Friday, September 12, 2008

The funniest films of the century

American Pie II, III (2000, 2002)
Directed by James B Rodgers. With Jason Biggs, Sean William-Scott
Having inspired the so-called "teenage comedy" genre in the late 1990s, Pie is judged by many as shallow and demented. That it may be, but it's absolutely hilarious. Unlike other self-professed comedies, it's also based on some fairly elaborate character development. American Pie is a goldmine of gags and cringeworthy antics that includes glued genitals, pubes landing on a wedding cake and dog shit tasting of Belgian chocolate.

Roadtrip (2000)
Directed by Todd Phillips. With Tom Greene, Sean William-Scott
Josh cheats on his childhood sweetheart and decided that filming the escapade will be a good idea for pickle-tickling posterity. Except that the same dirty videotape is posted by mistake to his girlfriend. The result is a roadtrip across the US on a quest to pip the parcel at the post (quite literally). Oversexed maniac E.L., dopehead genius Rubin and uberskinny geek Kyle decide to tag along. Featuring organic French toast, a hungry snake and a particularly hyper Tom Greene.

The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Directed by Judd Apatow. With Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd
In a world where social status revolves around sexual conquests and sexual deeds, 40-year-old Andy Sitzer sticks out like a sore thumb. He's the ultimate virgin bachelor, action-figure collector and electronics geek. His colleagues decide to help him out of his dire situation. Incredibly funny.

Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Directed by Edgar Wright. With Simon Pegg, Lucy Davis, Bill Nighy
More than just a genius parody of your average film about the living dead, it's also a poignant swipe at our zombified society. Sean is a placid sales assistant with nothing going for him aside from his girlfriend Liz and every single night wasted at his local pub (the Winchester) with his annoying best mate Ed. Until disaster strikes. Remember the tip: removing the head and destroying the brain.

Superbad (2008)
Directed by Greg Mottola. With Michael Cera, Jonah Hill
Superbad is a fantastic story about the tail end of teenage innocence. Oozing slapstick, it's centred around the inept college trio of sensible Evan, chubby trouble maker Seth and nerdy McLovin'.

Shallow Hal (2003)
Directed by the Farrelly brothers. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black
Hal is the shallowest man on earth. Looking at women like pieces of meat, his outlook on life, relationships and sex will suddenly change when a spell is cast on him. Suddenly, beauty of the soul is all he can spot. Hilarious and original too.

Duplex (2003)
Directed by Danny De Vito. With Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore.
You finally lay your hands on a dream apartment. But the lodger, a conniving old Irish lady, will prove a tough nut to crack. The bit when Stiller and Barrymore try to contaminate the old lady during a flu epidemic will have you in tears.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. With Toni Collette, Steve Carell
A fantastic parody of the winning-at-all-cost mentality and the American dream of fame, fortune and success. Especially when it's designed to conceal emotional fuck-ups and a family falling apart. Featuring a cross-nation trip on a battered VW, a suicidal uncle, a randy grandad, a teenage Nietzche fan and a hidden corpse.

The Parole Officer (2002)

Directed by John Duigan. With Steve Coogan, Simon Pegg
Back in the days when Steve Coogan couldn't get a single thing wrong, it's the story of lone wolf parole officer Simon Gardner trying to thwart a criminal gang that stretches all the way to the highest police ranks. Includes staple diahorrea one-liners and a Simon Pegg cameo featuring boners gone wrong.

Freddie Got Fingered (2003)

Directed by and starring Tom Greene
Non-sensical and incredibly random, it's turned into a masterpiece by Tom Greene's role as Gord, a demented, behaviourally challenged layabout. With too many ultra-funny bits to mention, extra marks go to the restaurant scene when Gord tries to convince his girlfriend he's a high-flying executive. While that's doomed to fail, Gord will still talk his shrink into believing that his brother Freddie got fingered.

The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Directed by the Farrelly brothers. With Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan
With Ben Stiller a master of his genre, any one out of Meet the Parents, Meet the Fuckers, Zoolander or Along Came Polly would easily make it into a 'Funniest Films Best Of'. Last year's Heatbreak Kid is probably the best of the crop, based on a terribly ill-judged choice of spouse and a honeymoon where everything goes tits-up the moment they hit the road. But most ridiculous is the succession of Carry-on style cat-and-mouse antics involving Stiller in a series of clumsy love triangles.

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