26 New Comedy Movies We Can’t Wait to Watch in 2021
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Could you use a good laugh right about now? We’ve got the perfect films to tickle your funny bone and make your worries disappear—at least for a few hours.
They say that laughter is the best medicine. Given that we are suffering through a global pandemic, a healthy and constant dose of new comedy movies could be just what the doctor ordered. Sure, rom-coms aren’t a cure-all and most of us would take the vaccine over a Ryan Reynolds romp or a silly sequel starring an SNL alum, but giggles, chortles, and smiles can add light to America’s “dark winter” in the meantime. Luckily, movie studios and streaming services are ready to provide an almost constant IV drip of funny films throughout 2021. This guide should help you plan your screen time for the next year. If you’re looking for something to watch with the kids this weekend, check out these funny family movies that will make everyone happy.
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Further mining the hilarious, heartwarming, and often fickle world of female friendships, the brains behind Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, have created a new pair of big-screen besties. Lifelong inseparable pals and culottes devotees Barb and Star venture from their Midwestern bubble existence of hot dog soup and ceramic figurines for their first-ever out-of-state vacation. They land at the titular candy-colored, high-energy resort in Florida where everyone isn’t exactly what they seem and they may or may not unwittingly become involved in an evil plot to kill everyone in town. It’s surreal and goofy, and it features musical numbers, secret cameos, and an overqualified supporting cast that includes Wendi McLendon-Covey, Damon Wayans Jr., Phyllis Smith, Vanessa Bayer, Rose Abdoo, and Fortune Feimster. And if that isn’t enough to convince you to take the vicarious trip with them, how about a shirtless Jamie Dornan?
Coming 2 America
What’s old is new again in this sequel to the 1980s comedy classic that reunites Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. This time, Prince Akeem is now the king of Zamunda, and he and his trusted advisor Semmi must return to America to find the heir he didn’t know he had produced on his first trip to find a queen in Queens. His son, along with his family (which includes Tracy Morgan and Leslie Jones), then head to Africa so that the new prince can get prepped to someday take the throne. The lost-in-translation moments, family politics, and a few wild animals are coming to Prime Video on March 5.
Jennifer Lopez returns to the rom-com genre and theaters this May as Kat Valdez, a superstar singer who’s set to tie the knot with beau Bastian, himself a Latin music phenomenon (played by real-life Latin music chart-topper Maluma), during a concert and streamed social media event to promote their duet “Marry Me.” But seconds before the brand synergy stunt is set to take place, Kat learns that her groom has been cheating and his side piece is her assistant. Her public breakdown leads her to lock eyes with a math teacher (Owen Wilson) who was dragged to the show by his daughter, and to save face, she marries him instead. Will it develop from married at first sight to a real romance? This new comedy movie is a gift that keeps on giving, as it’s jam-packed with original songs by Maluma and J. Lo that are sure to dominate the radio all summer. In the mood for some straight-up romance? Check out our list of the 50 best romantic movies of all time.
Day in and day out, bank teller Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is subjected to being yelled at, punched, run over, held hostage, and shot at—which he eventually realizes is because he’s an NPC (non-player character) in an incredibly violent open-world video game. (Think Fortnite or Grand Theft Auto.) That’s when Guy decides he doesn’t want to be that guy anymore. He wants to give being the hero a try. Jodie Comer helps him on his quest to make their digital world a better place, and she’s clearly picked up quite a few moves as an assassin on Killing Eve. Newly minted Oscar winner Taika Waititi plays the villain who stands in Guy’s way. In theaters May.
