Great R-Rated Comedies Are Rare
R-Rated comedies are unfortunately a fairly rare breed; we tend to only usually get 1 or 2 good ones per year. Compared to other genres of movies, R-Rated comedies typically don’t get great reviews either, as they’re usually deemed “offensive”. I guess society thinks that funny sh*t is just for kids and that civilized well-adjusted members of society shouldn’t be watching obscene and irreverent films, whatever.
That’s a shame, because R-rated comedies can be amazing in a variety of different situations. If you’re stressed and trapped going around in circles in your mind then a good comedy can cause you to mentally step out of that. A refreshing comedy can help you realize that maybe you’re problems aren’t so life-consuming. Laughter can truly be some much-needed medicine; that is actually objectively and scientifically true.
R-rated comedies can be awesome for kickin’ it at home with your partner and/or some homies plus a case of beer.
Or R-rated comedies can simply just be a way for you to forget the bullsh*t of the world for a couple of hours (or a couple of days if you’re on lockdown with your partner and 50 beers in the fridge).
There were a few gems in the 2010s, let’s take a look at some of the best (in no particular order):
1) This Is the End (2013)
So you’ve got comedy-heavy-hitters Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, James Franco, Danny MacBride, Craig Robinson and Jay Baruchel all trapped in a house together; it’s gotta be f*ckin good.
These are some of the most comical actors of today, all playing themselves locked in during the apocalypse. What makes this film so funny is how incredibly dumb, fake-nice and selfish they are; reminding you of that group of friends you used to get baked with when you were younger.
Jonah Hill is the fakest, most passive-aggressive motherf*cker ever in this movie and Danny McBride is the most d*ckish d*ckhead you’ll ever meet, similar to his role as Kenny Powers in one of the most hilarious, inappropriate and underrated R-rated TV series of all time, Eastbound & Down.
Also, there’re cameos by Jason Segel, Micheal Cera (being a massively coked-out douchebag), Rihanna (slapping Michal Cera), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Aziz Ansari, Channing Tatum, Mindy Kaling and Kevin Hart (yeah seriously, they’re all in this movie) being their funny af selves chilling at a totally believable Hollywood party.
My one complaint about This Is the End is that they have a lot of really gory and f*ckedup parts that they are trying to make humorous; I didn’t really find those parts funny personally. The fact that they included these scenes in the film makes this a movie that you probably shouldn’t watch with a girl.
2) The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill absolutely kill it in this film that was nominated for the 5 big academy awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, it didn’t win any because controversial R-rated comedy films involving sex, drugs and crime never win sh*t.
Based on the true story of Jordan Belford, this movie is not only a great R-rated comedy but an engaging crime film too. And of course, Leo’s a f*cking legend in one of his few comedy films; some seriously good acting coming from him.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have solid chemistry; making a f*ckton of white-collar money but cracking jokes and acting like immature hooligans the entire time while doing so.
It’s dope because Leo and Jonah are actually homies in real life, pranking each other and cruising around on yacht parties together.
The scene where it’s Leo’s first day of work is one of the best. Mathew McConaughey plays Leo’s boss who gives a ridiculous yet disturbingly accurate description of how Wall Street really works, while showing us a hilarious portrayal of an unhinged, Wall Street-veteran.
The Wolf of Wall Street is directed by Martin Scorsese who’s known for making gritty, and usually gangster, films including Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Departed and, more recently, The Irishman (2019). Martin Scorsese is so dope that he occasionally gets heckled at film events for his movies being “too insensitive”.
3) The World’s End (2013)
So let’s switch it up with a bit of English humor here. Although I found Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were only moderately amusing, the 3rd movie in director Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy“, The World’s End, was really f*cking humorous.
What makes The World’s End so funny, is the main character (played by Simon Pegg). He’s the classic alcoholic that never grew up; a slimy yet lovable guy using greasy manipulation to try and get his friends to come on epic adventures with him like they used to do when they were younger, kind of similar to Rob Corddry (Lou) in Hot Tub Time Machine.
The humor is quick, subtle and witty in English fashion, including pub brawls and belligerent drunken chanting like English people seem to enjoy doing. About halfway through the plot does some crazy sh*t that you’re completely not expecting.
4) Dirty Grandpa (2016)
After seeing Zac Efron on posters for movies like 17 Again and High School Musical when I was younger, I’d always avoided him. However, after seeing Neighbors, Bad Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (with Adam Devine), I was happy to conclude that Zac Efron actually grew up to be decently cool.
Just like in real life, Zac Efron begins the film being super whack, but then his grandpa (Robert De Niro, also seen in like every Irish-American gangster movie ever) peer pressures him to have a dope-a$$ time and stop being such a whipped bish.
The funniest character in this film is “Tan Pam”, played by Jason Mantzoukas. I’ve been seeing this guy in movies lately and he’s pretty f*cking funny; usually playing this super-deranged, overly-friendly dude.
Dirty Grandpa is kinda stupid and, honestly, overly crude and unfashionably vulgar at times, but watching Zac Efron’s character psychologically unravel is pretty entertaining.
5) Get Him to the Greek (2010)
Get Him to the Greek‘s premise is kinda similar to Dirty Grandpa‘s. Jonah Hill is a record label employee who begins the movie with an unhumorous, serious attitude and the mission of transporting Russel Brand from London to Los Angeles.
However, Russel Brand slowly and awesomely corrupts Jonah Hill throughout the film.
Russel Brand plays an out-of-control, yet aging, rockstar who comes across as a moronic, ultra-conceited, shallow entertainer in the beginning. However, later on, through his honest, carefree and straightforward way of viewing the world, it is slowly revealed that he’s in fact a very emotionally intelligent, albeit sad, guy with substance abuse problems. Get Him to the Greek actually does a pretty good job of developing this psychologically complex character.
