10 Defining Buddy Comedies
Grab a friend and the remote because we've rounded up our 10 favourite buddy comedies of all time.
Buddy comedies sometimes have predictable storylines and conventional characters, but the best ones make us laugh ‘til we cry, cry ‘til we laugh, and have a unique personality and a certain magic we couldn’t find anywhere else—just like our best buddies.
Here are 10 buddy comedies that do a lot more than just make us laugh:
If you want to know what a buddy comedy is all about, start with Wayne’s World. Beyond the over-the-top characters, silly catchphrases and riffing on movie tropes, the film is all about a relationship. Two best buddies, one a natural leader and the other a shy sidekick, see their roles evolve as their friendship is challenged by outsiders looking to exploit them, only to find they’re more important to each other than fame and fortune could ever be.
High school is all about getting wasted and getting laid, right? That’s what the average Hollywood comedy would have you believe, but Superbad—written by real-life high school buds Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg—has it figured out for real. See, that stuff’s fun, but high school is really about the lasting friendships and defining experiences—like getting knocked out during an armed robbery and taking target practice with delinquent cops.
One of the best examples that a comedy duo doesn’t have to be opposites to be hilarious. Similar to real-life friendships, Wedding Crashers’ protagonists have the same interests, values, and seem to have gleaned parts of their personalities from each other. The film’s conflict arises when one buddy falls in love and finally wants to grow up, while the other buddy feels left behind. We’ve all had friends we’ve outgrown, or who’ve outgrown us, so despite their ridiculous antics the relationship feel genuine.
Buddy comedies usually give equal weight to both friends, but Swingers throws that idea right out the window in favour of a protagonist/sidekick dynamic. Jon Favreau’s pensive Mike is the focus of the story, while Vince Vaughn’s infinitely quotable Trent is his comic relief. It’s amazing to think the future director of the first two Iron Man movies and star of cult classics like Old School and Dodgeball made a movie for just $200,000—turns out they were so money and they didn’t even know it.
Dumb and Dumber
Like its two main characters, Dumb and Dumber is so stupid it’s brilliant. Harry and Lloyd’s relationship has its ups and downs—they both fall for the same woman, are chased by gangsters, buy a Lamborghini, all the regular guy-friend milestones—but their naivety is the bond that keeps them together. We could all learn a thing or two about friendship from these lovable nitwits.
Who could be a more perfect buddy comedy duo than Tina and Amy? Baby Mama features pretty standard odd-couple characters, but it shows that buddy comedies don’t need guys to get laughs. There aren’t nearly enough female buddy-flicks, though Bridesmaids and others are hopefully starting to open some eyes to the comedic possibilities.
Step Brothers is buddy comedy taken to the extreme: Will Farrell and John C. Reilly play overgrown man-children who start as enemies, literally become step brothers, ruin their parents’ relationship, and somehow manage to become successful in spite of themselves. Wedding Crashers proved a buddy duo could be similar; Step Brothers showed how hilarious it could be when they’re similarly insane.
“Cancer comedy” sounds like some bizarre oxymoron, but 50/50 actually manages to be a funny movie about young Adam’s struggle with cancer and how it affects his relationships—particularly his best buddy Kyle, who sees Adam’s misfortune as a boon for their love lives. While there are plenty of laughs, it’s also incredibly emotional, so a warning: do not watch this with your buddies if you don’t want them to see you cry.
I Love You, Man
Maybe the first of its kind: a buddy comedy that’s all about creating a best buddy relationship. Usually you get an odd couple forced together by circumstance, or a pair of pals who’ve known each other forever, but rarely do you see a movie about a grown man learning how to relate to other guys. And the only unbelieveable thing about this film? That Paul Rudd would ever have trouble finding guys to hang out with.
White Men Can’t Jump
If you couldn’t tell from its title, White Men Can’t Jump is a poignant—and funny—take on racial attitudes in film. Wesley Snipes’ Sidney and Woody Harrelson’s Billy certainly seem to follow comedic stereotypes at first—Sidney is cool, Billy is lame; Sidney is flashy, Billy is simple; Billy listens to Jimi Hendrix, Sidney hears Jimi. But once they break away from their conventional roles they reveal some of our own prejudices, and their friendship shows we all share a lot more common ground than we often realize.