Missing Mickey Mouse, churros, parades, and rides during the pandemic? If so, you’ll probably be happy to hear that Disney is taking inspiration from yet another of its theme park attractions in hopes of scoring a Pirates of the Caribbean–sized hit. Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) goes in search of a legendary tree purported to have unparalleled medicinal properties hidden deep in the Amazon jungle. She hires a smart-aleck skipper (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to take her and her brother downriver in his rundown boat. The journey is filled with dangerous curses, supernatural forces, creatures, restless natives, and dad jokes. While you wait for the film to set sail in theaters on July 30, learn these 23 fascinating facts about Disneyland and the Jungle Cruise ride, which the company just announced would be overhauled to correct its long-criticized portrayals of Indigenous people.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Netflix’s rabidly popular YA trilogy, which essentially launched the careers of Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, is coming to a close this February. But there’s a silver lining: The third chapter is packed with plenty of charm. Seriously, it is chock-full of prom-posals, matching bowling shirts, senior trips, pastel pastries, photo booths, lovable dad talks with John Corbett, and sister bonding in South Korea. But as high school winds down and college comes calling, Lara Jean and Peter realize that adulting isn’t easy and that they have a lot of decisions to make about the future of their love life. Check out these other hit movies that were books first.
Minions: The Rise of Gru
It’s the origin story Despicable Me fans have been longing for. The new installment in Universal’s Minions franchise will flashback to the fabulous 1970s when the future supervillain is a tween with a dream of world domination but has to follow the rules set forth by his self-absorbed mom (Julie Andrews). He and his yellow pals—including a never-before-seen one with braces—get their first taste of lair building, weapon designing, and mischievous missions. The crooked-nosed baddie does it all with the hope of impressing and then joining a supervillain supergroup called the Vicious 6 (voiced by Taraji P. Henson, Lucy Lawless, Alan Arkin, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Danny Trejo, and Dolph Lundgren). Unfortunately, when Gru finally gets a chance to audition, he upstages them and makes powerful new enemies. This beloved animated franchise returns to theaters July 2.
Not unlike any other big-budget action flick with caped crusaders, Netflix is keeping the plot details of this superhero comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer close to the bulletproof vest. Here’s what we do know: It was written and directed by McCarthy’s husband/frequent collaborator Ben Falcone, and it was filmed in Georgia. The ladies live in a world where supervillains are commonplace, and they play estranged childhood friends who team up to fight crime and clean up their city after one of them devises a treatment that gives them special powers. It also stars Bobby Cannavale, Melissa Leo, and Jason Bateman (supposedly in a role unlike any he’s tackled before). We also know that we love the inclusive message this new comedy movie sends—superheroes come in all shapes and sizes—and that it’s going to be hilarious.
Haughty, overbearing Manhattan socialite Frances Price has outlived her husband and her vast inheritance. Rather than face insolvency, she runs away to hide and sulk in a borrowed Parisian apartment with her rudderless son (Lucas Hedges) and a cat named Small Frank, who isn’t your average feline. Michelle Pfeiffer delivers a tour de force that somehow convinces the audience to relate to, and maybe even come to like, the off-putting holier-than-thou widow. Dialogue- and quip-heavy with oddball warmth, it has a Woody Allen/Wes Anderson feel, minus the overwrought, highly stylized set design or neurotic narrator. The new comedy opened in Los Angeles and New York in late February, but it won’t be in theaters nationwide until April.
Raya and the Last Dragon
Facing a world-ending evil force and polarized tribes from the various fantastical lands that make up that threatened world, a young warrior gathers a “fellowship of butt-kickery” and embarks on a symbolic Lord of the Rings-style quest to find the last living dragon. Her hope? That the dragon will reunite the people and restore peace. But when that dragon is voiced by Awkwafina, you know it won’t be all business. If the trailer is any indication, she’s got jokes, and we’re sure this movie will make some great new contributions to this list of our favorite Disney quotes. Sandra Oh, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Gemma Chan, and Kelly Marie Tran round out the voice cast of this Disney film.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
A mash-up of Groundhog Day, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Magicians (it’s based on a Lev Grossman short story), this film follows two witty and sarcastic teens, Mark and Margaret (Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton, respectively), who find each other while both are stuck reliving the same day. Realizing they seem to be the only ones aware that they are in an endless time loop, they partner up to discover the little moments that make those 24 hours perfect while trying to figure out how to escape them. As their bond tightens, they begin to wonder if they should try to restart the clock, unable to know what it would mean for their connection.
