Weekend Roundtable: Favorite R-Rated Comedies

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.

Luke Hickman

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.

Tom Landy

“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.

Mike Attebery

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.

Aaron Peck

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’.

Steven Cohen

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.

Josh Zyber

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!


  1. I’m with Aaron all the way, great choices! Expect The Cabin in the Woods to be added to that list soon, I went to an advance screening a couple weeks ago, and it is fucking amazing. I’m planning to go see it again opening weekend, and I recommend to anyone who is a fan of those films to do the same!

    • JM

      ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ has my 7th favorite actor of all time!

      They should let Joss Whedon co-write everything!

          • Bradley whit ford is pure comic genius in this film. He steals pretty much every scene he’s in, but that’s because the actor he’s paired with for most of the movie is one of those character actors that just vanishes into every part he’s ever been in.

            I love the guy but unless I go and look up his name I’ll never be able to remember it.

            Also, whitford is probably in the second best scene in the movie, and deservedly so.

  2. The only good thing about Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is that I read an interview with Kristen Bell, stating how she found Russel Brand really disgusting and he kept hitting on her and she had to keep fending him off… Gotta love that girl! Made me like her so much, for despising that creature! 😉

    Hmm… Favourite R-rated comedy… You know, I can’t think of one, off the top of my head! I think by the time most comedies get to an R rating, they’re trying so hard to turn ‘gross’ or ‘smut’ moments into comedy, that they usually aren’t actually ‘funny’. Unless you talk about horror comedies, and they’re a completely different matter, from Bad Taste or Braindead to Shaun of the Dead. 😉

  3. Mike Attebery

    I hated ‘Superbad.’ I still don’t get what people found funny about that movie. No one talks like those characters.

  4. jvj

    Is it cheating to say the R-rated cut of Kingpin that was released on DVD? Easily the Farrelly brother’s best film. It’s a perfect mix of raunchiness and pathos that they have yet to match.

    Office Space, as well. Though, I actually had to double check it’s rating, as nothing in that film seems offensive enough to necessitate an R rating…. the list could keep going, but I’m clearly starting to lose focus.

    So many others if we were just going by genre and MPAA rating: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Dazed and Confused, Rushmore, The Last Days of Disco, Midnight Run, Life of Brian, Pineapple Express, Observe & Report.

    • ‘Office Space’, DUH! Totally spaced on that one. Love that movie.

      ‘Observe and Report’ would be in my Worst R-rated Comedies list though.

      • jvj

        Ha! I always forget calling Observe and Report the “best” or “worst” ANYTHING can be equally contentious.

  5. JM

    Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask).

    Old School.
    Wedding Crashers.
    Friends with Benefits.
    The 40 Year Old Virgin.

    American Psycho.
    Natural Born Killers.
    Glengarry Glen Ross.
    Your Friends & Neighbors.
    Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
    A Clockwork Orange.
    The Big Lebowski.
    Wag The Dog.

    The Royal Tenebaums.
    A Dirty Shame.
    Boogie Nights.

    The Jerk.
    High Fidelity.
    Blazing Saddles.
    Good Morning, Vietnam.
    Dazed And Confused.
    Beverly Hills Cop.
    Pretty Woman.

    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
    Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
    What’s Up, Tiger Lily?
    OSS 117: Lost In Rio.
    Tropic Thunder.

    #1 = Deconstructing Harry.

    • jvj

      Boogie Nights is great, but calling it a comedy seems a bit reductive. It’s not exactly satirizing the porn industry.

      There are definitely moments of levity in it (the pool scene with Reilly and Wahlberg is possibly funnier than anything else released in 1997) but it’s not the humor that defines the film or sticks with you when it’s over.

      I’m with you on Your Friends and Neighbors, though. LaBute’s best film by a mile.

  6. Deaditelord

    I remember nearly passing out from laughter when I took a chance on Team America: World Police and it still cracks me up to this day. Definitely can’t go wrong with Beverly Hills Cop and I spin Clerks on occasion too.

