December 4, 2009

MRQE Ranks: 50 Best Comedies of the 2000s

This week we celebrate the best comedies of the decade. Those quirky, raunchy, off-beat, off-the-wall, sometimes borderline offensive, but often times right on target comedies that have come to re-define the genre. Not to fret; no spoof movies made the cut. These are the best that the decade had to offer: from the works of the so-called "frat pack" and the cult of Judd Apatow and Greg Mottola, to the dry wits of Wes Anderson and Charlie Kaufman. Below we'll highlight a few movies that made the cut. Be sure to click over to see the rest of our list. Did your favorite make the cut?

#50. Zoolander (2001)

Through Ben Stiller's zany character Derek Zoolander, we get a glimpse into the life of the male model. While it's box office was hurt due to it opening a few weekends after the September 11th terrorist attacks, the flick found a huge cult following upon its release on DVD, and its many airings on cable TV. Zoolander was the first of many "frat pack" movies, featuring appearances by Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaughn.

#37. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite made it look easy: take a film made for $400,000, add a few quirky characters and witty one-liners, mix in a hard-to-forget dance scene, throw the film into Sundance, and watch as it rakes in $44.5 million. While Jon Heder hasn't found much success since, he can certainly rest easy knowing that he left a lasting impact on pop culture. After all, in 2004 we would have much rather voted for Pedro instead of the other candidates.

#16. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

The 40 Year Old Virgin is one of those movies that just gets better upon each viewing; something that's common with many of Judd Apatow comedies. The film catapulted the career of both its director (Apatow), its star (Steve Carrell), and frankly the rest of its cast (Paul Rudd, and Seth Rogen) for that matter. Carrell's somewhat nerdy character, Andy Spitzer, hit a chord with both critics and audiences alike--the type of character that guys can relate to, and that girls want to root for. Much of 40 Year Old Virgin's quotable dialogue was improvised by the cast. Plus, who can forget the hilarious Hair parody at the end of the film, with the entire cast singing "The Age of Aquarius?" Apatow's first feature film led him to his bigger success, Knocked Up.

#10. Shaun of the Dead (2005)

A brilliant spoof of zombie movies, particularly those by George A. Romero, Shaun of the Dead follows Shaun (Simon Pegg), a reluctant hero caught in the middle of a zombie invasion. The flick's success catapulted Pegg, co-writer Edgar Wright, and co-star Nick Frost to the mainstream, with the film making a number of top ten lists. Romero was so impressed with Shaun of the Dead, that he asked Pegg and Wright to appear in his 2005 film, Land of the Dead (they appeared as zombies). Pegg, Wright, and Frost went on to send up the "buddy cop action flick" genre with Hot Fuzz (another movie that made our list).

#2. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

The dry wit of Wes Anderson is very understated, but his use of colors is what makes his works stand out; and, we're not just talking visual imagery. Colorful characters always dot his scripts, and there are no more colorful characters than those in The Royal Tenenbaums. The film follows three gifted siblings, as we see their great successes in youth, and their utter failures later in their life, as a result of their father (Gene Hackman) leaving. The film stars a few Anderson regulars including the Wilson brothers and Bill Murray. The film also inspired the Fox show Arrested Development.

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