100 Best Grown-Up Comedy Films

100 Best Grown-Up Comedy Films

June 11, 2024

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Step into the world of hilarious wit, sharp satire, and clever comedic timing. These cinematic gems cater to the mature palette, delivering comedy that tickles the intellect and touches the heart. From witty banter to relatable situations and biting social commentary, these grown-up comedy films will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. So enjoy the best comedic offerings that celebrate the joys and absurdities of adulthood.

91. Office Space (1999)

7.3

Country

United States of America

Director

Mike Judge

Actors

Ajay Naidu, Alexandra Wentworth, Ali Wentworth, Barbara George-Reiss

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Grown-up Comedy, Quirky

Before “burnout,” “bullshit jobs,” and “quiet quitting” became part of our everyday lexicon, there was a film in the ‘90s that prophesied the rise of these workplace problems. Office Space follows three co-workers who, having had enough of their dreary low-paying jobs, fight back against their company via an embezzlement scheme. 

Office Space makes the most out of its indie budget as it mostly takes place in the cramped quarters of a company, effectively bottling us into the cubicled windowless world of the characters. But the real beauty of the film is in the details, from its quick zingers and thoughtful takes on the essence of work down to its elaborate “planning to plan” scheme in the background and the employees’ forced politeness singing happy birthday to their boss. Modern viewers will notice that Office Space sits right in between the dystopian thriller Severance and the beloved sitcom The Office—a dark comedy that highlights the necessity of humanity in everyday work. 

92. Fear of a Black Hat (1994)

7.3

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Rusty Cundieff

Actors

Barry Shabaka Henley, Deezer D, Devin Kamin, Don Reed

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Weird

Though it’s still very much a product of a time of certain jokes that haven’t aged well, it’s still remarkable how the humor and the satirical edge of this mockumentary has remained so current. As a very-low budget mockumentary of a still-young American hip hop scene, there’s so much more effort that goes into these fake songs and music videos than you’d expect. But the film doesn’t stop at simply poking fun at the rappers and hip hop artists of the era; the jokes always circle back around to the racism of the time and the self-seriousness of the culture in the music industry. It’s a hilarious time capsule with some brutally incisive lines in practically every scene.

93. Bottoms (2023)

7.3

Country

United States of America

Director

Emma Seligman, Female director

Actors

Alyssa Matthews, Ayo Edebiri, Bruno Rose, Cameron Stout

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Lighthearted

The sooner you accept that Bottoms is not, in fact, rooted in reality in any way, the easier it should become to get on its wavelength for its uniquely absurd brand of comedy. This is ostensibly a satire, though it isn’t totally clear what exactly the film is trying to comment on. And its loosely defined world makes it challenging to get emotionally invested in any of the characters’ failures or victories. But it does—more than any comedy we’ll probably get in a while—capture this feeling of high school being its own heightened, insulated world, where the class system of strict high school stereotypes clashes with the unchecked id and ego of teenagers who think they’re more grown-up than they really are.

Director and co-writer Emma Seligman gives this movie a certain sheen that you rarely find in comedies this lowbrow (care of lush cinematography by Maria Rusche, and a bumping electronic score by Leo Birenberg and pop star Charli XCX). This contrast between polished exteriors and unapologetically raunchy content makes the jokes all the more startling—which are delivered by a cast clearly having great fun. Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri stick to their cringe-comedy skill set to great effect, while Ruby Cruz and Havana Rose Liu shine with deceptively tricky material, and Nicholas Galitzine gets to be a himbo for the ages.

94. Beth Stelling: If You Didn’t Want Me Then (2023)

7.3

Country

United States of America

Director

Female director, Mo Welch

Actors

Beth Stelling

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Lighthearted

If you’ve never encountered Beth Stelling before, it might take some getting used to before her brand of comedy really hits. Her routine in this special isn’t necessarily built around huge punchlines, animated delivery, or edgy subject matter. But there’s plenty of oddly specific detail to her many, many anecdotes that gradually begins to feel warm and easy to connect with, whether or not you’ve ever been to Ohio. Stelling usually comments on the absurdity of many of these details herself—which, surprisingly, never ruins the joke but helps invite the audience in closer. Her storytelling is consistently engaging all throughout, painting this easygoing outlook on life, which just happens to be punctuated by the most bizarre memories that still remind us of the people we’re fondest of.

95. The Conference (2023)

7.3

Country

Sweden

Director

Patrik Eklund

Actors

Adam Lundgren, Amed Bozan, Bahar Pars, Cecilia Nilsson

Moods

Action-packed, Easy, Funny

Familiarity breeds contempt, and Swedish Netflix’s new horror-comedy takes this idea to the extreme. Based on the novel by Mats Strandberg, who’s known as the Swedish Stephen King, The Conference is centered around a group of employees on their company retreat. With its ensemble, the film crafts a relatable dynamic, with the exact petty back-and-forth and the same exact corporate politics many adults have to deal with. It’s no wonder one of them snaps, and takes them out one by one. The film isn’t exactly new, with the decades’ collection of slashers all over the world, but this Swedish thriller is a fun take on it, with match cut transitions, quick paced sequences, and the gruesome murders of the group most adults spend time with – their colleagues. It’s an interesting watch as the world gets back to the office.

