Looking Back: Ethan Picks the Six Most Hilarious Comedies of 2012

December 26, 2012


Along with the horror movies of the world, most comedies seem to go overlooked when awards seasons comes around. Even though Judd Apatow tries to make his comedies nearly the same length as some Oscar contenders, even his more heartfelt and grounded comedies end up getting ignored. Therefore, we'd like to take this time honor some of the best comedies with my picks for the six most hilarious comedies of 2012. In case it hasn't become clear over these year-end proceedings, these are my personal picks. Since comedy is one of the most subjective art forms, there's likely to be opposition. But that's all part of the fun.

Without any further delay, let's get right into naming my favorite six comedies from 2012, starting with…

#6. The Watch

The Watch

With a dismal 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, I'm sure to be in the minority on this one, but this sci-fi comedy just worked for me. Directed by Hot Rod helmer Akiva Shaffer (complete with a quick cameo from the other Lonely Island crew members Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone), this was a simple idea that was executed with a lot of laughs. Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill,  Ben Stiller and Richard Ayoade take on a neighborhood watch group and encounter a deadly alien threat.  The chemistry between Vaughn and Hill by itself is enough hilarity for anyone, but I laughed consistently throughout this whole movie, and I'm not sure why it got such a bad wrap earlier this year.

#5. Bernie


Jack Black is already getting some awards attention for his performance in this film (sadly that will probably be the only awards love for Bernie), and for damn good reason. The new film from Richard Linklater is easily the best thing Black has done in a few years, and the dark comedy flare makes it that much better. Black essentially disappears into this role of a kindhearted, well-loved local mortician who strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow (Shirley MacLaine). But when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she's alive while enjoying her fortune. What makes this film truly unique is the use of amusing talking heads to tell parts of the story by the real people who witnessed this shockingly true story. Oh, and this should be the Matthew McConaughey performance everyone is talking about instead of Magic Mike. It's now available on Netflix Instant.

#4. Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

Despite the presence of Anna Kendrick, this just felt like a film that was capitalizing on the popularity of "Glee." Using acapella groups to allow for the presence of music throughout the film, it just seemed like weak sauce. Surprisingly enough, Pitch Perfect delivered some of the biggest laughs of the year thanks to Rebel Wilson (a scene stealer along the lines of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids), a truly witty script by "30 Rock" producer and writer Kay Cannon and a fine feature film directing debut by TV helmer Jason Moore. Thankfully, the soundtrack doesn't just exploit chart-topping hits from today, and despite having a familiar romance, the film feels fresh and hilarious.

#3. Ted


Though people have resorted to rolling their eyes at Seth MacFarlane (I'm still a "Family Guy" fan and can't wait to see him host the Oscars next year), the animation and voice master's debut as a feature film star and director really made a splash this summer. With Mark Wahlberg proving his impressive comedic chops even more, this film about a man and his living childhood teddy bear isn't just a raunchy comedy, but it has the heart of a truly touching family film. In addition, there's only a few "Family Guy" style jokes (not unexpected) that allow MacFarlane to tell a story that lasts longer than 22-minutes. Plus, you'd be hard pressed to find a funnier scene than Giovanni Ribisi creepily dancing in front of his TV.

#2. Sleepwalk with Me

Sleepwalk with Me

Comedian Mike Birbiglia is the third person on this list to make their feature directorial debut. Even more surprising is Sleepwalk with Me takes the traditional comedian route by utilizing a story that pulls from Birbiglia's stand-up act and real-life personal problems with sleepwalking. Most of the time, that happens on TV with a relative amount of success, but it's much harder in the feature film world. That's why this flick went the indie route with producer Ira Glass ("This American Life") in tow and ended up wowing audiences at Sundance. With flares of Wayne's World, "Seinfeld" and Woody Allen, Mike Birbiglia delivers a film that is not only charming, but absolutely hilarious. It's now available on Netflix Instant.