    I’m also glad to see somebody singling out The Royal Tenenbaums for this list. Everybody I know (friends, family and co-workers) hates The Royal Tenenbaums with a passion, but personally I think it’s hilarious.

    • Team america is pretty damned funny. Those guys really are pretty much the satire kings right now. I would equate that movie to the early work of ZAZ, Zucker Abrams Zucker on Airplane, Top Secret. But of course Parker and Stone are much more aggressive on grossing out the audience. But what amazes me is that they really know how to skate the line, where it’s completely gross yet utterly hysterical at the same time.

      Prime example in Team America is the puking scene in the Alley, they make it so over the top that when they move onto the next even more gross subject you hardly feel the gut punch because you’ve been laughing so damned hard for the past 10 minutes.

  7. Barsoom Bob

    I am even more a music head than a video one, so for myself and other older music lovers, I wish to give a shout out to “Walk Hard”. At first blush it looks like an R rated parody of “Walk the Line”, which it is, complete with raunchy send ups of the songs, but then it also is a satirical send up of pop music from the fifties to the 90’s. Jack White playing a bitchin’ Elvis, the cameos for the Beatles in India segment, the spot on Dylan phase and the totally unmanagable Smile sessions debacle. I enjoy the hell out of this movie and LMFAO while watching it.

    And for Jane, I think it was the first main stream, R comedy to start showing full male frontal nudity.

  8. i absolutely cannot stand forgetting sarah marshall or superbad. both struck me as terribly unfunny.

    the vote for Team America: World Police gets points in my book, though the lack of praise for Orgazmo is saddening.

  9. Mike

    I know plenty of people who speak like Woody Allen characters. Also, Allen’s movies are funny.

  10. August Lehe

    I’m hurt that NOBODY SEEMS to remember D.C. CAB MY all-time guilty pleasure! It has those immortal lines from college drop-out Gary Busey: “Wisconsin-that’s the cheese state” when told a photo of the kidnapper’s hideaway could be anywhere….like “WISCONSIN.”

  11. JM

    She’s Gotta Have It.
    The Rum Diary.

    La Cage Aux Folles.
    Ma Lie En Rose.
    Le Placard.

    Being John Malkovick.
    Burn After Reading.
    Lost In Translation.

    Shakespeare In Love.
    Love Actually.

    Charlie Wilson’s War.
    State & Main.
    Pirate Radio.

    Swimming With Sharks.
    Primary Colors.

    Attack The Block.
    Fight Club.

    Tokyo Gore Police.
    Kung Fu Hustle.
    Survive Style 5+

    • paramedic0112

      Haven’t seen that in forever. I laughed so hard when it came out. Especially the cancer boy thing. O my goodness. I wonder if it still holds up.

  12. Alex

    The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy (or at the two that have actually been made) are delightful.

    I also have agree with “My Cousin Vinny.” Joe Pesci walking into court wearing maroon velvet suit that makes him look like a 19th-century carnival caller is just hilarious.

    Also, I know there’s plenty of backlash on this one, but Bridesmaids was friggin’ hilarious.

  13. The only ones I can think of that I like are Airplane 2, Team America, and South Park. Usually if a comedy is R rated, it crosses some line for me. Normally, the R rated movies I like are action flicks or sci-fi.

          • Josh Zyber

            The PG rating used to be a lot more lenient than it is today. The first Airplane! also has nudity and swearing, and was always rated PG. If it were to be re-rated, it would get at least a PG-13, if not an R today.

            Barbarella remains the textbook example of the craziness of the MPAA guidelines. That movie has quite a lot of nudity and is basically nothing but one extended sex joke. Rated PG in 1968. Parental guidance is suggested.

          • Josh Zyber

            Content is rated separately for television by a completely different board. It’s very possible that something rated PG in theaters could get a TV-MA, especially if that PG rating was given many years earlier.

