An A-to-Z of the best comedy movies to stream right now


We all need a good laugh right now. So rest assured: you’ve come to the right place. Here are 26 laugh-fests available to stream on Netflix, NeonPrime Video and Disney+, as selected by Flicks’ Luke Buckmaster and Steve Newall.

See also
All new streaming movies & series
The best comedy movies of last decade

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Where to watch

At the peak of his powers, Jim Carrey was more than just a brilliant physical comic: he warped the very nature of cinematic realism and pushed the medium away from verisimilitude into a kind of performative stupor. Tom Shadyac’s Doolittle-esque goofball comedy, starring Carrey as a private eye who specialises in animal-related cases, is sloppily structured but a decent showreel of the performer’s antics during his heyday in the 1990s. -LUKE BUCKMASTER

Beetlejuice

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Michael Keaton is manically transformative as a hyper-powered ghoul decked out in a pin-striped Halloween suit, whose house-haunting abilities are sought after by a couple of amateur ghosts (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis). Tim Burton managed to film what is, in effect, a cartoon in live-action format, stuffing it full of kooky inventions and visual wit. -LB

Clueless

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“As IF!” The film that introduced us to knee high socks, calling people ‘Monets’ and ‘Bettys’, and Paul Rudd. From Amy Heckerling, director of Fast Times At Ridgemont Highis the endlessly quotable high school satire beloved by a generation of ’90s kids. It’s a great time to revisit Clueless as it celebrates its 25th anniversary—which perhaps makes this a period film now (like Jane Austen’s Emma, on which it’s based)? -STEVE NEWALL

Death in Brunswick

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A leather jacket-clad man-child (Sam Neill) inadvertently sets off a gangland war in a crime comedy that uses its in-over-his-head premise as a metaphor for young, multiracial lovers aspiring to break down ethical obstacles. Sam Neill’s comedic timing is effortlessly good, and the late John Clarke is boisterously entertaining as a scene-stealing sidekick. -LB

Easy A

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Another teen-centric tale for all ages, this anti-slut-shaming comedy sees Emma Stone (Superbad) as Olive— big nothing at college. It all changes, however, when a white lie about losing her virginity (to help boost the reputation of her even more un-cool friend Dan) sees Olive’s clean cut image get a make-over, paralleling Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Lettera novel she’s studying in school. -SN

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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Bueller. Buelllller. Buellllleeerrr! John Hughes’ 1986 ode to skipping schoolstarring Mathew Broderick as the titular class-cutting rascalhas obviously aged, and yet it is obviously timeless. It is an ode to nothing, really: other than youth and good-natured, hooky-practicing rebellion. -LB

Game Night

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Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star as couple Max and Annie in this often-underrated black comedy, bolstered by a phenomenal supporting performance by Jesse Plemons, who echoes the film’s toneequal parts hilarious and menacing. A weekly couples’ game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler, arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game… right? -SN

Hot Fuzz

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Edgar Wright’s flair for compact and innovative visual expression provides thrilling narrative economy. The second instalment in his beloved Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy is a genre-bending, buddy cop comedy about a London police officer (Simon Pegg) relocated to a boring, sleepy village. Boring that is until all those gruesome killings happen. Few filmmakers direct comedy as creatively and interestingly as Wright.-LB

Inside Out

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A few years after their golden trifecta (Wall.EUp, and Toy Story 3) Pixar served up more 5-star goodness with Inside Out. Set inside a little girl’s head, five emotionsJoy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadnesstry to guide her through life. As you’d expect from these modern animation masters, the results are poignant, funny and illuminating. -SN

Johnny English

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Infamously former Prime Minister John Key’s favourite movie, one thing you can’t accuse Johnny English of is failing to deliver exactly what you’d expectRowan Atkinson in peak bumble/cringe form, serving up physical comedy hijinks as a hapless secret agent who somehow gets the job done. -SN

The King of Comedy

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The lengths an aspiring comedian (Robert De Niro) will go to in order to chase fame—including kidnapping his idol (Jerry Lewis) and demanding TV airtime as a ransomelevates Martin Scorsese’s 1983 classic from a portrait of a social misfit to a satire of celebrity. Robert DeNiro is unnervingly good, painfully good in fact, in what one might nervously describe as the titular rolegiven the painful irony it encompasses. -LB

Last Action Hero

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While driving a convertible with no hands (naturally) Arnold Schwarzenegger fires a bullet at an assailant. This inadvertently causes an ice cream cone to kill a man by flying into the back of his head. “Iced that guy,” says Arnie, “to cone a phrase.” Best or worst one-liner ever? Last Action Hero is nothing if not self-conscious. The film – about an 11-year-old kid who enters an alternate universe – is half-hearted as a satire but trashily enjoyable. -LB

Mean Girls

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The spritzy, prickly dialogue in Tina Fey’s very sassy Mean Girls script is delivered by the cast faster than usual, in the great tradition of screwball movies pumped full of verbal gymnastics. Lindsay Lohan is the new kid on the block at an Illinois high school, unwittingly thrust into a cutthroat classroom hierarchy. Director Mark Waters eschews the familiar gloss covering teen movies in favour of an edgier, peppier approach. It is eminently rewatchable. -LB

