(Photo by Warner Bros/ Everett Collection)
The action-comedy is one of the of the more playful, exciting genre hybrids out there, though it didn’t really come into shape until the 1980s, when buddy-cop films like Lethal Weapon and 48 Hrs. exploded onto the scene, along with Midnight Run, The Blues Brothers, and the rise of Jackie Chan. In Police Story, Drunken Master, and rest of his peak output, Chan is essentially a living, breathing homage to Buster Keaton, whose absurdly dangerous slapstick prowess powered the original action-comedy: 1926’s The General.
Chan and Chris Tucker revitalized the action-comedy formula for the ’90s with the Rush Hour movies. Though they’re fan favorites, the Rush Hour trio were not heavy hitters with critics, so they’ll be absent from this guide to the best-reviewed action-comedies ever, where we’re collecting the top 50 Certified Fresh movies of the genre. What that means is that you will see Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels represented. Lock, Stock was released the same year as Rush Hour and impressed critics and audiences alike by infusing the action-comedy with post-Tarantino grit and swagger.
Hot Fuzz, Tropic Thunder, Kung Fu Hustle, 21 Jump Street, and Bad Boys For Life are among many that have kept the genre going during the past 20 years. And though most superhero movies these days are humorous on some level, we’ll be highlighting the ones that really flex their comedic muscles, like The Suicide Squad and Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds seems molded for this wisecracking genre, wherein he has played the Merc With a Mouth and starred in Free Guy.
Now, see the 50 best-reviewed Certified Fresh action-comedies!
With this weekend’s War Dogs, Jonah Hill teams up with Miles Teller to tell the reality-inspired tale of two guys out to strike it rich as arms dealers. It’s just the latest in a series of eclectic roles for Hill, who made his name as a member of the Apatow comedy stable before branching out into more dramatic fare, and we’re here to celebrate it with a fond look back at some of the brightest critical highlights from his growing filmography. It’s time for Total Recall!
Years after they roomed together as young comics with showbiz dreams, Adam Sandler and writer/director/producer Judd Apatow reunited for 2009’s Funny People, which surrounded Sandler with a crowd of comedic talent that included multiple members of the Apatow stable — including Seth Rogen, who plays an aspiring comedian who lucks into a friendship with Sandler’s embittered superstar, and Hill, who plays Rogen’s roommate and a fellow veteran of the stand-up circuit whose own career ambitions end up getting tangled in the complicated relationship between Rogen and Sandler’s characters. The movie’s 146-minute length turned off a number of critics, but it was just right for Ben Lyons of At the Movies, who wrote that “Apatow has always found a balance of heart and humor in his best films, and Funny People is no exception.”
Hill and Russell Brand triggered a few laughs during their scenes together in Forgetting Sarah Marshall — so when it was decided that Brand would reprise his character in the Marshall spinoff Get Him to the Greek, it was only natural that the duo should be reunited. Here, Brand’s Aldous Snow must be shepherded to a crucial gig through a landmine of bad decisions and irresponsible behavior, with responsibility for his whereabouts falling to an increasingly overmatched label rep played by Hill. “The movie’s a good, rude commercial comedy,” argued the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips. “How many good movies have we even seen this year?”
Hill earned his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his work in The Wolf of Wall Street, a luridly over-the-top Martin Scorsese epic that uses the real-life exploits of disgraced stockbroker Jordan Belfort as the launchpad for a wild-eyed look at modern capitalism — and three hours of drug-fueled insanity. Always entertaining as part of a duo, Hill turns in some of his best work as a foil for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Belfort, playing the comparatively less unscrupulous part in a gonzo dramatization of one of Wall Street’s more infamous cautionary tales. “For three hours the movie operates at a ridiculous comedic pitch. You never forget you’re at the circus,” Wesley Morris wrote for Grantland. “You never lose sight of the lawlessness, the reckless pleasure, the sheer lunacy and lack of regulation.”
