“Everybody needs somebody. Everybody needs somebody to love.”
The Blues Brothers, Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd), sum up buddy movies perfectly in their final number from 1980’s The Blues Brothers (one of my favorite buddy comedies of all-time). We all need somebody to love, and sometimes that somebody is some buddy who we go on a crazy and hilarious adventure with.
While not my favorite buddy comedy of the past 10 years, Ted, boasted one of the rare buddy comedies that involved a stuffed bear as the other half (equally strange is we now have two movies this year starring stuffed teddy bears; Paddington being the other one). This weekend Ted 2 comes out in theaters and it got me to thinking about some of the best buddy comedies that have come out over the past 10 years or so. A list going back further would be way too daunting. Also, there have been some really good ones in the past decade.
So, reaching back to 2005 and to now, let’s buy two tickets, one for you and one for your buddy, and look at the Top 5 Buddy Comedies of the Past Ten Years.
5) THE HEAT
One of the lesser hyped gems of 2015 is Melissa McCarthy’s return to form in Spy, her third team up with Paul Feig. Their second team up, the first since Bridesmaids, is the 2013 buddy cop comedy, The Heat. McCarthy, a foul-mouthed Boston police officer (something McCarthy is really good at being) is teamed up with Sandra Bullock, an uptight FBI Special Agent. They must take down a ruthless drug kingpin all while navigating their tumultuous pairing. While the movies lacks in certain areas with a predictable script and some pretty low-brow humor (something that will not be lost on this list), McCarthy is hilarious and her acting chemistry with Bullock is in sync and makes McCarthy even funnier.
What is especially important about this movie is that it is the first female buddy cop movie I can think of. It’s not reliant on male leads and the movie still has crowd-pleasing action and great comedic timing and chemistry. It is ground-breaking from that angle and so it gets the nod over movies like Step Brothers and I Love You, Man (it was hard to leave Paul Rudd off this list).
4) 21 & 22 JUMP STREET
If you don’t know a lot about either of these movies, I would suggest listen to last year’s Reel World Theology podcast on the surprisingly great 22 Jump Street.
Both movies, 21 and 22 Jump Street, are better movies than they should be. But the winning combination of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (a buddy comedy writing duo) make both of these movies witty, charming, vulgar, and hysterical. Both are throughly “dude” comedies and understand, as Betsy Sharkey of the LA Times points out, “the push-and-pull and hyper-competitiveness that make guy friendships both complex and stupid.”
22 Jump Street is particularly fun for its fourth-wall breaks and sense of absurdity in making a second Jump Street film. I’m not sure we can expect the same kind of wit and hilarity in the third installment forthcoming in 2016, since Lord and Miller jumped ship, but these two movies will live on as great buddy cop movies and classic “dude” movies for a long time.
In 2006, Michael Cera and Jonah Hill were not that well known. In 2007, all of that would change with the release of Juno, starring Michael Cera; Knocked Up with Jonah Hill in a funny supporting role; and the smash hit buddy comedy Superbad, starring both of them. It was also co-written by the hilarious buddy comedy writing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express and This Is The End).
Superbad is an oft-quoted movie that could also stand in as a coming-of-age comedy about two foul, horny, and sad teenagers. It’s an incredibly raunchy comedy reminiscent of anything associated to the American Pie series, but it is much less about the lewd content and more about the sad reality and strong friendship of Seth (Hill) and Evan (Cera). It’s a fun ride that is incredibly funny and a sign of things to come for both Cera and Hill.
2) HOT FUZZ
Another 2007 buddy comedy, Hot Fuzz was English director Edgar Wright’s follow up to the sensational cult classic, Shaun of the Dead (which sadly missed this list by one year). Once again starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the movie follows top London police officer Nicholas Angel. His arrest record is so good that his superiors (small cameos by Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and Bill Nighy) promote him and ship him off to the quaint, well-behaved hamlet of Sandford. Once he arrives in town, he meets and subsequently arrests drunk Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). When he reports for his first day, he finds out Butterman is a fellow officer, son of the Inspector (Jim Broadbent), and his new partner. They team together to solve the menacing and slowly unfolding secret of Sandford’s idyllic lifestyle and mysterious, murderous past.
Moving at a frenetic pace with fast edits, snappy wit, and a quicksilver script, Hot Fuzz is a rare movie that never slows down but is easy to track with. It’s action-packed, surprisingly gory, and joyously entertaining. There are so many characters in this movie that we only get small glimpses of but their limited scenes are memorable and fill the small town of Sandford with personality and intrigue. Also, little details, such as the amusingly strange habit of Inspector Butterman “punishing” officers with desserts add to the disquieting quirk of the townspeople and its police
force service. The whole movie majors in these hilarious minor details in the characters and the dialogue and warrants more than one viewing, preferably with your closest partners-in-crime by your side.
1) THE TRIP
British people must make the best best buddies. The top of my list is the 2010 “road comedy” featuring two of Britain’s funniest people, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan. Playing fictionalized versions of themselves, Coogan plans to set out on a tour of the British north country with his girlfriend, Mischa. When she puts their relationship on hiatus shortly before the planned trip, Coogan calls a bunch of other people and finally has to settle going on the trip with his comedic foil, Rob.
Originally airing as a six-part series on the BBC, The Trip was edited down and turned into a feature-length film that debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010. It was incredibly well-received and brought the household British name of Coogan and Brydon into the American limelight.
From their opening restaurant stop in the first ten minutes of the movie, they are already at each other as they try to out do each other in their impressions of movie stars. In particular, their multiple exchanges about how wrong each other’s Michael Caine impressions are, is the height of comedic interplay between the duo and the acme of laugh out loud moments for the audience. Brydon is silly, devil-may-care, and wittily charming; while Coogan is acerbic, melancholy, tormented by his crumbling relationship with Mischa, and constantly haunted by the prospect of fading stardom. It’s these melancholy touches amidst their comedy that only sweeten the funnier moments; much like Steve Carrell did as Michael Scott on The Office.
Come for the funny one-liners, stay for the hilarious impression and gags (the cemetery eulogy for Rob is my favorite scene). Just make sure to check your room availability first to avoid the risk of bum-touching.