2012 can be seen as the year in which comedies scored huge box office (such as Ted and its $250 million take) and simultaneously took the form of "alternative" forms of humor as opposed to the straight funnyman version, a la Adam Sandler or Sacha Baron Cohen. This year, the comedies that scored came in the form of the violent (Seven Psychopaths), the unexpected TV-to-big-screen update (21 Jump Street) and even found footage (Project X).
Movie Fanatic proudly presents our Top 10 Comedies of 2012... who's number one?
Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd gave us great Wanderlust quotes and proved a relationship comedy could work in the modern era. The key was getting creative with the romance. With the backdrop of a married pair seeking to let everything go, Aniston and Rudd are a classic cinematic couple thrown into the most cult-like of situations.
9. Here Comes the Boom
Kevin James is an acquired taste. But, as we state in our Here Comes the Boom review, the comic actor is able to channel a little drama and sports movie cheering possibilities into his latest. The film follows James' teacher as he seeks to raise money for the orchestra at the school where he's a teacher. Henry Winkler further shows why he's an icon as said instructor and James is able to stretch his range a bit in this surprising not-so-sappy funny film that will also warm your heart.
8. Project X
It is not easy for a found footage film to be funny. Short of comedians riffing on each other, putting a group of actors together to map out scenes that are meant to feel "natural" aren't exactly conduits for comedy. Yet in Project X, producer Todd Phillips managed to achieve the most unlikely of feats. The Hangover creator/producer/director got behind a film that melds a large amount of the funny with the extraordinary events surrounding a high school party gone global. Check out these Project X quotes for more.
7. The Campaign
The Campaign had Movie Fanatic with its casting. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis in the same movie? Count us in! Then as the idea of how these two comic geniuses began to be flushed out, anticipation furthered. It's easy to capture comedy in a trailer, yet a fully flushed-out film based on that trailer is much more difficult. In the hands of Galifianakis and Ferrell, each would play opposing political rivals, hell-bent on winning a Southern Congressional seat.
The performers take the material provided for them from director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers movies) and each achieves an enormous and hilarious victory. Want reason to vote for the flick? Check out this The Campaign dinner scene and try not to laugh!
6. Pitch Perfect
October found Anna Kendrick announcing to the world that she could sing like nobody's business. Her solo, turned duet, in the shower belting out Titanium is as astounding in its musical prowess as it is funny. As we state in our Pitch Perfect review, the film is exactly that on so many levels. It is keenly aware of itself as a musical movie and interjects so much comedy that the audience is continually challenged as to how the film will play out. And therein lies the most unexpected of comedic moments.
Jennifer Garner should get Oscar consideration for her role in her latest film, as seen in the Butter trailer. She plays an Iowan housewife with dreams of keeping her family's stature intact. See, her husband is the almost unbeatable repeating champion of the state's annual butter carving competition. When he's forced to step down, Garner's character steps in... determining to win at all costs. With its ability to meld the real-life Iowa caucus between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008, Butter scores all the right points.
Jack Black as a killer? It's still got to be funny... and Bernie is in the most unlikely and sometimes uncomfortable of ways. The true story follows Black as an ultra-friendly and popular fellow in a small town in Texas who is ultimately charged with the murder of an elderly acquaintance of his. The fact that Black scored one of the Golden Globe nominations as a Best Actor, Musical or Comedy shows that truly something happens in the world of Bernie.
3. 21 Jump Street
Probably the biggest comedic surprise of 2012 was how side-splitting and still heartwarming 21 Jump Street managed to be. The film, based on the wildly popular 1980's TV show that made Johnny Depp a star, even scored The Pirates of the Caribbean captain in a cameo that was legendary. At the end of the day, the success of the film lay in the comic chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
Witnessing those two together was that rare moment where the unexpected chemistry of comedy proves to be its biggest asset towards box office success. Check out these amazing 21 Jump Street quotes for further proof of how the film is top-notch from top to bottom.
2. Seven Psychopaths
There is maybe one redeemable character in Seven Psychopaths, well except that cuter than hell Shih Tzu. An explosive world of criminals, aspiring movie screenwriters and the most unlikely of civil rights fighting veterans come together in a story that is equally as thrilling as it is hilarious. The film is well written in such a deep way that the humor bleeds through every single scene. Sam Rockwell pushes the envelope and Woody Harrelson turns in a performance that is his best since Natural Born Killers.
By the end of the film, it is Christopher Walken who steals the show. As seen in the Seven Psychopaths trailer, when he is held at gunpoint and refuses to put his hands up... it is a moment that is so tense and carefully crafted, that in the end all you do is laugh.
Seth MacFarlane knows how to weave a web of the ridiculously raunchy, heartfelt and yes... hilarious. He's been doing it for years on Family Guy. Given his first real chance at cinematic success, he turns in some killer Ted quotes and scores not only a box office smash, but also a critical darling. As we report in our Ted review, MacFarlane has put together a Boston-based world that pulls at your heart, warms your soul, repulses your instincts and above all else... makes you laugh for hours while watching an instant comedy classic, but also for days after from merely thinking of it.