If there’s anything these past few years have taught us, it’s that we absolutely need to have a good sense of humor. Finding one can be tough but, thankfully, audiences have been able to get great laughs from some strong, big-screen comedies. This was true during 2022, as it delivered some incredibly entertaining and varied additions to the genre. Many of Hollywood’s best and brightest really brought their A-game in order to make viewers laugh (out loud, even). But which productions stand apart from the others as the best of the year?
Such a thing can be tough to think about, especially since there were so many funny bone-tingling flicks to hit theaters and/or streaming services over the last 12 months. Well, we’ve managed to compile a list of the best 10, ranked according to the strength of the laughs they delivered. So at the risk of delaying things any further, let’s look back at these humorous productions.
10. Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul.
Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul is a thoroughly delightful and humorous movie. The feature film debut of director and writer Adamma Ebo, the mockumentary centers on the pastor and first lady of a megachurch, who attempt to move their ministry forward in the wake of a major scandal. Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall are the leads, and they’re downright impeccable as the embattled husband and wife team. The two veteran actors have immense chemistry, which serves them well during some of the wilder and rauncher moments. Hall, in particular, puts in a masterful (and heartbreaking) performance.
There’s a lot to appreciate about this movie, which has Daniel Kaluuya and Jordan Peele among its producing team. But what’s really cool is that it highlights a slice of Americana that isn’t shown on the big screen all that often. Yes, there have been films that center on predominantly Black churches, but Adamma Ebo handles the subject matter with nuance. As a result, she finds humor in pitch-perfect ways, whether it be through parishioners being slain in the Spirit or clergymen getting competitive about their houses of worship. This film is fun and is certainly worth audiences’ time and prayers.
Where to stream Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul.: Peacock
9. See How They Run
Interestingly, 2022 delivered several notable mystery comedies (which I’m certainly not complaining about), and one of them was Tom George’s See How They Run. The 1950s-set tale sees a boozy, but seasoned police inspector – played by Sam Rockwell – joining forces with a younger constable (portrayed exceptionally by Saoirse Ronan) to solve a murder tied to the cast and crew of Agatha Christie’s The Moustrap. The film is delightful, featuring more than a few chuckleworthy moments. A lot of those laughs come from the varied personalities of the suspects, played by the likes of Ruth Wilson, David Oyelowo and Adrien Brody. However, some of the best lines are delivered in scenes that solely feature Rockwell and Ronan.
The movie delivers on comedy, but what keeps it from being higher on the list is its incredibly high level of self-awareness. While it’s mostly employed at the right moments, it sometimes feels as though Tom George and writer Mark Chappell are winking at mystery lovers a bit too often. Nevertheless, it’s a solid romp and probably the only production in which you’ll see Saoirse Ronan attempt a Richard Attenborough impression.
Where to stream See How They Run: HBO Max
8. Jackass Forever
Jackass Forever is expected to be the final installment in the film saga that was spawned by the beloved MTV reality comedy series. And if that proves to be the case, then this is one heck of a send-off. The OG cast (sans the fired Bam Margera) gave it their all and are joined by several newcomers that are more than game for the wild antics the franchise is famous for. There are so many hilarious (and incredibly dangerous) sights to behold, from Steve-O’s attempt to use his penis as a beehive to Johnny Knoxville’s tango with a bull, which some of the cast believe is Oscar-worthy material.
What’s most impressive about the Jeff Tremaine-directed feature is that it’s truly a love letter to everything Jackass. Amid the fresh elements, there are cool nods to past stunts and a sweet end-credits sequence that'll have you feeling reflective. It’s also hard not to smile at the mere sight of Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and the gang still doing their thing in their 40s and 50s. It’s enough to hit you in the feels – emotionally, not physically. In short, longtime fans and newcomers alike can appreciate the deftly balanced crotch pain and nostalgia at play here.
Where to stream Jackass Forever: Paramount+
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7. Turning Red
Pixar graced the public with another classic this year in the form of Turning Red, a coming-of-age tale with a fantastical twist. Set in 2002, the film tells the story of 13-year-old Meilin, who (to her horror) discovers that she turns into a giant red panda whenever she’s overcome with emotions. Domee Shi, the first woman to solely helm a motion picture for the studio, finds plenty of humor within her protagonist’s extraordinary circumstances. As with most Pixar fare, the laughs aren’t so much derived from gags but from the natural interactions between the characters. Mei’s convos with her friends and her attempts to keep her secret safe are particularly funny. Her and her pals’ love of the boy band 4*Town also results in some comical pieces of dialogue.
All in all, there’s a warm and endearing spirit to Domee Shi’s movie, and that’s only amplified by the humor. Adolescence is a tricky topic to cover in any genre but difficult to joke about. Shi’s film is definitely a good one and can be enjoyed by those who vividly remember going through growing pains and others who are experiencing them now.
Where to stream Turning Red: Disney+
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6. The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent
Like See How They Run, Nicolas Cage’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is very meta, but that approach works better here. This buddy comedy has Cage playing a fictionalized and down-on-his-luck version of himself who travels to Majorca to attend the birthday of a superfan (Pedro Pascal). And in the process, the actor gets thrust into a massive operation involving the CIA. Yes, the premise is just as wild as it sounds, and it totally works, resulting in a strong showcase for both Cage and Pascal. Cage initially found it “terrifying” to play himself in such a project, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by his work.
The film dives head first into the leading man’s iconic filmography and has no problem (lovingly) poking fun at it as well. What’s great about the film is that it’s surprisingly earnest and doesn’t lean too much on cynicism. Director and co-writer Tom Gormican deserves a lot of credit for crafting an uproarious action flick that seamlessly honors Nic Cage’s work while simultaneously adding another impressive notch to his acting tool belt. So give it a watch and maybe even check out a few Cage movies beforehand to get you warmed up.
