25 Best R-Rated Comedy Movies of All Time

Comedy movies are the opium of the masses. They indubitably cater to the largest number of moviegoers, irrespective of their tastes. These movies are for everyone, no one really can repudiate a good laugh and fun-filled entertainment. With the rise of comedy stalwarts like Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Sacha Baron-Cohen, Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell, and Amy Schumer among others, there has been an introduction of comedy with an adult centric focus group in the genre.

The Rating agencies have been sentient to the uprising of these films and have promptly R-Rated them, while the audiences increasingly displayed trends of lapping them up every time a good one hit theaters. Most of these films satirize and at times juxtapose everyday life situations that adults all over the world face, while some may simply be poking a good dose of fun at a particular aspect or facet of life, the system, the government, relationships and marriages, and on and on. The syncretism of the comedy genre with almost all other genres including romance, drama, action, and even horror has produced some of the most enjoyable movies ever made. Likewise, the following list consists of some of the best adult comedies for you to watch and have a raunchy, hearty laugh. You can watch several of these top R-rated comedy movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

25. Due Date (2010)

What works here more than anything; the script, the jokes, the situations, even the sharp dialogue is the pairing of Robert Downey Jr. opposite Zach Galifianakis, one of the most eccentric ones in years. It’s an instant recipe for explosion when you pit one of the most charismatic stars in recent times with an actor who rose to garner international acclaim playing Alan from The Hangover trilogy. The result is sheer frustration on Downey’s part and more buffoonery on Galifianaki’s part, and the movie mines some well-earned laughs, even though they are fewer and somewhat apart. Although I agree that the plot of a road trip involving completely opposite characters is very similar to ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ which is much higher on the list, if you are just looking to have a good laugh over an unusual pairing, this is not a bad way to spend two hours.

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24. Ted (2012)

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‘Ted’ probably has the simplest, most linear story among all the films in this lot, even uninspired at points, and that is saying a lot in a list comprising only of comedy movies. However, all of that matters seldom during its entire runtime as you see a talking Teddy Bear swear, smoke pot, have sex and be irreverent and cacophonous to everybody on a daily basis. The plot is simple: a child’s wish of having his teddy bear come to life is fulfilled, and problems arise when they are all grown up. Now, he must choose between being a regular adult with responsibilities and a mature relationship, and to hanging out with his childhood buddy. The ending is contrived too, but Seth MacFarlane’s incredible voice acting talents lent to Ted, and Mark Wahlberg end up working greatly in the favour of the film, that rises a tad above mediocre owing to the presence of these two, a few funny but sharp one liners, and a ton of 80s references.

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23. This is the End (2013)

James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride among a host of other actors, all playing themselves, are stuck inside Franco’s house and the apocalypse is upon them. The potential with this film was huge, and while I admit at the outset that I’m mostly put off by the Rogen-Apatow kind of humour, this film managed to make me laugh in quite a few instances. However, that is the absolute least one could expect from a film starring virtually everybody who has ever stepped foot in the American comedy business. It is, at a lot of times singularly unfunny, and unnecessarily crude. Among all of that, it is the outrageous idea and the almost infallible assembly that keep the film going.

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22. Spy (2015)

‘Spy’ marked the third consecutive collaboration between Melissa McCarthy, and Paul Feig following ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘The Heat’. There have recently been a wave of films spoofing the spy genre and the Bond films of yore, reaching its apex with ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’. ‘Spy’ is not as great, but it is ridiculously funny in the bits where it tries hard enough to be. Besides, McCarthy as the desk agent thrown into a field job is a ripe enough premise as it is, and only because of McCarthy. I also confess that the film would only have been half as funny as it was sans Jason Statham, who is in top form mocking virtually every action hero ever, including himself. The occasional fat shaming and misogyny notwithstanding, this is a fun fare with some incredibly funny over the top physical humour.

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21. We’re the Millers (2013)

‘We’re the Millers’ is that raunchy R-Rated comedy you catch on a boring weekend, and it just livens up things a tad bit. We all know the premise behind the film: a pot dealer putting together a ‘fake’ family to move a shipment of drugs from Mexico to the USA. Naturally, the funniest bits in the film are when the Millers are faced with your average American family problems, and how the mismatched quartet of a strip dancer, pot dealer, a homeless girl and a harmless guy come together to find their way out of it. That being said, you won’t remember it either after a week or so of viewing it. It is that kind of instantly forgettable, but entertaining in the moment cinema that seems to be the tagline of every other half decent modern blockbuster.

