When I think of some of the funniest actresses, one who always comes to mind instantly is Jennifer Coolidge. While I didn’t know it as a child, Coolidge was honestly one of the foundations of my movie-loving self, because she was featured in several films that I loved back then and still love just as much now, and only as an adult have I come to adore how amazing she is in both comedic and dramatic roles.
From her time on some hilarious TV shows to my favorite movies, there are great projects that feature Jennifer Coolidge that I’m sure you (and I) would love to watch repeatedly. For the best Jennifer Coolidge movies and TV shows that are streaming right now, be sure to check out the picks down below.
The American Pie Films (1999-2012)
Arguably one of the best known comedy franchises in America (or maybe even the world) is American Pie, and that all started with the first back in 1999. The film is the story of four boys who made a pact, the ultimate one for all high schoolers everywhere - to lose their virginity before school ends for the year. However, things don’t go as planned.
The American Pie cast features so many amazing stars, from Jason Biggs to Tara Reid to Nataha Lyonne, but no one - and I mean no one - beats Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s Mom. Watching this movie, she is legit the definition of ‘MILF,’ and is straight-up one of the people I remember the most from this movie, because she was just so dang funny. Truly, one of her best comedic takes and I was so happy when she came back for the sequels later on.
Best In Show (2000)
Be prepared to see a few Christopher Guest films on this list, as Jennifer Coolidge was often featured in them. First off, we start with Best in Show, a mockumentary that shows the life of five dog trainers and their journey to get to a prestigious dog show.
Fun fact - a lot of the movie’s dialogue was actually improvised, but to be honest, with a cast like this, improvisation probably comes easy for these comedic legends. Not only did Jennifer Coolidge rock it in her role as Sheri Ann Cabot, she had plenty of other amazing co-stars that made this film that much funnier, such as the stars of the Schitt’s Creek cast, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, as well as Parker Posey, Larry Miller, Will Sasso, and so many more. It’s so funny.
The White Lotus (2021 - Present)
I cannot recommend The White Lotus enough. Originally billed as a miniseries for HBO, it's turned into an anthology series due to its success, The White Lotus tells three separate storylines of guests who travel to a resort in Hawaii, but even if everything looks perfect from the outside, you never quite know what’s going on behind closed doors.
Look, The White Lotus cast is amazing. It’s why they ended up winning the 2022 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. It won several other awards as well, but Jennifer Coolidge was the star of the first season and so damn funny, and in every scene she had, my eyes were fully focused on her. There’s a reason she won an Emmy for this role, and why she is one of only two people returning for Season 2 - because fans loved her and needed more quirkiness from Tanya. And, her dancing at the Emmys when she was played off was everything.
The Legally Blonde Films (2001-Present)
This is the one where Jennifer Coolidge became one of my favorites. Legally Blonde follows Elle Woods, a girl who wishes to attend Harvard Law School to prove to her ex-boyfriend that she can be serious and win him back, but along the way, she ends up finding out more about herself rather than trying to change for her ex.
Jennifer Coolidge in the Legally Blonde movies is me in every sense of the word. Awkward with men and adorable all the same, you can’t help but root for her whenever she wants to do something. I loved her as Paulette (she could be my nail lady any time), and seeing her in the sequel was just as good. I can’t wait to see what her character becomes in the third film - whenever that does come out.
The Secret Life Of The American Teenager (2008-2012)
Moving on to another television series, The Secret Life of the American Teenager mainly told the story of Amy, a high school girl who ends up getting pregnant at band camp and now has to face a huge change in her life while still in school.
While Jennifer Coolidge was never a main character on the show, she did appear in a recurring role as Betty, who was the ex-stepmother to Ben, and while she wasn’t as comedic in this role as she has been in many others, her part stands out amongst the many other recurring characters. She had moving speeches, memorable scenes, and moments that I can’t forget. It was a nice change of pace for the usually comedic actress, and showed she could be dramatic as well.
A Mighty Wind (2003)
Another Christopher Guest film, we take a look at A Mighty Wind. This is another mockumentary that tells the story of a folk music reunion concert, where for the first time in decades, three separate folk bands come together for a one-night experience for all fans to enjoy, but of course, things don’t go as planned.
Like in many Guest films, several other stars returned for roles, and Jennifer Coolidge was among them, portraying Amber Cole. It won’t be that much of a shocker when I say she was hilarious, as usual, and her chemistry with her co-stars is always perfectly done. You can’t help but love her in these roles.
A Cinderella Story (2004)
In this retelling of the classic fairytale, A Cinderella Story stars Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, and it follows a high schooler who ends up getting an internet pen pal. They decide to meet in person at a Halloween dance, but as with any Cinderella story, there is miscommunication that keeps this from being a quick happily ever after.
There have been so many reboots and remakes of the classic Cinderella story, but this version has always been one of my personal favorites, because Jennifer Coolidge portrays this movie’s version of the wicked stepmother. But she’s not “wicked” in the way you'd expect her to be. In my mind, Coolidge’s version is just so unhinged in the best way that I find myself holding my stomach in laughter every single time I see her.
For Your Consideration (2006)
The last Christopher Guest film on this list is For Your Consideration. However, this one isn’t a mockumentary like the last two and is instead just labelled as comedy, telling the story of actors who find out that the film they are working on – which has yet to be released – is getting a lot of awards buzz.
You guessed it, several of the stars from past Guest films returned, and Jennifer Coolidge is among them, with her playing Whitney Taylor Brown. As you would expect, she’s just hilarious in every way possible. There’s a reason why she always comes back for these roles and it’s because she really gets to show how funny she is. People who haven’t seen these movies? Please check them out. If Christopher Guest makes another film like this, please, bring her back.
2 Broke Girls (2012-2017)
The last TV series on this list, Jennifer Coolidge was actually a part of the main cast of 2 Broke Girls. The comedy series, featuring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, followed two young women from completely different backgrounds who both work in a diner and are trying to save up money to start their own business, running into hijinks along the way.
Jennifer Coolidge was only a recurring character in Season 1, but ended up being promoted to a main character for the rest of the show because of her hilarious character, Zofia Kaczynski, otherwise called “Sophie” in the show. Her chemistry with the rest of the cast was great, and it was awesome to see her in a main series role prior to The White Lotus.
If you’re looking for an animated film, check out Robots. This fun movie follows the story of Rodney Copperbottom, who looks to become an inventor in the world of robots, but when he gets the chance to meet his idol, he discovers that there’s a conspiracy within his company that threatens the entire existence of everyone in his city.
This movie is so fun and the cast is just outstanding, with the likes of Robin Williams, Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, and more leading the cast. But, by God, Jennifer Coolidge as Aunt Fanny was just the best pick ever. Her voiceover was absolutely perfect and created some hysterical moments and Fanny literally became an internet meme so everyone loved her just as much as I did. It was like the creators of the film just made Coolidge in animated form. I love her.
Promising Young Woman (2020)
Last but not least, we have the comedy-thriller, Promising Young Woman. In this critically-praised film, we follow a young woman who takes it upon herself to use her trauma from her past for good in order to get revenge on the people who made her life a living hell.
While it’s not as comedic as some of her other roles, Jennifer Coolidge’s portrayal of Susan Thomas was just as good, and showed she could balance both comedy and drama in the same film, a welcome change from her comedic entries of the past. The twist at the end of the film is everything, too. You have to watch it if you’ve never seen it before.
With so many amazing roles, it feels like an endless amount of films and shows you can watch that feature this amazing actress. I’ll go ahead and re-watch a ton as I wait for The White Lotus Season 2 to come out.
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Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!