The 21st century has brought us no shortage of comedies about schlubby man-children, but Cyrus is something different. Rather than going broad and over-the-top with the story of an overgrown mama’s boy (Hill) who plants himself squarely between his mom (Marisa Tomei) and her well-meaning new suitor (John C. Reilly), writer-directors Jay and Mark Duplass gave their seemingly tired premise a fresh mumblecore spin, playing up the sphincter-tightening awkwardness of the situation and trusting their talented cast to imbue the characters with three-dimensional honesty. “I’ve seldom seen,” mused the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern, “a film in which three intelligent, articulate people make so many penetrating observations about themselves, and address their bizarre situation so directly, without providing, or indeed possessing, the slightest clue.”
We’ve seen plenty of movies about the end of civilization, but they’ve all focused on the apocalyptic problems of ordinary people while neglecting to imagine what those last few days on earth might be like for celebrities. Enter This Is the End, which imagines what it might be like if disaster struck Los Angeles while James Franco was hosting a house party. Featuring Hill, Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride — among plenty of others — playing fictionalized (and generally obnoxious) versions of themselves, it combines a fresh take on the apocalyptic comedy with the fun of watching movie stars make fun of themselves. As J.R. Jones argued for the Chicago Reader, “Their big joke is to literalize the Book of Revelations, but snaking around this is a biting contempt for the entertainment business, their own bad movies, and the social privilege these confer.”
A movie about a TV show that wasn’t exactly a classic in the first place has no business being awesome, and a buddy-cop picture doesn’t seem like the most natural environment for testing out Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s screen chemistry. All of which is pretty much exactly why the Jump Street franchise has had such a blockbuster time of it on the big screen: the duo’s easy banter, coupled with the freewheeling attitude of a pair of films that went meta on their medium in increasingly bonkers ways, added up to two critical and commercial hits. Whether we’ll ever get that rumored Jump Street/Men in Black crossover remains an open question, but for now, we’ve got the movies that moved the Atlantic’s Christopher Orr to write, “Self-referential irony is hardly a new gimmick, having served as the underlying premise for such franchises as Scream and Austin Powers, but rarely has it been indulged with such fervor.”
The Coen brothers have a terrific eye for talent and enough clout to hire just about any actor they see fit, so the opportunity to star in one of their films isn’t something many stars would take lightly — even if the role in question isn’t necessarily the biggest in the movie. For example, here’s Hail, Caesar!, a Coens spectacular that uses a bustling ensemble of famous faces (including George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, and — you guessed it — Jonah Hill) to tell the madcap tale of a doofus actor in ’50s Hollywood who gets himself kidnapped, spurring his studio to enlist the efforts of their in-house fixer (inspired by real-life movie biz legend Eddie Mannix) to secure his return. That description just scratches the surface of an old-school singing, dancing extravaganza that simultaneously celebrates and sends up old-school cinema; if the end result is a little unwieldy, most critics felt its deficiencies were far more than outweighed by its charms. “This,” opined Richard Roeper for the Chicago Sun-Times, “is one of my favorite movies ever made about making movies.”
A high school loss-of-virginity flick in the grand tradition of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and American Pie, Superbad teamed Hill and Michael Cera with newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse as desperately horny teens on a quest to secure booze for a house party. It may have been embarrassingly familiar, but screenwriter Seth Rogen and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg, nonetheless managed to squeeze fresh laughs (and plenty of ticket receipts) from it — not to mention kudos from critics like the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle, who wrote, “for pure laughs, for the experience of just sitting in a chair and breaking up every minute or so, Superbad is 2007’s most successful comedy.”
After making a brief appearance in Judd Apatow’s 40-Year-Old Virgin, Hill took on a more substantial role in the follow-up, Knocked Up, which paired rumpled slacker Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) with gorgeous E! Network employee Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) for a look at what can happen when you head to a club, have a few too many drinks, and don’t give a lot of thought to who comes home with you. (This is Hollywood, of course, so what ends up happening is everlasting love, but not before a lot of funnier, more unpleasant consequences.) An enormous box office success, Knocked Up offered Hill an opportunity to reel off a few funny lines, cemented Apatow’s standing as a purveyor of fine adult comedies, and earned the adoration of critics such as Stephanie Zacharek of Salon, who called it “Hilarious from moment to moment, but leaving behind both a warm glow and a sting. This is a picture that refuses to fetishize either the ability to conceive or the significance of our place in the universe once we’ve done so.”
