Best Comedy Movies 2021

The biggest box office hit of the top 10 comedies of 2021 was Zola, which pulled in a whopping $5 million. In other words, unless they came disguised as an action flick or animated movie, comedies were not a huge priority for the major studios last year. The best ones we got were smaller titles that might have been a little more difficult for the average moviegoer to track down, like the decidedly lo-fi Language Lessons, which takes place entirely as a series of conversations on computer screens. To further illustrate the point, the top comedy of the year was Shiva Baby, which centers on a college student trying to avoid a bevy of uncomfortable situations at a Jewish funeral service. So yes, not exactly “blockbuster event” material, but these gems prove you can score laughs without the aid of a gun-toting smartass raccoon.

The order reflects Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2021) after adjustment from our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows.

#1

Shiva Baby (2020)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104436%
Critics Consensus: A ruefully funny calling card for debuting director Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby transcends its sitcom setup with strong performances and satisfying insights.
Synopsis: While at a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student has an awkward encounter with her sugar daddy... [More]
Directed By: Emma Seligman

#2

Language Lessons (2021)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 99475%
Critics Consensus: Language Lessons extols the value of friendship with a simple story rendered all the more effective by its pure spirit and the chemistry between its leads.
Synopsis: When Adam's (Mark Duplass) husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons, he's unsure about where or how this new element... [More]
Directed By: Natalie Morales

#3

The Paper Tigers (2020)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100672%
Critics Consensus: The Paper Tigers blends action, comedy, and heart to produce a fresh martial arts movie with plenty of throwback charm.
Synopsis: Three martial artists--notorious in their prime as "the three tigers"--have grown into middle-aged men one kick from a pulled muscle.... [More]
Directed By: Quoc Bao Tran

#4

Plan B (2021)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 98034%
Critics Consensus: Plan B doesn't overplay its timely message -- and it doesn't have to, thanks to a sharp, funny script and the sparkling chemistry between its charming stars.
Synopsis: After a regrettable sexual encounter, a straight-laced student and her best friend have 24 hours to hunt down a Plan... [More]
Directed By: Natalie Morales

#5

Zola (2020)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 100345%
Critics Consensus: Zola captures the stranger-than-fiction appeal of the viral Twitter thread that inspired it -- and announces director/co-writer Janicza Bravo as a filmmaker to watch.
Synopsis: "Y'all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It's kind of long but full... [More]
Directed By: Janicza Bravo

#6

Limbo (2020)
93%

#6
Adjusted Score: 98065%
Critics Consensus: A profoundly uplifting portrait of the refugee experience, Limbo is distinguished by its offbeat tone -- and overall impressive work from debuting director Ben Sharrock.
Synopsis: Recently nominated for two BAFTA® awards for Best British Film and Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer,... [More]
Directed By: Ben Sharrock

#7

El Planeta (2021)
95%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96388%
Critics Consensus: El Planeta taps into real-life economic anxiety to present a darkly humorous glimpse of life spent teetering on the edge of financial ruin.
Synopsis: Amidst the devastation of post-crisis Spain, a mother and daughter bluff and grift to keep up the lifestyle they think... [More]
Directed By: Amalia Ulman

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 96092%
Critics Consensus: A claustrophobic masterclass in comedy and introspection, Inside is a beautifully bleak, hilariously hopeful special from Bo Burnham.
Synopsis: A new comedy special shot and performed by Bo Burnham, alone, over the course of the past year.... [More]
Starring: Bo Burnham
Directed By: Bo Burnham

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 97621%
Critics Consensus: Together Together explores love and parenthood from unexpected angles, capturing a broad spectrum of emotions through Patti Harrison and Ed Helms' starring performances.
Synopsis: When young loner Anna is hired as the gestational surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s who wants... [More]
Directed By: Nikole Beckwith

#10

Baby Done (2020)
93%

#10
Adjusted Score: 93391%
Critics Consensus: A lightly humorous look at impending parenthood, Baby Done finds laughs -- and moments of genuine honesty -- in a life-altering event.
Synopsis: When Zoe (Rose Matafeo) and Tim (Matthew Lewis) find out they are having a baby, they resolve to not let... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Vowell

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