        • EM

          What full frontal nudity do you mean? I can think of a couple of scenes depicting nude women (the security monitor which sees through only women’s clothes, the “model” for the still life Stryker paints at the Ronald Reagan Hospital for the Mentally Ill), but I think the genital area is not visible in either scene. Maybe Scraps the dog shows all…?

  14. Off topic, sorry, but I’ve been wondering for a while if there is a way to view all recent comments on here, aside from the “Recent Comments” box on the side. That rolls over pretty quickly and I’m sure I’m missing stuff.

  15. I though this would be much easier, until I realised that “R-rated comedy” pretty much means the same as “comedy”. In Norway, even Bridesmaides got a G rating, so I though the list of R rated comedies would be rather short.

    Anyway – my top three comedies, that I can watch over and over again, are:

    Blues Brothers
    Office Space
    Adventures of Ford Fairlane

  16. JM

    Nudity and profanity didn’t exist until 1966.

    The MPAA took effect in 1968.

    G: General Audiences – All Ages
    M: Mature Audiences – Parental Discretion Advised
    R: Restricted – Under 16 Not Admitted Without Adult Guardian

    1968 – Theater Owners urged the creation of the X rating, adults only, fearful of legal problems in local jurisdictions.

    1970 – The M rating changed to GP because parents were confused.

    1972 – GP became PG because parents were still confused.

    1984 – The ultra violence in ‘Indiana Jones’ caused parental outrage, so Steven Spielberg created the PG-13.

    1990 – The porn industry hijacked the X rating for marketing reasons, so the MPAA introduced the NC-17.

    2007 – The MPAA announced that cigarette smoking would be considered in a film’s rating.

    2010 – The MPAA added the descriptor “male nudity,” which LGBT activists consider homophobic.

    To Be Continued…

    • Josh Zyber

      Pretty much all of them. We’re one of the few countries where the government cannot forcibly edit and censor movies without filmmaker participation or consent. The worst the MPAA can do is give a movie an NC-17 rating, yet even then it still allows the studio the option of releasing the film uncensored without a rating.

      For as much as people complain about the MPAA, imagine the uproar if they cut whole scenes out of a movie because they objected to the depiction of a head-butt or nunchucks on screen, as the BBFC did for many years.

      • I call bullshit.

        Name five countries where the government can and do edit movies before release.

        Bonus points if they’re all countries where American movies are doing well.

        • JM

          ‘You Don’t Mess With The Zohan’ was banned in Lebanon.

          ‘Team America: World Police’ was banned in Morocco.

          ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut’ was banned in Iraq.

          ‘Sin City’ was banned in Burma.

          ‘The Departed’ was banned in China.

          ‘Borat’ was banned in Kazakhstan.

          ‘District 9’ was banned in Nigeria.

          ‘Milk’ was banned in Samoa.

          ‘Zoolander’ was banned in Singapore.

          ‘A Serbian Film’ was banned in Spain.

          ‘Mad Max’ was banned in Sweden.

          ‘300’ was banned in Tunisia.

          ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’ was banned in Thailand.

        • Josh Zyber

          The BBFC makes all cuts on its own, without filmmaker involvement, based on what the BBFC decides is objectionable.

          Many Asian countries also edit or simply ban films they don’t approve of.

          • So, you’re saying that when the BBFC reviews a movie, and concludes it must be rated 15, they’ll simply decide on their own that it would be better if the movie was rated PG, and then just go ahead and make all the necessary cuts to get it to qualify for PG?

          • Josh Zyber



            Running time: 118m 51s
            Consumer Advice: Contains strong violence

            This work was cut. The cut(s) were Compulsory. To obtain this category cuts of 0m 18s were required. Details of cuts below may contain spoilers of plot details.

            Cuts required to three instances of real animal cruelty (horses made to fall using techniques likely to result in serious injury). Cuts made in accordance with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937.

            More recently, the BBFC cut 7 seconds from The Hunger Games, on top of the voluntary cuts that the studio had already made to get a “12A” rating.

            The Melon Farmers blog keeps track of BBFC censorship issues:


          • JM

            Without UK government insanity, would ‘V For Vendetta’ exist?