As a (freakishly entertaining) by-the-numbers account of how the Oakland A’s used newly adapted metrics to turn conventional baseball wisdom on its head, Michael Lewis’ Moneyball seemed like one of the least cinematic bestsellers to have its film rights optioned by a major studio — and after directors David Frankel and Steven Soderbergh departed the project, it looked like it might be destined for the scrap heap. But with Bennett Miller behind the cameras and Hill demonstrating his Oscar-nominated dramatic chops opposite Brad Pitt — not to mention an Aaron Sorkin screenplay — it ended up being not only a six-time Academy Awards nominee, but a $110 million box office hit. “Baseball fans know this story,” admitted USA Today’s Claudia Puig, “but Miller puts it all in fascinating context. This is a thinking person’s baseball movie, a more complex version of the inspirational sports story.”
Comedies are hard to make and comedy sequels are even harder, when audiences have wised up to your jokes and expect bigger and better. Ben Stiller’s Zoolander 2, coming 15 years after the original, hopes to buck the trend this Friday. And it’s this latest romp down the catwalk inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery: the best and worst comedy part twos by Tomatometer!
The People’s Choice Awards opened the season of award shows on the evening of Jan 7th at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Check out the list below to find out who the fan favorites were in 2014.
22 Jump Street
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The LEGO Movie
The full list of nominees for the People’s Choice Awards 2015 was announced today by Anna Faris and Allison Janney at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles. The contenders were entirely chosen by fans, who cast over 70 million votes in the past few weeks.
Read through for the full list of movies and TV nominations, and don’t forget to visit the People’s Choice Awards website to help choose the winners.
How to Get Away with Murder
The Mysteries of Laura
NCIS: New Orleans
Red Band Society
Beauty and the Beast
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Once Upon a Time
The Vampire Diaries
Awards season is on, and with everything that is going on from December through February, it’s difficult to keep track of who is getting what. To help you with that, we created the Awards Leaderboard, a ranking of movies by the number of awards won and their respective categories. Read on to find out where your favorite movies stand, and who is leading the pack.
Ep. 078 – Mockingjay reviews, plus Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland
Grae Drake is back! She and Matt Atchity discuss their reactions to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, and Ryan Fujitani shares the critics’ take on the latest chapter of the blockbuster series. Next up, Ryan covers new DVD/Blu-ray releases 22 Jump Street and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Since TV Editor Sarah Ricard is on vacation, Beki Lane jumps in to discuss the debut of State of Affairs on NBC. In the last part of the show, Grae shares her interviews with Mockingjay stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer, and Sam Claflin.
Eric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale (98 percent), about a young man who runs into relationship trouble while vacationing Bretagne, France.
Housebound (95 percent), a horror comedy from New Zealand about a woman sentenced to house arrest in her mother’s home, which she claims is haunted.
Georgian import (the country, not the state) In Bloom (93 percent), about two 14-year-old friends coming of age in the newly independent Georgia during the early 1990s.
Alive Inside (72 percent), a documentary about the powerful effect of music on the human psyche.
Automata (33 percent), starring Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith in a sci-fi thriller about a “Robotics Insurance” agent tasked with investigating a robot that broke its protocol to protect human life.
Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes (18 percent), starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton in a romantic comedy about an old curmudgeon who learns to love life again, thanks to his neighbor and an estranged granddaughter.
One selection from the Criterion Collection arrives in a new Blu-ray transfer this week: Frank Capra’s Oscar-sweeping 1934 romantic comedy It Happened One Night (98 percent), starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable as a spoiled socialite runaway and the reporter hot on her trail.
And last, but certainly not least, there’s The Twilight Zone: 5th Dimension, a limited edition complete series set that includes both the original Rod Serling series of the 1960s and the 1980s series in one amazing DVD box set, which also includes a number of brand new featurettes and interviews, as well as tons of goodies available on previous releases. This is the first time both series have been offered in one set, so it’s a great pickup for anyone who loves The Twilight Zone.
Sony ruled the North American box office with a pair of popular comedy sequels, each connecting well with its target audience. The battle-of-the-sexes pic Think Like a Man Too featuring an ensemble cast including red hot star Kevin Hart opened in first place by a narrow margin with an estimated $30M. That was off 11% from the $33.6M debut of its predecessor from April 2012, but still a muscular start. The PG-13 film averaged a spectacular $13,483 from 2,225 locations.
