25 R-Rated Comedies You Could Watch Instead of 'Identity Thief'

Identity Thief trailerIn the comments on my review of Identity Thief one person said, "Brad is hard on comedies...so I always expect him to give unfavorable reviews to them," and that's true. I am hard on comedies, but most often because they aren't very funny, especially today's R-rated comedies where it's no longer about making a funny movie, but about making a "raunchy" movie.

The recipe for one of today's R-rated comedies has nothing to do with screenwriting and working out the best story combined with solid punchlines. The key ingredients involve elements that result in an R-rating, most typically an immense amount of swearing and a penis. This kind of humor is funny in the same way deep fried vegetables are good for you.

Speaking of which, what makes a penis so funny? This has always confused me and I tackled it in my review of Forgetting Sarah Marshall a few years back when I wrote:

A lot has been made over the fact that you see Segal's dick not once, twice or even three times. Sure, it's only two scenes, but the first one gives you all variations including from the front, profile and even a tip-tacular rear shot. I wondered what the big deal was, a dick's a dick right? Well, here's the problem. The dick shot is basically there for the folks that laugh at dicks, "Hey! It's a dick! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"

How often do we hear people bitching and moaning how we we never see men naked in movies, only women. Well, this is why. I'm sure there are people that sit and watch Shame and Eastern Promises and howl their asses off at how funny it is to see a man's penis. How the men among this group are able to take a shower and not laugh themselves to death is beyond me.

Of course, Identity Thief plays the naked man card giving us a bare ass shot of Eric Stonestreet and there were people in my audience that laughed. After all, it was perhaps the first time we've ever seen a man passed out naked in a bed before in a movie... right?

So, yes, I'm hard on comedies. To begin, they have to make me laugh and they have to make me enjoy laughing and remember that laughter after I've left the theater. There were hilarious moments in Django Unchained, for example, that had me laughing again just by seeing the trailer and it's not even a comedy. As for the majority of today's insult-driven comedies the same can't be said... just look at Melissa McCarthy's ridiculous profanity-laced rant in This is 40, which I'm sure was meant to carry big laughs, but even if you laugh the first time, is it ever going to be funny again?

Taking all that into consideration, another commenter asked in my Identity Thief review, "Brad, what are some R rated comedies that you hold in high esteem?" This, I'd like to answer...

Below is a list I quickly brainstormed 25 R-rated comedies off the top of my head that I'd much rather watch than Identity Thief and countless other recent comedies as well... Ted being chief among them.

I've posted the list in alphabetical order and included one double feature to make a total of 25. I'm sure you'll agree with some and likely disagree on others, but such is the nature of comedy, which is perhaps the one genre where personal opinion rules more than any other.

  1. American Pie
  2. Animal House
  3. Bachelor Party
  4. Blazing Saddles
  5. The Breakfast Club
  6. Bull Durham
  7. Caddyshack
  8. Clerks
  9. Fargo
  10. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  11. DOUBLE FEATURE: Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead
  12. In Bruges
  13. In the Loop
  14. The Jerk
  15. Major League
  16. MASH
  17. National Lampoon's Vacation
  18. Police Academy
  19. Porky's
  20. Road Trip
  21. Team America: World Police
  22. Trading Places
  23. Tropic Thunder
  24. When Harry Met Sally


  • http://cineenuruguay.blogspot.com/ Driver

    Agree, those are just awesome pics.

    I think its missing some Supebad, but that's because its a personal favorite.

    • adu

      Superbad is awesome, forgot to mention that. Also a fan of Old School, and let's not forget The Big Lebowski.

      • Jake17

        I second The Big Lebowski!

  • adu

    'How the men among this group are able to take a shower and not laugh themselves to death is beyond me.'

    I love me some In Bruges, In the Loop, and Tropic Thunder. Also, Bridesmaids and Hangover are solid R rated comedies/

    • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

      Oy, Bridesmaids...

  • adu

    Actually, I am throwing in My Cousin Vinny, Old School, Seven Psychopaths and 21 Jump Street in there as well.

  • Chris

    I'd throw Wedding Crashers up there too.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    Ummm.... Husbands and Wives?