#1. 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street

After making my list of the six surprisingly great films of 2012 last week, it shouldn't be surprising that this is my favorite comedy of the year (it will likely be on my Best Films of 2012 list coming later this week as well). Speaking as someone who couldn't stand Channing Tatum before this film, his teaming with Jonah Hill made for one of my favorite duos of the year and an unlikely comedy home run. Throw in a supporting cast that includes Ice Cube, Rob Riggle, Dave Franco, Brie Larson, Nick Offerman and one of the best cameos of the year (we won't spoil it), and 21 Jump Street was more than a surprise on the big screen. Frankly, we can't wait for the developing sequel.

So there you have it. Those are my picks the big laughs from 2012. Stay tuned for the end of our year-end look back at 2012 with lists for the best movies of the year from myself, Jeremy Kirk and Ben Pearson tomorrow and Friday. As we said earlier, comedy is easily one of the most subjective art forms, so if you disagree with any of the choices above, feel free to sound off below and tell us what some of your favorite comedies of the year were. Meanwhile, we'll just hope the abysmal Parental Guidance with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler didn't make the cut at the last minute. That would be the opposite of a Christmas miracle.

Find more posts: Editorial, Feat



No Klown? No other comedy this year has been more hilarious and pushed more boundaries.

Fred on Dec 26, 2012


Sadly, I have not seen Klown, but I've heard it's fantastic and sounds right up my alley.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 26, 2012


All these movies sucked donkey dick. What terrible taste.

nem on Dec 26, 2012


By all means, tell us what your favorite comedies of the year. It'd be a lot more valuable and respectable than what you just offered.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 26, 2012


Ths year was completely lackng n comedy. Sad to say but nem you're rght. Plus the above features are pretty lame. Number 4 probably z the only watch worthy one.

Heddwyn on Dec 26, 2012


Ethan don't worry about the Trolls. I agree on the ones I've seen. Maybe if the places would be a bit different. Need to see the Watch and maybe push trough my Glee hate and watch Pitch Perfect

Norbert P. Korzus on Dec 27, 2012


1. Seven Psychopaths 2. Moonrise Kingdom 3. Safety Not Guaranteed 4. Ruby Sparks 5. Goon 6. God Bless America

nem on Dec 27, 2012


Seven Psychopaths almost made the list, but I'm a fan of Akiva Shaffer as a director. As for most of the other choices (with the exception of Goon), I think it's hard to call those straight up comedies, but that's where we have to start breaking down genre definition. But those are all films I really liked this year.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 27, 2012


Aside from Ted and 21 jump street, you pretty much scraped the bottom of the barrel. Thanks for wasting my time with your link bait. xoxo

Baphomitt on Dec 28, 2012


It's Ethan. it's all I expect from him. Way too many 21 lovers here. Skinny Jonah is the same lame typecasted fat Jonah.

tra la la la la di da on Dec 29, 2012


Ethan, you are a classy guy. I appreciate that you always react to incendiary comments with poise and respect. Just wanted to let you know that I notice.

limbiclimbo on Dec 29, 2012


#2 is a good choice, though I wouldn't call it hilarious. The major reason it struck a chord with me had less to do with its humor and more to do with its poignancy. So if this is strictly a "funniest comedy" list, I'd probably leave it off. "Best comedy list?" Probably number one for me, as far as 2012 goes.

mandawg on Dec 27, 2012


Did I see the same TED as everyone else? Friends told me it was hilarious. Critics (generally) liked it. I thought it was awful. And I was in a great mood, ready to laugh. It was painfully unfunny to me.

mandawg on Dec 26, 2012


Well, It was fucking hilarious. nuff said

Adam Lubicz on Dec 27, 2012


I'm asking myself the same question with 21 Jump Street. It was straight up unfunny, and Tatum just might be the worst actor in Hollywood.

Efterklang on Dec 27, 2012


I found 21 Jump Street to be more tolerable, but I think a lot of the hyperbole attached to it is kind of ridiculous. All Move Guide gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Really? I thought it was watchable but not at all incredible. Like Heddwyn mentioned, this was just a lackluster year for comedies in general.

mandawg on Dec 27, 2012


Bernie was good. The Watch was awful, I'd personally put the campaign before it.