The Nice Guys

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Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe serve up a fantastic double act in Shane Black’s 1970s-set black crime comedy. Gosling has never been so hilariously feeble, selling his hopelessness with fantastic whines and slapstick comedy. Crowe, on the other hand? What a fucking unit. With great chemistry between its leads, an excellent noir tale, mint action and quips aplenty, it’s a worthy companion to Black’s similarly-oriented Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, maybe even better. -SN

Okja

Tilda Swinton plays the Willy Wonka-esque CEO of a company that produces a not-so-sweet product: giant genetically engineered pigs to carve up and sell worldwide. Chaos ensues when a young girl (Seo-Hyun Ahn) puts up a fight to save the titular character’s bacon. There’s Spielbergian largesse to some elements of Bong Joon Ho’s brisk direction, but he goes places Spielberg wouldn’t – with prickly messages about anti-meat consumption and corporate malfeasance. -LB

Paddington 2

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The beloved marmalade addict became an allegorical stand-in for outsiders in general and refugees in particular in 2014’s Paddington and its even better sequel. The protagonist is embroiled in a crime caper involving a highly valuable pop-up book and Hugh Grant as an irresistibly hammy villain. Director Paul King’s visual approach is informed by greats of the silent era, such as Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. -LB

Quick Change

OK, finding a comedy starting with Q on a streaming service (we bent the rules for this title you can rent or buy) was a little difficult. Maybe not as difficult as the characters of Quick Change find escaping New York after a bank robbery though. Everything goes smoothly as Bill Murray, dressed as a clown, gets away with a cool million, but he and accomplices Geena Davis and Randy Quaid find one thing go wrong after another as they try to make their getaway. A great crime calamity pic. -SN

Rango

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Gore Verbinski’s first Western adventure with frequent collaborator Johnny Depp (followed by The Lone Ranger), the crazy, unpredictable Rango comes across like Pixar on drugs. Depp voices the titular character, a sheltered pet chameleon with an identity crisis who finds himself in a town stuck in Old West times. There his big talk about a “heroic” past, sees him promoted to the position of Sheriff, and having to live up to his own lie. -SN

Sorry to Bother You

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Satirical black comedy Sorry to Bother You is an audacious journey from below the breadline to the heights and through the bowels of corporate Americarace and class issues fusing in some kind of Pynchonian nightmare. First time director Boots Riley detonates megatons of satire, surrealism and social critique that’ll sometimes leave you gobsmacked, while elsewhere you’ll marvel in the performances of Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer. -SN

Two Hands

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A then little-known Heath Ledger leads the classic Australian 1999 crime caper, playing a simple-minded wannabe criminal opposite Rose Byrne’s country girl love interest and Bryan Brown’s (very funny) hard yakka gangster. The film works surprisingly well given its disparate tones and kooky flourishes, including the protagonist’s poetry-reciting dead brother (Steven Vidler) who periodically emerges to narrate the story and wax philosophical. -LB

Up in the Air

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George Clooney is superb as an unflappably slick “career transition counselor” whose job is to fly across America firing people. His business is booming while the economy is flailing. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick give very fine supporting performances as a travelling businesswoman and corporate upstart respectively. Jason Reitman’s dramedy is politically pointy, told with the kind of wryness and cynicism one might expect from Billy Wilder. That’s no small compliment. -LB

Vice

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Christian Bale transforms into the reptilian Dick Cheney for director Adam McKay (The Big Short) in this biopic that’s equal parts biting and concerning. McKay tells the troubling story of how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became one of the most powerful men in the world as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the U.S. and the rest of the world with his politics. It’s funny… when it’s not concerning. -SN

The Wolf of Wall Street

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Martin Scorsese dines on tales of personal and corporate excess, not to mention outright misogyny, drawing on the debaucherous memoir of former stockbroker (and convicted criminal) Jordan Belfort. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort and Jonah Hill as his right-hand man, hubris and hedonism is the name of the game – in a loud, fast, incongruous film that runs for three frantically paced hours. -LB

Xanadu

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Xanadu might not know that it’s a comedy, but like Cats that’s no reason why we can’t enjoy it as one. This musical fantasy, a campy ’80s disco romp blending Greek mythology and a roller-disco, stars Olivia Newton-John (Grease)… and song-and-dance screen legend Gene Kelly (Singing in the Rain)?! Credited as the film to inspire the Golden Rasberry Awards (Razzies), the annual awards for the worst movies of the year. What more do you need to know? It’s trash movie time, surely. -SN

Yesterday

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What a concept. no-one in the world can remember The Beatles except a struggling musician, who uses this bizarre situation to his advantage in this comedic flight-of-fancy tale directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and written by Richard Curtis (Love, Actually). Try and filter out their attempts to make serious statements about the modern music industry, and enjoy this for its crowd-pleasing elements. -SN

Zombieland

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Distilling decades of zombie film awareness into a helpful survival guide (read Daniel Rutledge’s top 10 picks from Zombieland’s iconic “rules”), and also packing in plenty of gags and some awesome cast chemistry, Ruben Fleischer’s feature debut made a post-zombie future almost seem bearable (ok, if you were one of the lead actors as opposed to the presumably millions killed). -SN