    • http://www.everyeliakazanmovie.blogspot.ca/ IngmarTheBergman

      Do you consider that a comedy?

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        If I didn't, I wouldn't have mentioned it.

  • Good Grief

    I think this list is pretty great apart from "Clerks." If anyone relies on profanity and hours of material based on semen, it's Kevin Smith. He's the epitome of someone who thinks dicks, by nature, are hilarious.

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk


      From Clerks. It's not the massive list of porn that makes this scene funny, but the contrast the porn makes with the innocent child video. It's great!


      From Dogma. It's not the profanity that makes it funny, but the immediate deconstruction of Loki's argument when the nun leaves that makes it funny.

      Yes, there's a lot of profanity in his films. Does he think dicks by nature are hilarious? No, I don't think so.

  • Matt

    Out of the ones on your list that I've seen, I completely agree with "American Pie" and "Fast Times." They are two of my favorites. I'd also add "Bridesmaids", "21 Jump Street" and "Heathers." Also, while I guess Brad isn't much of a fan of it, I really love "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and the sorta sequel "Get Him to the Greek."

    Also, in response to Brad's comments on the penis scene in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" I definitely feel like the scene is... I guess you can use the word overhyped? or overrated?... but I still find it funny not because he is nude but because of the situation. He's being dumped by his girlfriend, which is surprising enough, and to make the scene more awkward he's naked. It's funny, to me at least, because it's just the absolute worst scenario for a breakup. I haven't seen "Identity Thief" and don't intend to, but from what it sounds like Eric Stonestreet's nude scene is "funny" simply because he's naked. In my opinion, the nude scene in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" offers more than that. Just like how in, say, "American Pie", Shannon Elizabeth's nude scene is funny for more than just the fact that she's naked. I don't know, just my opinion. Good list though.

  • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

    Great list! ... But, Dazed and Confused should be on there.

    • Susan

      It's not a top 25. It's just 25.

      • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

        I know, but it still would've been nice to have seen Dazed and Confused on there...

  • http://www.shawgoestothemovies.blogspot.com B-Shaw

    Great list Brad. I could not agree more about the recipe for a strong majority of today's R-rated comedies. As far as other solid R-rated comedies go, one that comes to mind right away is 'The Guard', a comedy that was just released in the past two years but actually relies on a strong comedic character instead of raunchiness.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lawhs89/ lawhs89

      "You know, I can't tell if you're really motherfuckin' dumb, or really motherfuckin' smart." I try to use the quote whenever I can.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

    Good list especially Clerks, Fargo, Tropic Thunder & Road Trip. Awesome that you mentioned American Pie, one of my favorites and the sequels are worth mentioning (excluding the god-awful straight-to-DVD ones). But can't believe you didn't mentioned: Bridesmaids, Superbad, There's Something About Mary, Old School & Wedding Crashers. Those are classics! Come on now.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

      Also, as well would like to throw in:

      21 Jump Street
      Office Space
      Scary Movie (the first one)
      South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
      Sex Drive
      Harold & Kumar movies
      Knocked Up
      The 40 Year Old Virgin
      The very underrated Life with Eddie Murphy & Martin Lawrence

  • zillable

    Your 25 movies all have an R rating? That's hard to believe. Time to research.

    • adu

      Chad is that you?

      • zillable

        No, I'm not Chad. But yes, all those movies had an R rating. Breakfast Club, Hot Fuzz, When Harry Met Sally were the movies I really wondered about. But I guess if you utter the f-word on film you get an R rating.

        • adu

          Yup, doesn't take much to get them Rs

  • Movie Fan

    What about The Hangover????

    • Good Grief

      It's his "25 R-rated comedies you could watch instead of 'Identity Thief'" list, not his "Greatest R-rated comedies in the world...EVAR!" list. Brad threw up a list of solid comedies he thought were better than "Identity Thief" and that's all. We shouldn't just sit around yelling random comedies at him just because they're not up there as I'm sure we all have our own lists.

      "COMING TO AMERICA!!!!?????!!!!!!??????"

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    Horrible Bosses anybody??