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20. Wedding Crashers (2005)

‘Wedding Crashers’ isn’t exactly Oscar material; neither does it need to be, and it knows that. In fact, the only moments the film actually faces an occasional hiccup is when it starts focussing on the story. Other than that, when the leads are being their usual selves, and the jokes come at you at lightning speed, the movie is a breeze-by, mostly, even if roughly half the jokes make you chuckle in your seat. The story focusses on two lawyers with a cynical attitude towards marriage and commitment in general who continue to crash weddings to take advantage of the fervour in the air, and get to sleep with women for a one night stand. This changes when both of them eventually crash a high profile wedding and fall in love. It’s a good thing then that their love interests are played by Rachel McAdams and Isla Fisher, who prevent their characters from being perceived as completely one dimensional. The film however, belongs to the chemistry between its charming leads Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, whose duo is a rare find and works aces in the film’s favour.

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19. Bridesmaids (2011)

Next on my list is Paul Feig’s ‘Bridesmaids’. The plot centres on Annie (Wiig), who suffers a series of misfortunes after being asked to serve as maid of honour for her best friend, Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph. The blistering supporting cast includes names like Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Chris O’Dowd and Rebel Wilson. The film was nominated for tow Academy Awards, proving its transcendence from a mere comedy film to a complete and well-planned feature. McCarthy received considerable praise for her performance and also had an academy nomination. It brought her in the limelight and her chemistry with Kristen Wiig was much praised.

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18. The Dictator (2012)

I suggest you steer clear of ‘The Dictator’ if you are easily offended or aren’t more ‘liberal’ on the jokes front, because ‘The Dictator’ will make every effort in its power to offend you. There is virtually no political outlook, religion, community, race, sexuality or even whole countries that haven’t been mocked, spoofed or satirised by Sacha Baron-Cohen, and ‘The Dictator’, following in the footsteps of Borat and Bruno does just the same. I indeed am guilty, as is half the globe, of laughing out loud on a lot of the jokes in there. Sacha Baron-Cohen has by now mastered playing the naïve non-American who finds himself far from home in the most ‘American’ situations possible. Here, he does most of what he does out of sheer audacity rather than naivety despite governments hating him, and for that, in my opinion, the comedian in him has my respect.

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17. American Pie (1999)

This movie is a favourite among teenagers, and men of all ages. It is one of the most readily recognized films of all time, and has seen four successful sequels as well. The film follows a bunch of college students, and their tryst with getting the perfect hook-up. The film has achieved cult status and has regularly been cited in modern culture. The one character that has been incessantly referenced in films and television today has been Stifler and his mom. The actors have achieved global stardom owing to the series, and have credited the film for the boost in their career. The unsuccessful sex scenes (sigh) and use of adult terms sees it getting R-Rated.

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16. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle (2004)

Like most comedies of error, this one too starts out with our protagonists desiring something innately simple, something that shouldn’t be too hard to acquire under normal circumstances. Since the film is what it is, it throws every curve ball there is in the way of two stoner friends from getting a burger at the White Castle burger joint in a serious case of the munchies. John Cho and Kal Penn are as eccentric a pairing as can be and the chemistry between the leads, plus the hugely varying reactions these two have whenever something goes wrong (and a lot of it does) is absolute comedic gold. Naturally, none of the two sequels that turned Harold and Kumar into a legit franchise were as funny, albeit being marginally funny and entertaining. It is here where it all started.

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15. 21 Jump Street (2012)

One of the very few actors I currently bank upon to steal the limelight from a hunky Hollywood heartthrob, despite themselves being quite the contrary, is Jonah Hill, and all that is on account of sheer hilarity and misplaced self confidence in their character. Channing Tatum is not too far behind either as the unintelligent jock, and together the duo have a naturally rewarding chemistry that is what makes buddy cop films all the rage they are. The plot is simple, two underachieving cops on park ranger duty are sent undercover at a high school to bring down a possible drug ring and its operations. Their efforts to blend in with the opposite category of kids, the camaraderie of the leads, and how they spectacularly fail often despite that are parts that mine the most laughs. Especially funny is the scene where the duo unwillingly ingest the synthetic drug and start tripping. Had me on the floor.

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14. Horrible Bosses (2011)

Let’s face it: everyone who has ever worked in an even slightly exploitative work environment at an office would have, at some point, dreamt of killing their boss or superior, and if it’s otherwise, you’re just kidding yourself. Doesn’t matter that your boss may actually be a sweetheart and not as exploitative as the ones shown in this film, it’s just the employee-employer relationship that is such. While most of us dismissed it as ridiculous, this film’s premise centres on three friends who didn’t, and actually planned their bosses’ murders. No points for guessing that it doesn’t go as planned.

