It can sometimes feel like, in the year 2023, great comedy movies are in short supply. There was an era in the early 2000s when they were dominant at the box office, but that era is definitely over.
In spite of this, though, there are still a few comedy gems every year, and 2023 has accounted for more than its fair share. Even though the year isn’t over yet, we already have three genuinely great comedies that you should check out as soon as you can.
One of the biggest hits of 2023, Barbie is a movie that basically everyone has at least heard of. The movie follows a Barbie known as Stereotypical Barbie as she begins to experience strange feelings for the first time and then decides to journey to the real world to figure out what’s wrong with the person playing with her.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie is full of sharp commentary about feminism, the patriarchy, and what the dolls that the movie is based on mean to the broader culture. On top of all of that, though, Barbie is also genuinely hilarious, thanks in large part to a brilliant supporting turn from Ryan Gosling.
Jennifer Lawrence is one of our last great movie stars, and No Hard Feelings may be the movie that best proves it. Starring Lawrence as a thirtysomething bartender living in Long Island, the movie focuses on her relationship with a 19-year-old high school graduate who needs to be brought out of his shell.
He’s so shy, in fact, that his parents hire Lawrence to take his virginity, a task she is willing to perform in exchange for a used car. No Hard Feelings is surprisingly tender and surprisingly raunchy, and it’s the kind of 90-minute comedy we don’t get enough of anymore unless someone like Lawrence is willing to put their weight behind it.
Perhaps the most under-the-radar comedy of the year to date, Joy Ride is a hilarious exploration of the complexity of identity. The film tells the story of four friends who travel across China together, in part so that one of them can find her birth parents.
Where the story goes from there involves plenty of raunchiness, a lot of cocaine in places it shouldn’t be, and some of the best jokes you’re likely to get from a comedy all year. Featuring outstanding central performances from Ashley Park, American Born Chinese‘s Stephanie Hsu, and Sherry Cola, Joy Ride is exactly what its title suggests it would be.