We have a new ‘American Pie’ sequel in theaters today. This says to me that now’s the time for a Roundtable about our favorite R-rated comedies. Let the raunchy good times commence!
Actually, while raunchy sex jokes are prevalent in most R-rated comedies, they’re not necessarily a requirement to qualify for this Roundtable, as you may see below.
Most of the R-rated comedies from the last decade have been less than memorable to me. The majority of them depend on cursing as the sole source of laughs. To me, that gets old quickly. While I may enjoy some more than others, a second viewing usually leaves me bored. ‘Wedding Crashers’ and ‘The Hangover’ are the two best examples – funny once, long and unfunny a second time. That’s the criteria that I use to gauge just how good an R-rated comedy really is. So, what’s my favorite? I could watch ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘ once a week and be totally entertained. There’s so much more to the movie than just potty mouths and sex talk. You get strong characters, well-earned laughs, funny gags, heart and (my favorite part) a vampire puppet rock opera! There are very few R-rated comedies in my Blu-ray collection, but ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ is easily my favorite of the genre.
“We’ve got bush… We’ve got bush!” No, we aren’t talking about the former President. We’re talking about the greatest R-rated comedy of all-time, 1984’s ‘Revenge of the Nerds‘! OK, maybe that’s pushing things, but it’s certainly my own personal favorite. In fact, I’ve seen this film so many times that I used to be able to recite every single line from memory. Set at a prestigious college, Louis, Gilbert, Poindexter, Booger and the rest of the future Tri-Lambs taught us that it’s all right to be different, and that bullying is, well, for losers. (Just ask Ogre.) Plus, remember Stan’s girlfriend Betty? Man, Julia Montgomery was smokin’ hot! To be honest, I haven’t seen ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ in a while, but if it ever gets released on Blu-ray, the movie would easily be a Day One purchase for me.
My favorite R-rated comedy is ‘My Cousin Vinny‘. I’ve been watching this movie every year or so for… good god, 20 years now (?!), and it still holds up. Long before texting and LOL, this movie had me laughing out loud. Even now, when familiarity has worn many guffaw cues down to moments for amused smiles, this comedy still has the power to cheer me up. It’s funny, it’s sweet, and it contains some of the greatest performances and characters many of the actors involved could ever have hoped for. Unlike many supposed comedies from the Apatow set, ‘Vinny’ is R-rated because the characters speak the way they would in real life. The comedy is immeasurably better for it.
M. Enois Duarte
I’ll try to avoid the more likely or popular candidates by picking a long-time favorite of mine since childhood. It’s not a very good movie by any means, mind you, but the stupid thing grew into a big part of my teenage years. To this day, I still love watching it, and it remains just as entertaining as ever. I’m referring to the weird social experiment that is ‘Just One of the Guys‘, the raunchy comedy that made me crush over Joyce Hyser and started my crazy love fascination for Sherilyn Fenn. It’s a quirky and ridiculously silly look at high school life that features William Zabka, sadly but also hilariously typecast as the school bully. For a young teenage boy, the movie comes with one of the best surprises towards the end.
Most R-rated comedies are rated that way for over-the-top vulgarity. I like many of those movies, but there’s one R-rated comedy in recent memory that stands out not for non-stop sexual innuendo, but for violence. ‘Shaun of the Dead‘ is a rare movie in which its creator, Edgar Wright, has not only fashioned a hilarious comedy, but also did so while reinventing a genre. There was always something inherently funny about zombies, and Wright simply brought that to the surface. Sure, hordes of flesh-eaters are scary, but here they’re subjected to the humor that we always knew existed in them. The same can be said for ‘Zombieland‘. These are two horror parodies that do everything right. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I went on talking about horror parodies and didn’t mention ‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil‘. In my mind, that’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen since ‘Shaun of the Dead’.
He might be the director that the internet loves to hate, but I’ve always been a proud fan of Kevin Smith. With his trademark profanity-laden, dialogue-heavy style, Smith has contributed his fair share to the raunchy comedy world, but his 1995 theatrical bomb ‘Mallrats‘ will always hold a special place in my geeky heart. Featuring a plethora of witty pop culture references, numerous vulgar conversations, an especially snarky Jason Lee and a husky Ben Affleck (who’s almost double the on-screen Affleck for the price of one!), the movie plays to its intended audience of young slackers and nerds perfectly. How could anyone forget the psychic with three nipples? Or Stan “The Man” Lee’s cameo? Or the infamous stink palm? Though it was a major flop upon release, home video has turned the film into a cult favorite. Crass, juvenile, and damn funny, it’s everything a raunchy comedy should be. It even teaches valuable safety lessons, as I, for one, continue to fear and respect all escalators.
I see that no one above picked ‘Superbad‘. Consider that an honorable mention. I’m sure that our readers can make a case for that in the Comments. For my part, I have to pick something a little more obscure but worthy of attention, the Canadian sex comedy whose title has been abbreviated ‘Y.P.F.‘. The full, uncensored title is not the sort of thing that a movie theater can print on a marquee. The movie follows five sets of characters in specific archetypal relationships (best friends, a couple, exes, a first date and roommates) as they all deal with issues related to sex. Despite the title, there’s only a moderate amount of nudity in the film, which more than earns its rating through positively filthy yet utterly hilarious dialogue. The words that come out of star Carly Pope’s mouth will make your head spin. I fell in love with her instantly. More importantly, the movie is sharp, observant, and absolutely funny as hell. A Blu-ray edition is available in Canada that can easily be imported into the United States, but sadly its picture quality is pretty dreadful. You won’t miss much by catching this one on DVD or Netflix.
Which R-rated comedies do our readers find the funniest? Tell us in the Comments.
The blog will be closed for the holiday on Friday. We’ll see you back here on Monday. Have a great long weekend, everyone!