The film is one of the funniest R-Rated comedies of recent times, at a time when I had squarely given up on hopes that there could be a decently ‘written’ one, rather than a decently performed one, and this film is both. ‘Horrible Bosses’ also works because of its terrific ensemble. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as the disgruntled employees have terrific repartee together, and Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and an unrecognisable Colin Farrell are outrageously funny as bosses who are straight up a-holes. It would of course be criminal to forget Jamie Foxx as motherf*cker Jones. A name like that should alone make the movie warrant a watch for you. It’s crude, it’s irreverent, and above all, it is funny as hell.

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13. Tropic Thunder (2008)

‘Tropic Thunder’ should be hailed as an achievement in itself for bringing Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise, Jason Bateman, Nick Nolte and Bill Hader under the same credits window, even if they may not share the same frame within the movie. The film satirizes everything including Hollywood, every war movie that was made as an academy contender, every method actor and the functioning of the industry in general. The performances of Tom Cruise (who is uproariously funny in an extended cameo) and especially that of Downey as a Hollywood method actor who takes his job too seriously in hopes of winning the golden lady are highlights of the film. I wasn’t personally offended by the Black Downey jab, meant to portray him as African American, since most of what he said straight faced with that afro made me burst into instant laughter. The rest of the cast including Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Brandon Jackson and Steve Coogan among others get a piece of the cake, and their own lines to shine in a heavy ensemble of A-listers.

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12. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

The infallible trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost responsible for the funniest British trilogy in years, The Cornetto Trilogy, started it off in 2004 with ‘Shaun of the Dead’, an obvious take on the zombie flick ‘Dawn of the Dead’. As a movie viewer, I am more aligned to either the Indian or American style of comedy movies, which eventhough are vastly different from each other, find more coherence in their inherent nature. Watching the trilogy, particularly ‘Shaun of the Dead’, was a marked departure in terms of comedic style for me. However, funny is funny in any dialect or region, and Edgar Wright’s writing genius is no mystery, which is at fine display in this film. Most of the sharp humour comes from Pegg, also the co-writer, while the more slapstick bits, if they can be called that, are handled by Nick Frost, both excellent as usual. It’s more subtle, agreed, but give it a try if you haven’t and you won’t regret it.

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11. Hot Fuzz (2007)

The second film in the Cornetto trilogy released in 2007, is virtually everything that ‘Shaun of the Dead’ was, but only slightly better. ‘Shaun of the Dead’ enjoys a massive popularity and reverence among the British movie going audience, and to top that was a mammoth task. ‘Hot Fuzz’ is not only a worthy sequel to the horror comedy, it is also funnier in my opinion. The trio strikes again, this time in the roles of police officers, and are joined by Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy to add to the crazy proceedings. The film works best when it shows the duo in action and hilarity, or while mocking the standard American action film, and the people obsessed with them, brilliantly embodied by a hilarious Nick Frost.

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10. There’s something about Mary (1998)

The film centres on Cameron Diaz’s character, Mary, who becomes the focus of attraction and the object of affection for three desperate men. Their gut-wrenching attempts to woo their lady-love and always falling short make the film one of the best comedies ever made. The film today has a cult status and is viewed as one of the best films of 2000’s. The movie was a sleeper hit, making $368 million worldwide, against a lowly budget of $23 million. It was a recipient of inundating love and accolades from the industry. It still remains one of the best R-Rated comedies ever made.

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9. Superbad (2007)

The triumvirate of Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill has produced some of the best comic cinema in recent times. This was one of their earliest collaborations. The film stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as two students about to graduate high-school, who intend to have a once in a lifetime party and lose their virginities before graduating. But as the fate has it, the plans go haywire and the leads stick into the quagmire of hilarious and embarrassing situations. The film opened to positive reviews with the chemistry of the two leads getting considerable praise. It almost grossed over eight times its budget, making it one of the most commercially successful and profitable R-Rated films ever.

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8. Zombieland (2009)

This film is an amalgamation of the comedy and the zombie genre. This unique confluence made it a distinctive achievement in modern film-making. The plot revolves around its four leads, survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The film follows a geeky college kid making his way through the zombie apocalypse, meeting three strangers along the way and together taking an extended road-trip across the US in an attempt to find a sanctuary free from zombies, The impressive lead cast featuring names like Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin, elevates the film into a must-watch haven. The film was a critical and commercial success, and was R-Rated due to the gory violence and cannibalism.

