All Over the Place: the 5 Best Comedies of 2012

2012 was a diverse and rewarding cinematic year, and this is not reflected in small measure by its top comedies. A quirky dramedy with that guy from the Hangover, and that girl from Hunger Games, alongside the feature debut of the man behind Family Guy, a Wes Anderson triumph, a self-aware 80s TV show reboot and an Apatow offering does indeed read like a telling cross-section of American taste, luckily for us, in a fairly positive sense. These are the top comedies of 2012.

5 This Is 40

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s married characters Pete and Debbie accounted for a good chunk of the laughs in 2007’s Knocked Up, and in this semi-sequel we get a concentrated dose of the histrionics provided by the mismatched pair and their disconcerting offspring (Apatow’s real daughters). After a while the constant bickering and screaming becomes grating, but not before a good amount of undeniable funny takes place.

4 Moonrise Kingdom

While maybe not quite as uproarious as Anderson classics Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom is a heartfelt, easy to adore film about young love, with the director’s trademark meticulous aesthetic and dry wit in tow. Edward Norton and Bruce Willis give able support in this unorthodox romance, Anderson’s best live action film since The Life Aquatic.

3 Ted

There really is a pretty high laugh ratio in this story of a Boston man (Mark Wahlberg) and his magically animated teddy bear (voiced by writer/director Seth MacFarlane) , who has been his best friend since childhood, much to the chagrin of Wahlberg’s ambitious, forward looking girlfriend (Mila Kunis) who just wants him to grow up. Anyone familiar with Family Guy’s brand of non-PC humor and pop culture bombardment will be at home here, as this film plays out like a great ninety minute episode of that show, but with a much larger dose of humanity.

2 21 Jump Street

After starting off slow, this buddy cop bromance based on the Johnny Depp starring TV show of yesteryear quickly picks up narrative and comedic speed once its two undercover leads (Jonah Hill, turning it down a notch, and Channing Tatum, showing real chops) are planted firmly in their high school beat. Much humor is derived over Tatum’s confusion with the divide between what was considered cool in the duo’s own actual high school days, and the ones they live now, where gay kids and do-gooder geeks are worshipped, and as Hill’s character is increasingly distracted from their mission by his newfound popularity. A real surprise.

1 Silver Linings Playbook

Bradley Cooper plays a bipolar Philadelphia man falling in love with an equally disturbed young woman (a justifiably Oscar winning Jennifer Lawrence) in this harrowing, yet funny and ultimately feel good story from director David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees). The film’s script offers some painfully acidic dialogue effortlessly given life by its two game leads, who make an unlikely screen couple for the ages. Also on hand are a bafflingly non-Rush Hour Chris Tucker as a pysch ward buddy of Cooper’s, and Robert DeNiro as his struggling, yet patient Eagle-obsessed dad.

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