Late December saw the release of Pitch Perfect, a badass version of Glee that was barely able to make the top 5 in the UK box office. This is a real tragedy as the film was easily one of the funniest of 2012 and will now sadly sink without a trace. This is a common trend with recent American comedies as it just seems British audiences won’t give them a try (yet we are the nation that made Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger a hit and still champion Miranda Hart as a truly funny comedienne). So here is a list of 5 recent American comedies that might have slipped past you that you should really give a try.
5. Zack & Miri Make a Porno
Don’t be put off by its crude title; this one is actually surprisingly sweet. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks star as the titular characters in Kevin Smith’s ode to the X-Rated genre. Whilst not the subtlest of films there’s still lots to laugh at as Smith’s dialogue is wonderfully delivered by Rogen & Banks, who also share a great chemistry. There are also wonderful cameos from Brandon Routh and Justin Long as a gay couple who nearly steal the film. The highlight, however,3 comes from Smith regular Jeff Anderson who participates here in one of the best structured poop jokes I’ve ever seen. The film has real heart and deep belly laughs, you can tell Smith is still invested in his work at this point (for an example of an univested Kevin Smith, look at 2010s Cop Out) and whilst it tails off at the end, it didn’t deserve to fizzle out without an audience.
4. Mystery Team
Derrick Comedy makes their transition from YouTube to the big screen with Mystery Team, a smart take on kid detective movies that asks “What if the kids never really grew up?” Starring a team of nobody you’re likely to have heard of before (Troy from Community and the girl from Safety Not Guaranteed are the biggest names involved), it’s not odd that this one might have missed your radar (that, and it never got a UK release, but it’s out there). What the film lacks in its cinematic qualities, it makes up for with the performances of its 3 leads and jokes that just don’t stop coming.
3. Observe & Report
Jody Hill’s brilliantly dark follow up to his indie hit The Foot Fist Way never got the attention it deserved. Bizarrely over shadowed by the wildly inferior Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Seth Rogen makes his second appearance on the list as mall security guard Ronnie who takes his job a tad too seriously. The film could be considered as Seth Rogen’s The Cable Guy, a usually likeable comedian goes a little deeper and darker that the mainstream audience just won’t get, but anyone who’s not afraid of a little grit to go with their comedy will find great laughs here. With allusions to Taxi Driver and wonderful supporting roles from Anna Faris, Ray Liotta and Michael Peña, it is not one to miss.
2. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
In 2007, Judd Apatow was on a role, having directed Knocked Up and produced Superbad, it seemed like nothing could stop this man working on hits, then Walk Hard came out and bombed! Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is a parody of musical biopics in the style of Scary Movie, except this one is actually funny. John C. Reilly offers an incredibly committed performance as Cox and is supported by a cavalcade of comedians who all bring their A games. The songs are hysterical and so is the film, a perfect treat for anyone who though Walk the Line and Ray were overblown pieces of Oscar bait.
1. Stuck on You
The Farrelly brothers know how to make you laugh, it’s that simple for them. Shooting to fame with There’s Something About Mary and Dumb & Dumber, this was the first time a film of theirs truly failed to find an audience. Focusing on conjoined brothers Bob (Matt Damon) and Walt (Greg Kinnear) on a trip to Hollywood, this was a literal bromance. The film never chastises the main characters for their condition, in fact it celebrates their difference in a way that many films would find hard to do. Damon and Kinnear both show strong comedic chops whilst The Farrelly’s are able to show us how important brotherhood is. The laughs are real and so is the heart (even if the liver is shared between the brothers).