The first pic was well-liked and the sequel brought back the cast and also offered something new and engaging with its story of a wedding weekend in Las Vegas. Just as before, females led the way and made up 63% of the audience (same ratio as last film). 59% were over 30. Reviews were mostly negative, but that is common for comedy sequels. Ticket buyers instead responded to the starpower, brand, and humor. They liked what they got given the A- CinemaScore. Too may not reach the $91.5M final gross of its predecessor, but the $24M-budgeted film should certainly end up being another moneymaker for Sony.
After a sparkling debut last week followed by healthy mid-week sales, the buddy cop sequel 22 Jump Street finished close behind in second place this weekend with an estimated $29M. Off 49% – a terrific hold for a sequel – the R-rated comedy has now banked an impressive $111.5M. Should it continue to enjoy this impressive playability driven by strong word-of-mouth, it could end up in the range of $190M. The next major adult comedy does not arrive until Melissa McCarthy unleashes Tammy on July 2.
Jump Street actually was number one on Saturday and Sunday but the hefty opening day Friday for Think Like A Man Too (which included Thursday pre-shows) was enough to give that film the weekend crown.
Despite no new kidpics opening, the DreamWorks Animation title How to Train Your Dragon 2 fell 49% in its second weekend to an estimated $25.3M pushing the cume to $95.2M thus far. Among summer sequels from the toon studio, the drop was more like 2011’s Kung Fu Panda 2 (-50%) than 2012’s Madagascar 3 (-44%). Last summer’s Pixar sequel Monsters University dropped 45% in June.
A domestic final of around $170M seems likely for the well-reviewed Fox release putting it near the $187.2M of the animation studio’s The Croods from last year. Competition has come from Disney’s fairy tale hit Maleficent which is roaring towards $200M and next weekend, the new Transformers will take away many older kids. The first Dragon was a sleeper hit and eased only 34% in its second weekend, though a hold like that was never expected for the new installment.
Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys opened in fourth to mild results attracting one of the oldest audiences in recent years with an estimated $13.5M from 2,905 locations for a $4,652 average. The R-rated adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical about 1960s music group The Four Seasons skewed female and much older. Studio research from Warner Bros. showed that women made up 61% of the crowd and a very high 71% were over the age of 50. Reviews were mixed and the gross was in line with what Eastwood usually sees in his first wide weekend. With an A- CinemaScore and an older target audience, Jersey may hold up moderately well in the weeks to come although keeping a national ad campaign going does not come cheap.
Angelina Jolie reached a new career high this weekend with her latest hit Maleficent which became her biggest global grosser ever for a live-action film. The Disney pic dipped only 30% in North America to an estimated $13M for a new total of $186M. A strong $20.3M opening weekend in China propelled the overseas total to $335.6M and the worldwide tally to $521.6M beating 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Her spy smash with Brad Pitt had been her top-grossing live-action film for the past nine years with $478M. Maleficent has higher ticket prices and 3D surcharges, though.
Tom Cruise is not making as much money with his latest action entry Edge of Tomorrow, however his well-liked sci-fi action pic is holding up well thanks to fan support. The pricey Warner Bros. release dropped 37% to an estimated $10.3M in its third lap pushing the sum up to $74.5M. It now has a good shot at joining the century club. That comes as good news for the actor who has not crossed $100M domestically in a lead role outside of his signature Mission: Impossible franchise in the nine years since 2005’s War of the Worlds.
Fox followed with a pair of hits. The romance The Fault In Our Stars dropped a moderate 42% to an estimated $8.6M for a new cume to date of $98.7M on the edge of being the summer’s latest $100M+ grosser. X-Men: Days of Future Past followed with an estimated $6.2M, down 37%, for $216.8M to date. It is the summer’s top-grossing film so far and now stands as the second highest grossing film in the seven-pic X-Men franchise. Look for Past to challenge the $234.4M of 2006’s The Last Stand.