I Care a Lot
After making a mint defrauding helpless elderly marks, crooked legal guardian and self-proclaimed lioness Marla Grayson (the darkly delicious Rosamund Pike) may have finally met her match in Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest). It seems that dear old Jenny has been around the block and has friends in high places (including Peter Dinklage and Chris Messina). If Grayson doesn’t keep her usual cool and play her cards just right, there’s a good chance she’ll end up gone, girl.
Promising plenty of punch lines and paranormal activity, director/cowriter Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) dusts off the Ectomobile for a new chapter in the Ghostbusters franchise, the originals of which were directed by his dad. A broke single mom (Carrie Coon) transplants her city kids (Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace) to the middle of nowhere, where their dead grandfather left them a dilapidated old farmhouse. It isn’t long before the kids start to experience stranger things eerily similar to what happened in New York in the ’80s (did we just catch a glimpse of Slimer in the trailer?) and discover their pop-pop’s secret past with the help of cool teacher Paul Rudd. While we all know Ghostbusters‘ iconic line, everyone gets these 15 famous movie quotes wrong.
The French Dispatch
The next addition to Wes Anderson’s unique, kooky, and twee oeuvre is being described as a “love letter to journalists.” It brings to life a series of travelogues written by fictional ex-pats for the last issue of the made-up titular American magazine published from an imaginary 20th-century town in France. Anderson once again calls on frequent collaborators like Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Owen Wilson, and Anjelica Huston while adding a few fresh faces to the mix, including Timothée Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, and Benicio Del Toro. Exciting, for sure—but don’t plan your social calendar around it. It was bumped from the 2020 slate, and Fox Searchlight is reserving the right to hold it again in order to wait out the pandemic and screen it at multiplexes.
Amy Poehler pulls double duty (actor-director) on this timely teen tale from Netflix that will remind you of the saying “If you aren’t mad, you aren’t paying attention.” After discovering her mom’s protest-packed punk past and watching the new girl stand up for herself against a harassing jock, a shy 16-year-old (Hadley Robinson) starts an anonymous zine to call out gender inequality, sexism, toxic masculinity, and institutional patriarchy. This subsequently riles up her classmates, makes the school’s faculty (played by Ike Barinholtz and Marcia Gay Harden) uncomfortable, and catches the eye of a cute woke boy. If the film inspires you or your kids to get involved and take a stand, read this guide on how to prep for a protest and stay safe and healthy in a big crowd.
The King’s Man
Decades before Harry Hart (Colin Firth) plucked teen malcontent Eggsy (Taron Egerton) from the streets and taught him how to take down bad guys and gals with an umbrella and a perfectly tailored suit, a collection of well-dressed soldiers led by Ralph Fiennes teamed up to create the first independent intelligence agency, The Kingsman. Their goal? To stop history’s malevolent masterminds from joining forces to plot a global war. We’re guessing that this prequel will be just as explosive and entertaining for adult audiences as the 2014 and 2017 films based on The Secret Service comic books when it debuts in theaters next August.
Vacations are for letting loose and trying new things. And that’s exactly what buttoned-up Marcus (Lil Rel Howery, who is having quite the moment in 2021, with at least six projects on the schedule) and Emily (Insecure‘s Yvonne Orji) do during their romantic retreat to Mexico after connecting with party animals Ron (Jon Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner). It turns out to be the temporary pressure release they had no idea they needed. But a few months later, after they’ve returned to their normal everyday lives, the crazy couple pops up suddenly and they fear they can’t run from the border debauchery they committed. Streaming on Hulu this spring.
Fans of Borat, Punk’d, and Jackass should immediately add this raunchy, foul-mouthed hidden-camera comedy to their Netflix queue. Eric André and Lil Rel Howery are on a staged road trip across America to reunite with a fake lost love, and along the way they brake for pranks that pull real people unwittingly into the uncomfortable and occasionally bloody action. Tiffany Haddish, the sister who busted out of jail only to find that they took her car without asking, is hot on their tail. Not for the faint of heart. (But then again if you get a kick out of dark humor, you could be a genius.)
