Putting aside all of the chunter about VPNs and rising subscription costs for a moment, there are more hidden gems to be discovered on Netflix UK than you might expect, and we’ve been combing through the streaming site’s current catalogue to find some of the most underappreciated comedies on offer.
We’ve come up with this fairly broad selection of films that varies on several fronts. We’ve picked out a mix of belly laughers and dark comedies, with a couple of dramedies thrown in for good measure. They’re not all big Hollywood comedies, but neither are they all films that you’re hearing about for the first time. What they all have in common is that whether they’re critically undervalued or just simply underseen, they all made us laugh and we reckon they’re worth a watch.
(We’ll keep this list updated as things arrive or leave the service to make sure you don’t run out of new things to try. Last update July 2019)
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka
Long before Scary Movie, White Chicks and Little Man came along, Keenen Ivory Wayans directed and starred in this affectionate blaxploitation parody, in which a hero must unite a band of other black heroes against the scourge of the gold chain market in his neighbourhood. It’s not as openly mocking of the style as the later Black Dynamite, but there are still obvious stuntmen and on-screen soundtrack accompaniments galore. We’ll take it like Damon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison’s hapless heavies keep taking the stairs – as quickly and painfully funny as possible.
Charlie is a rich kid who’s desperate to be popular, so he becomes the de facto psychiatrist at his new school, even going so far as to dole out prescription drugs to classmates in need. There’s a bittersweet quality to this one in the wake of Anton Yelchin’s tragic passing, but that’s all the more reason to see how great he is in this sharp teen comedy drama, in which the sparkling dialogue is both profound and profane. It’s more than a little bumpy in places, but it’s guided throughout by Yelchin’s charismatic lead performance, an against-type Robert Downey Jr and the radiant Kat Dennings.
Wet Hot American Summer
Here’s one that will inevitably have been taken up more after the Netflix Original series that followed it up, but if you still haven’t seen it, this summer camp comedy is essential nonsense. The likes of Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler play 16 year olds who live, love and plan for the all-important talent show on their last full day at Camp Firewood. The whole idea of adults playing teenagers was taken to illogical extremes, here and in last year’s follow-up series First Day Of Camp, which was a prequel with the original cast again playing 16. The only danger there was that Rudd and Banks apparently haven’t aged at all in the intervening 15 years, but it’s a good job they’re hilarious anyway.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
You may have all heard of this one, but you might feel entirely justified in not having given it a look yet. After a couple of films of questionable aeronautics, this sequel announces it’s going to be bananas from the very start when Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo all snorkel from Africa to Monte Carlo on their way back to the New York zoo. The Looney Tunes logic ramps up from there, resulting in the best and funniest of the Madagascar films, timed right alongside DreamWorks’ mini creative renaissance of recent years. Just don’t let your kids catch wind of the Circus Afro song or you’ll never hear the end of it.
Always Be My Maybe
Providing further proof that Netflix is a real safe haven for fans of romantic comedies, Always Be My Maybe arrived on the streaming service and made a real splash in the spring of 2019. Randall Park (The Dictator) plays the singer in a hilarious band, and Ali Wong (Tuca And Bertie) portrays a super-successful restauranteur. They both helped write the super-charming script (along with Michael Golamco), which paints the pair as old school friends that drifted apart instead of embracing their obvious feelings. Adult life forces them back together, and the chuckles come thick and fast. A surprising Keanu Reeves performance and some fun musical interludes provide the bells and whistles, but there’s also a proper heart at the core of this movie.
Eddie The Eagle
If you thought this was a farce about a rubbish ski jumper in the ‘80s you’d be dead wrong. In fact Dexter Fletcher’s loose comedy biopic of Eddie Edwards is deceptively uplifting, occasionally mildly terrifying (in the ski jump sequences) and very very funny. Egerton does a terrific job of portraying Edwards – not in fact a bad ski jumper, but a very good and very brave one from a poor background with none of the advantages he’d have needed to be a serious sporting success. Instead it’s Eddie’s dream just to get to the Winter Olympics in 1988 where he would become the first to represent Great Britain in ski jumping since 1928.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Based on the novel by Jenny Han, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a huge hit for Netflix when it landed in 2018. It was such a success, in fact, that it became one of the select few Netflix Original movies to get a sequel. Why was it so good? Well, the fantastic central turn from Lana Condor was a huge part of it, as was the fact that Noah Centineo became a beloved internet heartthrob off the back of his performance here. The uber-relatable themes of growing up and navigating awkward crushes didn’t hurt, either. While fans wait for the sequel, then, check this film out if you haven’t already.
Wait! No! Come back! Before you raise your eyebrows so far that they fall off the top of your forehead, allow us to make our case for recommending this straight-to-Netflix vehicle for Adam Sadler. With a stellar supporting cast that includes Jennifer Aniston, David Walliams, Luke Evans, Terence Stamp and Gemma Arteton, this is an Adam Sandler movie for people that have gone off Adam Sandler movies. Here, the Happy Gilmore star plays a truly naff cop that can’t crack a case to save his life. Anniston plays his wife, an obsessive reader of mystery novels, who fares a lot better when the pair find themselves on a yacht where blood keeps spilling. Perfect viewing for a lazy day at home, this is pure comfort food that packs in a lot of laughs.
The Fundamentals Of Caring
This unconventional indie comedy premiered at Sundance and is classic Sundance fare – lo-fi, sweet natured and gently funny. Paul Rudd plays a writer who takes a job as a carer for 18-year-old Trevor (Craig Roberts), a man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The two embark on a road trip to visit the world’s deepest pit meeting various outsiders on the way. It’s ruder and cheekier than it sounds, bolstered by excellent performances all round. Ignore the slightly mawkish title, this one’s definitely worth caring about.
The Breaker Upperers
This weird, brilliant New Zealand rom-com written by, directed by, and starring Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek deserves more love. The pair star as best friends who run an agency offering to break up with people’s partners for them. Exec produced by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, it’s packed with absurd humour including a very weird, very funny lap dance in a police station. This would appeal to fans of What We Do In The Shadows and Flight Of The Conchords and indeed Jemaine Clement has a cameo. It’s also a rather sweet movie about female friendship, underneath all the laughs.
Ok this is a bit of a nostalgia hit for us. It’s not wildly hilarious and it is kinda dated. But there’s still so much to be enjoyed about this coming-of-age comedy starring Lili Taylor, Annabeth Gish and Julia Roberts as girls who work in a pizza parlour and have various romantic dilemmas. It’s none more 80s (it came out in 1988) and marks the screen debut of Matt Damon as well as Roberts with some serious enormo-hair. If you’re in the mood for a girly John Hughes-esque night in, this should definitely scratch the itch.
Not underappreciated perhaps – since it’s fairly widely acknowledged that Martin McDonagh’s black crime comedy is brilliant – but perhaps underseen, if you haven’t checked out In Bruges, you must. A bittersweet story of two hitmen sent to the picturesque Belgian town after a job goes horribly wrong it’s a poignant twist on the buddy movie starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. Very sweary. Very funny. Might make you cry.