The best comedy movies on Prime Video Australia (February 2024)

Subscribe to Prime Video? In the mood for a rib-tickler? Critic Luke Buckmaster has scoured the platform and retrieved the funniest films—from recent hits to decades-old classics.

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Bad Boy Bubby (1993)

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Rolf de Heer’s notorious cult classic about a tortured soul (Nicholas Hope) who spent his first 35 years locked in a grubby apartment still, after all these years, almost defies description, laced with boundary-pushing scenes discussed only in hushed tones. Bubby’s venture into wider society provides social critique, an unflinching portrait of mental illness and much more.

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Back to the Future 2 (1989)

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“Great Scott, MMaaarrtrrtttyyy!” There’s too many great moments to name in the all-time best and most enjoyable time travel movie. The chemistry between Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd snaps and crackles—fabulously contrasting the mad scientist with the clean-cut teen—and the script is coyly written. I love that playfully paradoxical title, too.

The Big Short (2015)

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The core challenge in Adam McKay’s satire about Wall Street sharks who saw the GFC coming and conspired to profit from it is to make a dry subject broadly accessible. The writer/director’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach deploys narration, fourth wall-breaking and endless analogies, including the following sage words from Steve Carrell: “So mortgage bonds are dog shit wrapped in cat shit?” It’s structurally messy, but it works.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

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The sick shimmer of the original Borat movie lost some of its freakshow appeal, but Sacha Baron Cohen’s grotesquely entertaining Kazakh journalist maintained a higher purpose—exposing American prejudice—as well as his capacity to entertain. Returning to the USA to present a gift to “Premier McDonald Trump,” Borat’s second round of rambunctious misadventures exposes right wing ignorance and bigotry, with characteristically shocking zeal.

Catherine Called Birdy (2022)

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Lena Dunham’s high-spirited coming-of-age movie, based in 13th century England, has a pace and humour well tuned to the peppy personality of its young protagonist. Fourteen-year-old Lady Catherine (a very entertaining Bella Ramsey) knows she’s supposed to be married off—preferably to a wealthy blue blood—but wishes for a different life and rebels against the patriarchy. Dunham never takes the audience’s attention for granted, fussily filling her adaptation of Karen Cushman’s novel with all sorts of stylistic details.

Heathers (1988)

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A comedy so dark the prefix “black” barely begins to cut it. Michael Lehmann’s cult movie is up there with Election and Mean Girls as one of the great high school-set comedies—but with a more potent air of irreverence. Winona Ryder joins a clique of students called the Heathers while Christian Slater plays the demon on her shoulder, encouraging her to do dastardly deeds.

His Girl Friday (1940)

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One of the great comedies of the 1940s, Howard Hawks’ classic is remembered less for what it says than how it says it—streams of frantically paced verbal ping pong bouncing between its zinger-delivering characters. Cary Grant’s newspaper editor tries to win back his wife, Rosalind Russell’s hotshot journalist, by forcing her to work with him on a big murder story. Witty carnage and rolled gold repartee ensue.

Kenny (2006)

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Packed to the hilt with true blue turns of phrase and centered around Shane Jacobson’s adorably fair dinkum, dunny-cleaning protagonist, this well-loved film is a very bloody ‘strayan mockumentary. Despite the titular character’s profession, which famously involves confronting smells that outlast religion, the film never indulges in gross-out gags—wisely leaving yucky stuff to the viewer’s imagination.

Lady Bird (2017)

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Greta Gerwig’s beautifully constructed dramedy opens with a Joan Didion quote: “Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.” This big-hearted and sensitively drawn film, charting the chaotic coming-of-age of Christine aka Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan), is full of small acts of defiance. It’s about commanding respect when you don’t deserve any, and asking others to believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.

Palm Springs (2020)

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“Today, tomorrow, yesterday—it’s all the same.” So says Andy Samberg’s protagonist Nyles as he floats on an inflatable banana lounge, sounding a lot like Bill Murray from Groundhog Dog. Max Barbakow’s tremendously entertaining time loop movie owes much to the 90s classic, reworking its premise to have the curse of temporal repetition affecting two potential lovers: Nyles and Cristin Milioti’s Sarah. The pace is snappy, the writing shrewd.