5. Confess, Fletch
Most people probably wouldn’t have expected Confess, Fletch (a new installment in the Fletch film franchise) to be one of the year’s best comedies, but here we are. This adaptation of Gregory McDonald’s 1976 novel of the same name puts Jon Hamm in the role of Irwin Maurice Fletcher, and he’s perfect. Hamm skillfully portrays the quirky, yet astute, former investigative journalist of some repute, as he tries to prove his innocence after getting wrapped up in a murder.
While the eccentric “Fletch” is funny on his own, the supporting cast is downright perfect. From Kyle MacLachlan’s EDM-loving art dealer Ronald Horan to Annie Mumolo’s talkative and haphazardous Eve, everyone gets their comedic moment in the sun. And one could write a whole paper on the genius of Marcia Gay Harden’s turn as Contessa. Director Greg Mottola, who penned the script with Zev Borow, controls the chaos with ease and should be commended for reinvigorating this classic series. One can only hope this isn’t the last time we see Jon Hamm don that Lakers hat and solve another mystery as Fletch.
Where to stream Confess Fletch: Showtime
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4. The Banshees of Inisherin
Yes, The Banshees of Inisherin is one of the most depressing movies of the year. However, Martin McDonagh’s tale of two friends (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) includes a generous helping of humor. Some of it comes from Farrell’s dull, yet well-meaning, Pádraic, and Gleeson hilariously exudes the musically inclined Colm’s annoyance with his former friend’s inability to part ways with him. Kerry Condon also shines as Pádraic’s long-suffering sister, Siobhán. And Barry Keoghan gets the most laughs as the utterly uncouth (and absolutely tragic) Dominic.
Martin McDonagh walks a fine line here in order to craft his tragicomedy, and he somehow strikes a perfect balance. Sure, there are moments that’ll make you gasp and maybe even tear up but, rest assured, you’ll also have some great laughs while watching this. And be sure to appreciate the talents of the legend that is Jenny the donkey.
Where to stream The Banshees of Inisherin: HBO Max
This year marked a bit of history for the comedy genre and cinema overall, as it saw the release of Bros, the first gay rom-com from a big studio – which also just happens to feature a main cast comprised of LGBTQ+ actors. The movie stars Billy Eichner, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Nicolas Stoller, as an emotionally unavailable podcast host. The pundit ultimately has his first true brush with romance when he meets a fellow commitment-weary guy (Luke Macfarlane). The result is a classic rom-com with a lot of heart and more than a few laugh-out-loud sequences like one that ingeniously uses Debra Messing.
Seeing as this is produced by 40-Year-Old-Virgin and Knocked Up vet Judd Apatow, there’s plenty of raunchy humor, including some wild sex scenes. The script also utilizes Billy Eichner’s signature wit to great effect. One definitely shouldn’t lose sight of the historic aspect of this cinematic endeavor. But what’s incredibly satisfying here is that the film serves up an old-school story from a fresh perspective – all while (affectionately) taking the piss out of the gay community.
Where to stream Bros: Peacock
2. Everything Everywhere All At Once
Few probably knew just what to expect from Everything Everywhere All At Once, but Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s milestone-setting, multiversal mindtrip took the world by storm. It’s emotionally affecting and thought-provoking, and it’s also flat-out hoot. Evelyn Quan Wang (Michelle Yeoh) encounters a plethora of widely funny elements amid her universe-hopping hijinks, including a universe with hot dog-fingered people and the kitchen-savvy Raccacoonie. But even before all of that, Daniels’ craft funny moments between Evelyn and her family and Jamie Lee Curtis’ Deirdre Beaubeirdre. The droll and nihilistic demeanor of the big bad Jobu Tupaki also generates a lot of humor.
There are honestly moments in this movie that are so absurd that you just can’t help but cackle, and that’s part of its charm. Daniels and their gifted cast and crew have created something quite extraordinary with this feature, and you need to see. Yes, it’s action-heavy, but you’ll cry, you’ll cheer and of course, you’ll howl with laughter.
Where to stream Everything Everywhere All At Once: Showtime
1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion, the sequel to 2019’s critically acclaimed murder mystery Knives Out, was highly anticipated, and Rian Johnson did not disappoint at all! The writer/director weaved together another intricate mystery and it’s not just smart – it’s a riot. Daniel Craig is at the top of his game in his second outing as Benoit Blanc, adding more layers and hilarious quirks to the southern sleuth. But every single member of the supporting cast really comes to play, with big names like the reunited Kathryn Hahn and Kate Hudson as well as Edward Norton and Dave Bautista injecting scenes with loads of levity.
To put it simply, Rian Johnson just doesn’t miss when it comes to jokes, and he’s still one of the best at blending humor and social commentary. The man also knows how to write some truly memorable and uproarious lines. “Halle Berry!” and “What is reality?!” are going to live rent-free in folks’ heads for some time. His pop culture-infused script also includes some humorous macguffins that prove to be vital to the story. If it isn’t clear at this point, this is indeed the best comedy of the year. See it immediately, if not for the entertaining mystery then for the cavalcade of rapid-fire jokes.
Where to stream Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery: Will be available to stream on Netflix starting December 23
This was certainly a good year for comedy, and the 2023 new movie release schedule has some movies that are sure to leave viewers laughing. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Murder Mystery 2, Barbie and Cocaine Bear are only a few of the titles set to grace our screens. Let’s hope the next 12 months add even more strong entries to the genre.
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Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.