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    Good list. Some personal favorites of mine not included in the list:

    Beverly Hills Cop
    The Hangover
    The 40-Year Old Virgin
    Wedding Crashers
    My Cousin Vinny
    Office Space

  • Josh

    Vacation is way, way, overrated.

    • Roger

      Completely agree. Though I love me some Vegas Vacation lol Always cracks me up.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DavidG/ David Gaillardetz

    I love your Hot Fuzz/Shaun of the Dead double feature. OK, really I just love your numbers 4-14. Great stuff right there. :-)

  • http://filmgeekcentral.com Rolocop


    • Torryz

      Get list Rolocop!

  • http://filmgeekcentral.com Rolocop

    oooh! And HEATHERS

    • Susan

      Yes to this.

  • Ricster

    Planes Trains & Automobiles and/or Tommy Boy

    • Roger

      Tommy Boy is PG-13.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/cradleman/ Jonathan

    Of the ones on this list i've seen

    American Pie
    The Breakfast Club
    Fast Times at Ridgemont High
    Shaun of the Dead
    Road Trip
    Team America: World Police
    Tropic Thunder
    When Harry Met Sally

    and the only one i didn't like was Fast Times at Ridgemont High (though it was definitely funny, i have other problems with it). I need to check out a lot more of these though.

  • Connor420

    The Big Lebowski, Dazed And Confused, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High are my favorite r-rated comedies. I am surprised you didn't include The Bog Lebowski. I just can't get enough of Walter Sobchak.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Yeah, thought of Big Lebowski, but I could have gone on forever. I'm more frustrated I forgot Dazed and Confused seeing how I love that film and have watched it several times.

  • Roger

    Throwing in: Old School, Wedding Crashers, Superbad, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up.

    I like what you said Brad, R-Rated movies are more about just being raunchy without laughs. Just pushing the enveloppe and not going for the jokes.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/paul.thind/ Paul Thind

    Pineapple Express, Observe and Report, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang are all really well made films in my eyes that no one has mentioned yet.

  • David


  • Travis C.

    Love the list, though I'm not the fan of The Jerk, Fast Times at Ridgemont High that most seem to be. On top of the many fantastic films mentioned by others I'm going to add Midnight Run.

  • Danny

    That is a great list, Brad. In fact there is only one movie on that list I have never seen and that is In The Loop. A lot of the others are personal favorites and there is one that I thought I would hate when I was going in to the theatre to watch it and I ended up liking it quite a bit and that was Team America: World Police (I am only a casual fan of South Park, though I liked the movie, so I wasn't expecting Team America to be as as funny as it was). I could add a lot of other comedies to that list, but quite a few commenters have already added them.... I really like when Brad puts articles like this up...

  • SP1234

    No Bridesmaids? That was pretty raunchy, but suprisingly, it worked.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

    What about Little Miss Sunshine? I guess it could probably be argued that it's more of a dramedy, but it would definitely make my list.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

    Hey Brad, you created a great list. But I was wondering, how do you differentiate from things like Identity Thief and something like The Watch or That's My Boy, which were both hated by audiences but you actually enjoyed. Is it if they make you laugh? Or do you judge based on something else?

  • Sebastian Prieto Goico

    I don't consider Fargo a comedy

    • iamnotnjs

      Fargo doesn't consider you a comedy

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/mrag/ Tom Wohlsen

    How about 10 with Dudley. Then there is Dr. Strangelove which caused me to chuckle once or twice and really, no Pink Panther with Sellers (any of them). And Woody Allen is represented how? Fun list though.

  • Drew

    Walk Hard Dewey Cox

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/IcicleM/ IcicleM

    Really Brad? Team America? Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of parts of that movie I like too, but when you're gonna pull the tactic of "this movie is only funny because there's an ass shot, or lots of profanity" then you HAVE to address the fact that there's a 3 and a half minute throw up scene in Team America

  • Sadman

    Anyone know/like Tucker and Dale versus Evil? I couldn't "Find" it in the previous comments, and it's a personal favourite. And I've liked Alan Tudyk since Firefly (and hopefully more people know him now since he voiced King Candy in Wreck-It-Ralph), so that's how I came across that gem.

  • wiggidy

    "It's an inanimate f***ing object!


    My favorite comedy of all time right there.