The Funniest Movies of 2009

The Hangover is the funniest movie of 2009Comedy, typically, is my least favorite genre, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good, funny movie. The problem in 2009 was that there just weren’t very many funny movies. The Hangover was great, but the funniest movie of the year? Yes, in 2009. In other years… maybe not. And dramedies like Away We Go, while extremely funny, isn’t what most people would consider a top comedy. Then there’s Up – a kid’s movie, a great movie, but a truly hilarious movie? That being said, I dare you to list funnier movies that were released in 2009.

Without further ado, here are the funniest movies of 2009…

7. Away We Go

This Sam Mendes indie drama-comedy isn’t the typical choice for a list such as this, but Away We Go is at times hilarious and always entertaining. In the movie, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph star as a married couple expecting their first baby; unsatisfied with their current surroundings, they travel around the country visiting friends and family to determine the best city to raise their kid. More than anything, they discover that most of their friends and relatives are insane.

The movie all but forces you to smile, but if you need serious comedy, just watch the scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal. You’ll never think about strollers again (“Why would I want to push my baby away from me?”). Priceless.

6. (500) Days of Summer

Not only one of the best movies of the year but also one of the funniest, (500) Days of Summer thrives less on one-liners than an offbeat sense of reality that exaggerates on circumstances we can all relate to. Marc Webb takes a mesmerizing screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber and turns it into a legitimately satisfying romantic-comedy. Featuring great performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, (500) Days of Summer is a must-see.

5. Up

Pixar has always made great movies, but Up is easily one of their most relatable movies ever, offering fun-filled adventure, a heartfelt story and some of the funniest characters in recent memory. Between Russell, the eight-year old Wilderness Explorer, and Dug, the easily distracted talking dog, Up delivers some of the funniest moments and lines of dialogue of 2009.

Up is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the funniest.

4. I Love You, Man

One of the more overlooked comedies of the year, I Love You, Man stars Paul Rudd and Jason Segel as two men who become involved in the ultimate bro-mance, which threatens to destroy Rudd’s engagement to the gorgeous Rashida Jones. The movie isn’t as funny as other Judd Apatow-inspired comedies (no, Apatow isn’t involved in this one), but it still adheres to the same common principles: provide interesting characters, a hook and a lot of R-rated dialogue.

3. The Fantastic Mr. Fox

I didn’t know what to make of The Fantastic Mr. Fox when I first saw previews for it. The Wes Anderson stop-motion film looked like it could evoke some laughs, but would generally be a bad movie. I was thankfully wrong. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is a hilarious and enjoyable comedy-adventure, full of heart, one-liners and some of the most absurd animation to date. Supported by a stellar voice cast that includes Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and others, George Clooney is the perfect choice for the title character.

If you haven’t seen The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and judging by its box office performance you haven’t, go and see this immediately.

2. Zombieland

2009 was the year of Woody Harrelson, as he delivered a powerful performance in The Messenger while stealing the show in both 2012 and Zombieland, both huge hits. In Zombieland, Harrelson stars alongside Jessie Eisenberg as two unnamed stragglers who are attempting to find peace in a world ruled by zombies. Though they are completely different in every way (Eisenberg is cautiously paranoid, while Harrelson is insanely happy about killing every zombie who gets in his way), they bond nonetheless.

The movie blends comedy and zombie action incredibly well, and threatens to de-throne Shaun of the Dead as the greatest zombie comedy of all time. Shaun of the Dead may still edge it out, but the margin is incredibly close.

1. The Hangover

The funniest movie of 2009 is The Hangover, which seems to be the consensus among most moviegoers. This made-for-men comedy thrives on a semi-unique plot, great characters and plenty of hilarious antics, proving that a movie doesn’t need big stars to make a lot of money. Though Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms gave their careers huge boosts with the movie (Cooper, especially), it’s Zach Galifianakis who steals the show as an offbeat, neurotic weirdo. Cameos by the likes of Mike Tyson also help.

I wasn’t so sure that the movie would have much repeat value, given that much of its craziness relies on the “what happened to the groom?” mystery, but it does: it was just as funny the second time.

Honorable mentions:

  • Extract – nowhere as good as Office Space, Extract still has plenty of laughs. That being said, a lot of people didn’t find this movie very funny at all.
  • In the Loop – this witty and clever political satire is very entertaining, but not as funny as some people found it.
  • The Invention of Lying – it isn’t as good as it could have been, but Ricky Gervais’ comedy about a world where lying doesn’t exist is priceless at times. Only atheists will be laughing by the end, though.
  • Jennifer’s Body – more a satire than a comedy, Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody unleashes some deliciously over-the-top dialogue.
  • Observe and Report – not everyone will like Seth Rogen’s dark comedy about an obsessive mall cop, but those with a twisted sense of humor will find stuff to enjoy.
  • The Proposal – this Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds hit is pretty standard fare, but the two stars have great comedic chemistry with one another.
By Erik Samdahl
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