Below are my picks for the five funniest films of the year, and the five funniest actors and actresses of 2016. Keep in mind, I loved Dirty Grandpa, so prepare to be disappointed as I hold my middle finger to the sky in defiance of movie critics everywhere.
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE:
I swear, I saw a lot of comedies this year. I don’t know why my top five performances all come from the same three movies, but here we go:
5) Leslie Mann (How To Be Single)
Probably the most serious of the roles on the list, I did think she had some great funny moments in the film as well. I always love Leslie as an actress, I think she’s highly underrated, and I think this film surprised me due in large part to her work in this film.
4) Rebel Wilson (How To Be Single)
It’s a balls-to-the-wall performance that Rebel Wilson is known for. She also brought a little bit of heart in at the end. Rebel works best a supporting character, a rule that the Pitch Perfect franchise would do good to remember. Used just right, she can be magnificent. Overused, she becomes grating. If you look at her best performances, she’s definitely supporting.
3) Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Another underrated actress, and I thought she was the funniest of the trio in Bad Moms. She gave me the most laughs, and had the most unhinged character. I hope she continues to get bigger and bigger roles. I think she probably would do best anchoring her own TV sitcom.
2) Leslie Jones (Ghostbusters)
Fuck the haters. I thought Leslie was hilarious in Ghostbusters, overshadowed only slightly by her co-star Kate McKinnon. I’m so glad that Leslie is finally getting her due. I think she’s a brilliant talent, and we’re just starting to see a glimmer of her capability.
1) Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters)
I loved how committed she was to this batshit insane role. I feel like she’s the only person who could have made this role work. On SNL she takes the most insane character concepts and turns them into comic gold, and that’s what she did here. She took the craziest of the new Ghostbusters, and made her my favorite. I want a sequel just so I can see more of Kate McKinnon in this role. Some people hated it, but I loved it.
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE BY A MALE:
5) Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys)
Probably the most serious of the roles in my top five, but I think Gosling had his moments. He rarely gets to prove his chops in comedy, but when he does, I think he shows that he can be funny if given the right roles. He’ll be remembered this year for La La Land, but The Nice Guys was a great film that your friends will be lamenting for years to come. Why haven’t you seen it yet?
4) Dwayne Johnson (Central Intelligence)
I actually thought Johnson was funnier than Hart. Kevin Hart really is Kevin Hart in every film, but Johnson was almost a characterization of himself, which made it even funnier. He was OK with going over the top. He continues to impress me with his acting ability and talent.
3) Chris Hemsworth (Ghostbusters)
I never thought in a million years I’d be tagging Chris Hemsworth for Best Comedic Performance. Like, what? What world do we live in? He was so funny, so perfectly cast in this role. If he didn’t make you laugh, even if you hated the rest of the film, you probably have no soul.
2) Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Finally we got to see what Reynolds was truly capable of as Deadpool, and it was the perfect marriage of actor to role. He really understands who Deadpool is on a molecular level, and the comedy felt like it was coming right off the pages of the comic.
1) Robert DeNiro (Bad Grandpa)
Middle finger held high. As I said when I first watched Dirty Grandpa, I thought Robert DeNiro made this whole movie. He’s so out of his comfort zone, yet so inside it too. He takes this crude role and film and gives both life. I get that critics thought it was dumb, but I thought it was dumb fun, and due in large part to just how good DeNiro is in this film. I think this is his funniest role to date.
TOP FIVE FUNNIEST FILMS OF THE YEAR:
These aren’t necessarily how I graded them. These are just the ones that made me laugh the most consistently. Either the biggest laughs, or the most laughs.
Underrated film. I love The Lonely Island, and I think more people should have seen it. I thought the music was funny, and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments.
4) Bad Moms
I’m a little scared that there’s a sequel being planned to this, because it could be like Horrible Bosses 2. Sometimes, you can just write a great comedy without spawning it into a franchise. I think Bad Moms works well as just one film, and it was totally worth my time.
3) Dirty Grandpa
Yes, Dirty Grandpa makes my top five. There were a lot of funny moments, driven by Robert DeNiro mostly, but some also by Zac Efron. Again, I’m holding my middle finger to the sky.
It is a comedy, but at its heart it is an action film, and it did both well. The only reason it wasn’t at the top of my list, is because the film at the top had a comedy ensemble that hit me from multiple direction, as opposed to just Ryan Reynolds and his barrage of one liners.
Thinking back on it, I think I laughed the most in Ghostbusters. It really was a combination of the performances by Hemsworth, McKinnon, and Jones, but also Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. All five actors worked really hard to bring the laughs. Is it a perfect film? No. In fact, I scored it lower than the other four films on this list. However, like I said, this list is based on most laughs, and Ghostbusters was hitting me with a talented comedic ensemble from five different directions. That being said, while all five films were funny, I think 2016 overall was a weak year for comedy. There are films from other years that could have been 2nd or 3rd on my year end lists and topped Ghostbusters. There were so many comedies this year that just didn’t work for me, but for 2016, Ghostbusters is my pick for funniest film of the year.