96. The Madness of King George (1994)

7.3

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Nicholas Hytner

Actors

Adrian Scarborough, Alan Bennett, Amanda Donohoe, Anthony Calf

Moods

A-list actors, Challenging, Character-driven

At first glance, The Madness of King George seemed like a history lesson about King George III. Like plenty of British royalty dramas, the film has all the opulent trappings in its sets and costumes, as well as some of the best actors from the British isles. However, unlike other depictions of the monarchy, the film depicts the king not as a benevolent ruler or oppressive tyrant– instead, King George III is terribly human, with his memory failing, being unsettled by loss, and concern over his health, which involves having to look at his urine. But the historical satire, based on the 1991 stage play, still manages to have the same mockery towards the opportunistic court, while still retaining sympathy for the very nobility it mocks, through original playwright Alan Bennett’s adept writing, as well as the excellent performance of the stacked ensemble cast.

97. Parting Glances (1986)

7.3

Country

United States of America

Director

Bill Sherwood

Actors

Adam Nathan, Bob Koherr, Cam Brainard, John Bolger

Moods

Character-driven, Funny, Grown-up Comedy

As a comedy made in the 80’s all about a gay couple, viewers not familiar with this indie film might expect something tragic, raunchy, or insensitive, but Parting Glances is surprisingly understated. The main relationship is refreshingly treated with the same domesticity as a straight couple would, and the main conflict isn’t concerned with acceptance– after all, Michael and Robert were already accepted by their urban Manhattan community. In writing this, first-time director Bill Sherwood is able to focus on the upcoming long-distance relationship, Michael realizing Robert wants the distance, while Robert feels uncertain over Michael’s feelings for his ex dying from AIDS. The film doesn’t shy away from the touching, but even with the difficult pain of losing parts of the community, it’s still straightforward, unsentimental, and so funny with the witty repartee between the well-written characters. Parting Glances is a true gem.

98. Lost in America (1985)

7.2

Country

United States of America

Director

Albert Brooks

Actors

Albert Brooks, Art Frankel, Bob Hughes, Candy Ann Brown

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Funny

While painfully accurate, Lost in America is a cutting satire of the white-collar mid-life crisis that’s so hilarious, but in a depressing sort of way. When denied his expected promotion and then fired, David Howard (director Albert Brooks) convinces his wife Linda (Julie Haggerty) that they should “drop out of society”, pursuing a freewheeling lifestyle to travel across the country. Brooks and Haggerty lead the film – their back-and-forth dynamic feels compelling, whether they’re arguing, pouting, or tenderly reconciling. And while the couple stays compatible with each other, the film reveals them (and us) at our most shallow.

99. Coup de Chance (2023)

7.2

Country

France, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Woody Allen

Actors

Anne Loiret, Arnaud Viard, Benoît Forgeard, Bruno Gouery

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Quirky

The humor, oh the humor! It’s a breath of fresh air to be laughing with a Woody Allen film and not at it. He is so good at capturing the cheekiness in meet-cutes, secrecies, and lies, all powdered with exaggerated Frenchness. Forgive my surprised tone, but Coup de Chance surpasses all expectations in the way it turns a rather banal plot into an entertaining game of cat and mouse, without overstepping the boundaries of good taste. In developing a story about female infidelity (or all infidelity, for that matter), one can be overly moralistic just to squeeze out laughs and empathy from the viewer, but Allen refrains from all those cheap tricks. His script is tight and at times ridiculously funny. Whether or not you get behind Fanny and her convoluted ways of seeking happiness, Coup de Chance will offer you plenty of instances to better understand the character in a constellation of other people, who are equally affected by her decisions. In a way, the film is a comedy of ethics as well — something the American director hasn’t successfully done in a long, long while.

100. August at Twenty-Two (2023)

7.2

Country

United States of America

Director

Sophia Castuera

Actors

Adrian Burke, Ali Edwards, Clay Singer, Jorge Felipe Guevara

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Grown-up Comedy

Sophia Castuera’s first feature after two indie shorts seems like a low-key affair, but it fits neatly into a canon of post-mumblecore, or a Gen Z mumblecore. It features a fumbling protagonist named Cal and played by Ali Edwards (who also wrote the script), a wanna-be actress fresh out of college who finds herself stuck between two people. Not just any people, but her childhood best friend Jay and his long-term girlfriend Emily. August at Twenty Two queers the love triangle trope and makes the most of the characters’ anxieties, their hopes, and awkward daily sacrifices to climb up into each other’s good books. Appearances are key, of course, since everyone’s delightfully immature. The good thing is that the film knows all this very well and even sneaks a post-ironic hint or two. That said, its self-assurance is also its Achilles heel: you cannot convince me that twenty two year olds would call each other often enough to have voicemail. 

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