If Unpregnant worked its way from your HBO Max queue to your heart last year, you might want to give Hulu’s Plan B a go when it lands on the streaming service this spring or summer. When straightlaced high schooler Lupe (Teen Wolf‘s Victoria Moroles) experiences a regrettable roll in the hay, she and her slacker sidekick have to jump through innumerable (and hilarious but also woefully realistic) hoops to hunt down a morning-after pill in America’s conservative heartland. Directed by Dead to Me actress Natalie Morales, this movie could be a great jumping-off point for parents who want to have “the talk” with their teens in a cool way.
According to experts, toddlers hear the word no around 400 times a day. The parents at the center of this lighthearted Miguel Arteta–directed family film, Allison and Carlos (Edgar Ramirez and Jennifer Garner), usually rank above average in this category. That is, until they decide to give their three kids a day where they make the rules—well, most of them, anyway—and mom and dad are required to answer in the affirmative. The experiment sends them on a whirlwind adventure across Los Angeles and ultimately makes them a stronger family unit. Out March 12 on Netflix.
Tom & Jerry
One of the longest rivalries in cartoon history is getting the Space Jam/Who Framed Roger Rabbit treatment, where old-school animation and live-action are combined to evolve the saga. Jerry has set up shop in a prestigious NYC luxury hotel on the eve of the wedding of the century and is quite enjoying his stint as a city mouse and all the martini olives, cheese wedges, and hot baths in a soap dish it entails. That is, until staffer Chloë Grace Moretz is charged with exterminating him and she hires Tom to help. The old cat-and-mouse game commences until the three of them realize they have an even more nefarious common enemy. Ever wondered why this franchise is called Looney Tunes not Looney Toons? We investigated.
Don’t Look Up
Writer/director/producer Adam McKay has assembled the most star-studded ensemble to ever grace Netflix screens. In this story, two low-level astronomers (Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio) go on a press tour to warn the world about the approaching comet that will most likely cause a mass extinction event on Earth. Along the way, they orbit around Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Matthew Perry, Himesh Patel, Jonah Hill, Melanie Lynskey, and Kid Cudi. This film doesn’t have a release date yet but think it’s safe to assume lift-off will be closer to the next awards season.
The Boss Baby: Family Business
The OG Boss Baby Ted (Alex Baldwin) is all grown up and running a hedge fund. His brother Tim (James Marsden) is a married stay-at-home dad with two highly intelligent daughters of his own—Tabitha, a 7-year-old who idolizes her uncle and is at the top of her class at the Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood, and Tina, an infant and BabyCorp spy sent to expose skeletons in her sister’s school’s closet. Tina’s mission will bring the estranged brothers back together and inspire another revenue stream for the Templetons. Although tot-aged secret agents are a stretch, studies prove babies are smarter than you think. This new comedy is scheduled to hit theaters in September.
The Princess Switch 3
Netflix hopes to make your holidays merrier and brighter by releasing two new comedy movies set around the most wonderful time of year. In the first, Vanessa Hudgens returns for her third round in this trading-places romp as a baker/Belgravia duchess, and another look-alike character is introduced after a priceless relic is stolen. While you wait for the next installment, catch up on the first two movies on Netflix.
A Castle for Christmas
And now for Netflix’s princess comedy for the grown-up set. For this rom-com, you’ll head to Scotland. Brooke Shields plays a famous American author who goes home-hunting abroad and learns that the castle of her dreams is owned by a duke (Cary Elwes) who refuses to sell it to an outsider. Of course, shenanigans and romance ensue. If this puts you in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year, it might be time to watch a few of the best Christmas movies of all time. Why not?
Stars Fell on Alabama
Bryce Dixon, a successful Hollywood agent, is going to find out if you can go home again. In this case, home is Alabama and the reason for travel is his 15-year high school reunion. But when he finds out he’s the only one of his friends who isn’t married with children and they are judging him for it, he convinces his up-and-coming starlet client Madison to go home with him and pretend to be his girlfriend. What could possibly go wrong? This rom-com from Samuel Goldwyn Films brings the small-town Southern charm of Sweet Home Alabama and the fake relationship element of another Patrick Dempsey classic, Can’t Buy Me Love, to VOD. Next, check out the most iconic movies set in every state.