Indie hit Chef collected an estimated $1.8M, dipping only 16%, with $16.9M to date for Open Road. Godzilla rounded out the top ten with an estimated $1.8M as well falling 45% in its sixth weekend. With $194.9M so far, the big-budget 3D monster movie is heading to a $200M finish although total tickets sold will still end up substantially lower than the 1998 Godzilla.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $139.6M which was down 39% from last year’s record June frame when Monsters University opened at number one with $82.4M; and off 8% from 2012 when Brave debuted on top with $66.3M.
In a battle of sequels, the R-rated action-comedy 22 Jump Street overpowered the animated family film How to Train Your Dragon 2 while last weekend’s champ The Fault in Our Stars went tumbling down the charts.
A little over two years since the original 21 Jump Street opened to $36.3M on its way to a $138M final gross, 2-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum returned to theaters this weekend with 22 Jump Street and hit a home run. The Sony release grossed an estimated $60M from 3,306 venues for a per screen average of $18,149. Critics have enjoyed this film as much as its predecessor (nearly identical Rotten Tomatoes scores of 85% for the original and 83% for the sequel) and audiences gave the film a solid A- Cinemascore. The $60M represents the highest R-rated opening in June beating 2012’s Ted and it’s the highest comedy opening in June taking down 1999’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. While both Hill and Tatum have said in recent interviews there will be no third film, I have to imagine Sony will be pushing for an end to this lucrative trilogy.
Settling for the runner-up spot was the DreamWorks animated sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 which opened to an estimated $50M, with a per screen average of $11,756. The original film opened in March of 2010 to a relatively soft $43.7M but had great legs and ended its run at $217M. With four years of price increases, the sequel was predicted to open a little higher than it did and could have a hard time reaching the heights of the original, at least domestically. It is the highest opening for a DreamWorks animated film since 2012’s Madagascar 3 which opened to $60M on its way to a final take of $216.4M.
Disney’s Maleficent fell 44% in its third go around to an estimated $19M, bringing its cume to $163M. It is the second highest live-action film for Angelina Jolie and should easily pass 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the next couple of weeks. Fellow A-lister Tom Cruise landed in fourth place with his latest sci-fi adventure Edge of Tomorrow which fell 44% in its second weekend to an estimated $16.1M, bringing its total to just under $57M. Last year’s Oblivion fell 52% in its second weekend and was at $65M before ending its run at $89M. Edge of Tomorrow is on pace to equal that total.
This weekend’s biggest drop comes courtesy of last weekend’s biggest film as Fox’s tearjerker The Fault In Our Stars tumbled 67% to $15M, according to estimates, bringing its cume to $81.7M. With so much anticipation from the built-in fan base, the drop was a little bigger than expected but still not a huge surprise. X-Men: Days of Future Past became the first 2014 summer release (and third film of the year overall) to crack the $200M barrier, taking in an estimated $9.5M and bringing its total to $206M.
Warner Brother’s monster hit Godzilla was in seventh place this weekend with an estimated $3M, bringing its total after five weeks to $191M. Universal’s western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West continued to crumble falling 58% in its third weekend to an estimated $3M, bringing its total to a disappointing $39M. How quickly before Seth MacFarlane gets Ted 2 out? Oh wait, it’s already scheduled for next summer, where I’m sure he hopes people will have forgotten about his sheep farmer. Fellow Universal comedy stablemate Neighbors ended in ninth place with an estimated $2.5M bringing its total to a robust $143M after six weeks. And rounding out the top 10 was indie darling Chef which dropped 13% from last weekend to an estimated $2.3M, bringing its total to $14M.
The top 10 grossed $181.4M which was down 6% from 2013 when Man of Steel destroyed the box office with $116.6M; and up a remarkable 50% from 2012 when Madagascar 3 held on to the top spot in its second weekend with $34M.
Channing Tatum owes Grae Drake 100 dollars. And she intends to collect.
Ep. 020 – New Movies, David Krumholtz, Simon Helberg & Jocelyn Towne
Team Tomato shares the critics’ consensus on new movies 22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2 and new DVD/Blu-rays Non-Stop, Jack Ryan and True Detective. This episode also features an interview with David Krumholtz for The Big Ask and another interview with Jocelyn Towne and Simon Helberg for I Am I.