Guy who comments on things on Dec 26, 2012


Yes! Bernie was good and, unlike most of the comedies from 2012, actually laugh-out-loud funny at times.

mandawg on Dec 27, 2012


Meh to all of them....

ff on Dec 26, 2012


I dont see The Color Wheel on that list.

Chris on Dec 26, 2012


Richard Ayoade was the only part of The Watch that actually made me laugh. He needs to be in more movies. Ben Stiller continues to play... well, Ben Stiller. As for Bernie, I thought it was a great character piece and gave back Jack Black some respect as an actor... but I did not laugh out loud nor giggle anytime during this movie, despite enjoying it. Perhaps I have no sense of humor? I laughed a couple of times in Ted and 21 Jump St. I don't think comedy movies are pushing the boundaries much anymore or are perhaps just catering to dull suburbanites who enjoy family fun sitcoms on TV. I dunno, I guess I'm saying we can do better than this, right?

syntaxterror on Dec 26, 2012


Also gotta add that I've yet to watch This is 40 but that will most likely be MY comedy movie of the year if precedence has anything to say about it

syntaxterror on Dec 26, 2012


21 Jump Street was hysterical! Ice Cube was perfect in it and Jonah and Channing were incredible together. Too much hate on here.

Skyler B on Dec 26, 2012


Seriously though man, I know youre tired of people trolling on your threads, but step it up, this list is pure shit, I know this is an opinion piece, but this is supposed to be a film site, not fucking entertainment tonight, you clearly have zero respect for good movies, mind you sleepwalk with me and bernie were both great choices, 21 jump street isint horrible, but everything else, god damn dude, wtf were you on when you saw those movies that made you possibly laugh

Hazedmind on Dec 27, 2012


Not to mention you made the list a top six when it could of been a top five meaning you went out of your way to include The Watch, thats even more trollish than 100% of the negative comments you receive on your threads

Hazedmind on Dec 27, 2012


Again, I've yet to hear what other comedies you would put on your list. Don't just say "this list is pure shit" and then not back it up with your own opinion. Time for you to step it up.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 27, 2012


It's not even about what comedies I would put on this list, it's the fact that you made a list entitled the 6 most hilarious comedies in a year consisting of pretty much zero hilarious comedies, in my opinion Django Unchained was the funniest movie of the year, and it's not a full on comedy, why would you make an end of the year comedy list when there is close too no selection to choose from, naturally I was curious when I saw the thread, dosen't mean I'm gonna not share my opinion just because it's negative, and don't give me that shit about don't visit the site if you don't like it, you guys post up to date trailers and info on all the movies I like, but it dosen't change the fact that my opinion is that you guys pretty much all have shit opinions

Hazedmind on Dec 27, 2012


If you had an ounce of maturity or tolerance about you, you would understand that there is no such thing as a "shit opinion", only ones that differ from your own. I'm sure there are many other factors contributing to the way you see/ live your life which people from Iran or say Egypt might not agree with, doesn't mean they are 'shit'. People who believe their opinion is correct and others' are shit are the same people that are responsible for Holy Wars, honor killings and let's not forget the holocaust. Go away Adolf.

Guy who comments on things on Dec 29, 2012


"This list is pure shit" ... proceeds to agree that half of the list were good choices.

Chazzy on Dec 27, 2012


I sure found 21 Jump Street funny. Good #1 pick.

Isildur_of_Numenor on Dec 27, 2012


What about The Dictator. Sacha Baron Cohen is so funny in that film.

Nadir Ahmed on Dec 27, 2012


1. ParaNorman 2. Seven Psychopaths 3. Django Unchained (not technically a comedy, but its comedic moments made the movie funnier than most comedies this year) 4. Wreck-It Ralph 5. The Cabin in the Woods 6. Ted

Tykittaa on Dec 28, 2012

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