            How many films become great by pushing to the edge of censorship?

            If there was no limit, what would filmmakers push against, the audience?

          • EM

            Certainly some films’ appeal lies at least in part in their adaptation to censorship strictures. This is often true of older films. To pull out an example recently discussed on the Bonus View: Casablanca centers on a romance whose sexual dimension is quite present but also quite implicit, to the point where one can easily wonder, “Did they or didn’t they?”—or simply assume that they didn’t or that the film provides zero evidence concerning the issue. Such lack of explicitness can irritate some viewers, but it can deepen the appreciation of others. Indeed—however appealing Ingrid Bergman might have been au naturel (and I can only guess that she would be appealing thus), I’m happy that Humphrey Bogart kept his clothes on.

          • Agreed. I am okay with stuff being implied. We don’t need to be shown everything. It rarely adds to the story. Plenty of movies imply sexual relationships, and they work just fine.

          • I just really am not all that into nudity. If I want to see soft-core porn, I will watch soft-core porn, I don’t really care to see it in movies. Now something like Terminator 2 where they show ass shots or something, that’s cool, its part of the story. And I am okay with it in Anime. I just really don’t want to see it in a movie. Implications are fine. Like the movie “Hound Dog”. It was shot in a way that we know Dakota Fanning’s character got rapped. We did not need for Dakota Fanning to strip, and she didn’t.

          • JM Said

            “Without UK government insanity, would ‘V For Vendetta’ exist?

            How many films become great by pushing to the edge of censorship?

            If there was no limit, what would filmmakers push against, the audience?”

            I agree but I think it’s pretty insane that in the year 2012 we still have government’s, “any” governments trying to control what people see and hear. This is one of the reasons that government interference with the internet should be fought against so virulently. It’s one of the few places that you can see things without a filter, other than the people creating the content or the companies they are owned by.

            But it also goes to show how dangerous some laws can be without seriously looking into how they would work. The DMCA has become the new sensor on the internet, anytime something is deemed unsuitable or is some kind of information that companies don’t want disseminated they cry “Copyright” and because of how the DMCA works there’s almost no Due Process involved.

            IF we don’t watch ourselves the entire internet will be just as bad as some of these governments are.

  17. M. Enois Duarte

    Still waiting for someone to mention the all-time classic of “Hard R-rated” teen raunchy-comedies.


    • That movie is so overrated, i never found it funny at all. It’s almost nudity for nudity’s sake and how it’s portrayed is not clever or really very funny.

      I know I sound like some kind of prude etc, but really I’m not, I just didn’t like the movie for whatever reason.

  18. Scott Hunvald

    Shaun of the Dead is awesome, but I’m surprised Hot Fuzz hasn’t been mentioned. Timothy Dalton was hilarious as the villain and can’t forget Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. So funny.

  19. Okay, I know that this comment is going to mess everything up because it will put the comment number at 70, but my juvenile sense of humor got the best of me. I couldn’t help but laugh for the past day or so as the post about vulgar R-rated comedies was stuck at a comment number of 69.

    • Wow, didn’t even put those two together. Maybe I am too geeky, or something, but to me, “69” was always just the number that followed “68”. Yeah, I know what it means, just saying that there was no giggling from me about it.

  20. ‘The Blues Brothers’ was/is an R-rated movie? I can’t understand why: it’s a musical, and one of the funniest at that.

    OK, there’s some language, but no nudity and no violence. Well, only “cartoon violence”.

    Anyway, if ‘The Blues Brothers’ is R-rated, that’s my pick.

    The movie is rated ‘G’ in Belgium, by the way. Acceptable for all.

    • EM

      It was indeed rated R by the MPAA. And you’ve answered your own question: language and violence. I’m not aware that being a musical or being funny has ever been a shield against an R rating.

      • True, that was a crappy train of thought of mine. Point is: no child will ever be harmed by watching “The Blues Brothers”. The R-rating is ridiculous.