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7. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Steve Carell is one of my favourite comedians. Even a benign face expression can evoke lung bursting laughter. 2006 was a game changing year for him. It threw him into global stardom, with his association to the sit-com ‘The Office’ and the indie film ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. The third wheel in the cog was ’The 40-Year-Old-Virgin’, which saw him play Andy, an innocent aging man, who is a virgin. It traces his journey to finally breaking the seal (sigh) which is hilarious and lands him into various socially awkward situations. The film was again a huge success commercially, while also grounding flags with the critics. The R-Rated comedy won many hearts and today has a cult status.

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6. Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat (2006)

Sacha Baron-Cohen is an unheralded comic genius. His vast array of experience in theatre, films and television make him the quintessential actor to work with. Cohen plays the lead character of Borat Sagdiyev, a fictitious Kazakh journalist travelling through the United States recording real-life interactions with Americans. The film sees a confluence of the documentary and the comic genres, which further positively affects its influence. The film probably remains the most critically acclaimed comedy films of all time, with Cohen also getting an Academy nomination for his screenplay. He also won a Golden Globe for his performance as Borat. The film is a must-watch! Do take out time and see it.

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5. The Hangover (2009)

Apart from ‘American Pie’, ‘The Hangover’ is one of the most internationally recognized and successful film franchises in the genre. The plot follows four friends, who embark upon a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate the receding bachelor-hood of one of them. Subsequently, they land up in a wreck after a night of booze and crazy, and loose the whereabouts of their friend. The film is special for its immensely talented star lead-cast, including Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. The film was the highest grossing R-Rated film of all time when it released.

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4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

If ‘Dazed and Confused’ was the quintessential 90s film for the kids of the 70s, ‘Ridgemont High’ is the teenage flagbearer for the 80s. While most of the people might still remember the film for the pool scene that made waves even back then, there is undoubtedly much more to it. At its prime would be Sean Penn’s performance as the perpetually stoned surfer, who is equal parts rebellious and endearing. It is no secret that Cameron Crowe, the writer of the film went undercover at a high school, and the film’s script recounts her actual experiences there. The film is, in that sense deemed to be virtually ‘plotless’, since there is no real ‘story’ being told, except for a year in the lives of a couple of high schoolers. Despite that, ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ is immensely watchable for its entire duration because it scrutinises and details high school life in a way that feels personal. It is, today, regarded a teenage classic today with oodles of nostalgia value, especially for the 80s kids.

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3. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

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‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ could be strongly advocated for a case of near perfect casting, with Steve Martin and John Candy playing comical versions of themselves in a pairing that is nothing short of explosive, but the plot of the film, and more importantly its treatment is just as strong. As far as stories about misadventures with mismatched people go, this film is the ballpark. It may not have started it, a subgenre of its own that still finds a lot of resonance among movie goers, but it sure may be credited for popularising it. Filmography wise, while it’s a marked departure for John Hughes whose repertoire until then mostly consisted of films centred on teenage and young adults, this film still turns out to be a highlight in an already illustrative career, frequently being cited as his best work often. It is heartwarming, endearing, and outrageously funny in parts, with unnatural gravitas for an all comedy film, like the scene in the inn that make the film transcend the definitions of a single genre. Easily one of the best comedy movies of the 80s, and by now, an essential for the holiday season.

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2. Dazed and Confused (1993)

The quintessential teenage film of the 90s, showcasing a time in the life of high schoolers in the 70s. Apart from being a nostalgia vehicle and chalk on with the details, the film pans out almost like a docu-drama that has terrific one liners and unites an ensemble of actors before they were huge stars. I agree that a lot of it may seem out of context when viewed right now, since that would mean retrospecting twice to eras you probably weren’t even aware of to begin with, but ‘Dazed and Confused’ is still funny as hell while managing to be only half as crude as R-Rated flicks today. It is an unlikely addition to Richard Linklater’s filmography as a director, but is also one of the better films for a younger director still experimenting with his craft. There is little else that hasn’t been said about the film, including the fact that McConaughey is terrific as the older dude hanging around his high school which he just can’t seem to let go of. This is the film you can credit for his “alright, alright, alright” and “be a lot cooler if you did” moments, and it doesn’t get any more legendary than this.

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1. The Big Lebowski (1998)

The most content rich film in the list, in my opinion, yet if you come to think of it, the same plot that I just praised is somewhat completely ridiculous. To the film’s and the writers’ credit, it is the very ridiculousness that mines in most of the laughs, as do The Dude’s shenanigans, and Donny’s outbursts of anger in completely inappropriate situations. The humour here is more situational, and relies less on punches and gags. For instance, the film’s funniest bits where I found myself chuckling hard were where the actors simply had sighs or straight faces on them. A cult classic now, ‘The Big Lebowski’ is one of the absolute best comedies of error out there, and The Dude abides by that.

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