There’s really only one way to measure comedies, right? Which films make us laugh the most? Therefore, this one is likely the most subjective of all the segment of this report card, but I still recommend every film on this list to everyone who might read it.
5. The DUFF: This high school comedy had its heart in the right place but its marketing in the wrong hands. Granted, it was a tough conceit to handle without showing the film’s entire hand, but ultimately, viewers who risked the falsely-promised cliche and meanness were treated to the funniest romantic couple to hit a big screen in a long time. Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell had undeniable comedic chemistry, both with a timing and delivery uncanny of these teen flicks and, it turns out, the film wasn’t mean at all. (Directed by Air Sandel, Lions Gate Films/CBS Films)
4. Trainwreck: Amy Schumer had a career year, even without this, her first leading role in a major comedy. But Trainwreck proved to be the perfect punctuation to her claim as comedy royalty. With Trainwreck, Schumer (who also gets credit for writing the film) steered comedy closer to the right path for women. But it didn’t hurt that she got an incredible boost from an unlikely source in a surprisingly hilarious Lebron James. (Universal Pictures)
3. Tangerine: Huh. So it turns out when you cast roles in fair consideration to their ethnic, sexual, and gender identities, nothing is really lost in the performance. Who knew? (Not Eddie Redmayne, clearly.) Tangerine has moments of brilliance in execution and comedy, but for the purpose of this list, we need to focus on the latter. Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) travel the streets of their hometown Hollywood, both with separate ambitions and sharp tongues, and both exhude a sense of self-determination and exhibit a jazz-like mastery of their comedic timing. (Directed by Sean S. Baker, Duplass Brothers Productions)
2. 7 Days in Hell: Directed by Jake Szymanski, this short form sports mockumentary aired on HBO and might not qualify as a movie, but if Andy Samberg makes an appearance and it almost meets qualifications, I’ll pull some strings to get it included. I’m a fan of Samberg’s silly approach no matter what form it takes, and somehow, he leans upon Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harrington and finds his perfect foil. Any other year and 7 Days in Hell might mark the hardest I’ve laughed in any viewing experience except…
1. What We Do in the Shadows: This mockumentary follows flatmate vampires struggling with a modern existence in a Wellington suburb. If it sounds like a ridiculous premise, then you know it’s perfectly suited for Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame. It is ridiculous, and it is also the funniest comedy I’ve seen in years.
2015 Comedy Grade: A-