wanna take my pants off!” The look of disbelief and fear on Wheeler’s face is priceless. It’s a shame the trailer gave this part away.
3. Pineapple Express
Finally, a stoner comedy for the new millenium. The only bad thing about James Franco’s unbelievable performance is that it completely overshadows the great job done by Danny McBride, who plays Red. The violence is abundant in Pineapple Express, as is the grass blazin’. It goes without saying that this movie is a hella good time.
Funniest scene: Saul – baked out of his mind – explains the engineering of Pineapple Express and references his “second favorite civil engineer.”
2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
This was my favorite comedy of 2008, but it wasn’t the funniest, if that makes sense. You see, Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a sweet movie with a soul that made you actually give a crap about its characters and what comes of their love lives. Fortunately, the movie isn’t overly sappy and features tons of jokes that anyone who’s been dumped can relate to. Jason Segel is the perfect blend of leading man and dumpy goofball, and the addition of Brit Russell Brand and the smoking hot Mila Kunis doesn’t hurt, either.
Funniest scene: It’s a tie between the shocking full-frontal male nudity at the beginning of the movie and when Aldous Snow (Brand) gets a piece of coral wedged in his leg after a surfing accident and – in a lot of pain – asks for towels, only to have Koonoo (Rudd) exclaim in a horrible British accent, “You sound like you’re from London!”
1. Tropic Thunder
Ben Stiller never stopped being funny; he just made some questionable career choices. Stiller is best when he’s writing and directing (see Zoolander), and Tropic Thunder is perhaps the best work he’s done yet. In this meta-movie, Jack Black plays a heroin addict, Robert Downey, Jr. plays an Australian playing an African-American, and Tom Cruise plays a self-proclaimed big d*ck playa movie producer (who I can only assume is based on Harvey Weinstein). Tropic Thunder takes plenty of shots at Hollywood and its actors, is incredibly quotable (“You never go full retard”), and is about as original of a comedy as you’ll ever see. The movie is hilarious before it even starts, too – the faux previews are ridiculous – helping to make it the funniest movie of 2008.
Funniest scene: It was tough to pick just one scene, as everything Downey and Cruise say and do in this movie is funny, but the hardest I laughed was when Portnoy (Jack Black) offers Alpa Chino fellatio in exchange for untying him. “I will literally…”