P. Diddy is pretty funny as an angry record label exec (Jonah’s boss) and kind of like the film’s antagonist.
6) We’re the Millers (2013)
(2013 was actually a pretty decent year for R-rated comedy films; 4 movies on this list are from 2013. I wonder if we’ll get a year like that again.)
So when you see the poster for We’re The Millers, you think it’s gunna be a family film; it’s super not. Jason Sudeikis (no, he’s not “Stu” from The Hangover, just looks like him) plays a weed dealer who owes a lot of money to Ed Helms (actually “Stu” from The Hangover) and has to pretend to be on a family vacation to avoid getting busted smuggling a large quantity of weed in from Mexico; it’s a pretty unique plot.
Jennifer Aniston is a stripper, Emma Roberts is a homeless girl and Will Poulter (“Eyebrows”) is a really funny-looking, dorky dude; Jason Sudeikis pays them all to pretend to be his family.
But the best character is “Scotty P”; an imbecilic carny with a motorbike and a “No Ragrets” tattoo that he’s quite proud of. When Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston “interview” him is probably one of the best scenes in the movie. Scotty P drops more “know’m sayin”s than even J-Roc in Trailer Park Boys (possibly the funniest TV series of all time).
7) The Hangover 2 (2011)
The original The Hangover (2009) is regarded by many as the greatest R-rated comedy film of all time, and the sequel is pretty damn good too. The chemistry of the main characters is just so comical.
Ed Helms is an uptight guy who always gets ludicrously loose and makes massively poor decisions when he’s blackout drunk, Zach Galifianakis is a funloving, dumb-as-f*ck, childish fat guy missing at least a few screws and Bradley Cooper is the laid-back, street-smart leader who holds them all together and keeps them focused on their mission. Throw in Ken Jeong as a psychotic, international-criminal wildcard and a cigarette-addicted monkey, plus 10 different famous settings throughout Bangkok, Thailand, (and 2 in Krabi), and you’ve got a ridiculous rollercoaster of a film.
I remember when I first came to Thailand in 2015, every single hostel I stayed in was playing this movie, that and The Beach. Anyone who’s been through a monster tropical hangover, stumbling down SE-Asian chaotic streets while being completely sensory-overloaded and culture-shocked by crowds, tuk-tuks and motorbikes, not knowing what the f*ck* happened last night or where the f*ck your room is, will appreciate this film.
8) The Gentlemen (2019)
Writer and director Guy Ritchie, the king of British gangster movies (Snatch, RocknRolla, Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels and others), knocks The Gentlemen out of the f*cking park. Although more of a ridiculously badass crime film than a comedy, this film definitely has many hilarious, albeit dark, moments.
We can see Guy Ritchie’s incredible talent for criminal storytelling in this film, with a complex plot that twists and bucks like a bull in a rodeo. The story comes quickly and with plenty of English slang, you’re going to need to be paying full attention to keep up; I had to hit the rewind button a couple of times during the first 20 minutes.
With a diverse cast, Mathew McConaughey (American), Charlie Hunnam (English), Colin Farrel (Irish) and Henry Golding (Malaysian) give stellar performances.
English rapper and actor Bugzy Malone has an energetic, badass fight scene / music video partway through that adds a nice touch.
An all-around awesome movie, I was super immersed in this film and actually felt pretty bummed when it finished.
9) Super Troopers 2 (2018)
I’m going to tell you upfront that Super Troopers 2 is not a great film in the same sense that The Wolf of Wallstreet, The Gentlemen and Dope are, but I had to include it on this list for three reasons:
One, I watched the original Super Troopers (2001) like 20 times when I was a kid. Two, as a Canadian myself, I find it pretty amusing how they just relentlessly have a go at Canadian stereotypes (mostly French Canadians though) throughout the whole film. And three, if you liked the first one, then Super Troopers 2 definitely has a similar style of humor that’ll have you snickering.
Be warned though, like Dirty Grandpa, Super Troopers 2 is outrageously vulgar.
Just like in the original, they’re still always playing games and pranks to try and f*ck with each other, their rival Canadian police officers and the people they pull over.
The plot is a bit meh, but I think most Super Troopers fans don’t really give a f*ck about the plot too much to be honest.
10) Dope (2015)
Although not strictly a comedy, Dope still definitely has its comedic moments and will leave you with a good feeling throughout the film and after. An outstanding movie, I couldn’t not put it on this list.
2010s R-Rated Comedies Honorable Mentions:
Baywatch (2017): Zac Efron and The Rock have some decent mentor-kinda-vibe chemistry going on; the plot is alright but not amazing.
21 Jump Street (2012) & 22 Jump Street (2014): Almost made it on this list, but I found them to be a bit more marketed towards teens; not irreverent enough to be a true R-rated comedy in my opinion, but almost.
Neighbors (2014): It has its moments; the airbag prank is pretty hysterical.
Bridesmaids (2011): Like a The Hangover for women; I’m not gunna lie, this film had me chuckling at times.
Beach Bum (2019): Matthew McConaughey is a never-sober millionaire writer bouncing back and forth between Miami and the Florida Keys, chilling with a motley crew of different individuals such as Snoop Dogg and Zac Efron (as a complete nutter). Underneath it all, it’s kinda a bit more of a serious film; it has a good message of not giving a f*ck (that link goes to one of the greatest blog posts ever written btw).
R-Rated Comedies in the 2020s?
It’s good to laugh, we all need a bit of comedy sometimes. It’s unfortunate that less attention is given to R-rated comedies compared to other genres. However, I’m optimistic that the 2020s will give us a few more sidesplitting heavy hitters.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Did I miss any gems? Let me know what you think.