Things are always better with your friends and the same thing applies to movies. Larger casts mean more of your favorite faces interacting, which can only lead to satisfying results, right? That, dear film lover, is where you might go wrong, but don’t fret! We at Collider have collected the cream of the crop to facilitate your enjoyment. What follows is a list of the best ensemble comedy films that will keep your belly aching from laughter.
Rat Race (2001)
Rat Race is a brilliant farce wrapped up in emphasizing the funny bones of everyone involved. The film follows an assortment of ordinary people as they are pitted against each other in a race for millions of dollars by a deranged hotel owner, who has planned this event to entertain his wealthiest guests. With a myriad of hilarious people like Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Wayne Knight, Kathy Najimy, Jon Lovitz, and Seth Green. Oh, and did we mention Cuba Gooding Jr. is in this? Gooding Jr. shows a rare inclination for slapstick that will make your eyes water from laughter. It is not often a collection of actors with such varying styles of comedy mesh well together, but with Rat Race the group clicks perfectly. As if they’d been performing the script as a stage play for years before bringing it to the silver screen.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
It’s not very often a movie is so good that it ends up defining a whole subgenre of entertainment. However, with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer filling the shoes of the core ensemble, This Is Spinal Tap seals its place as the gold standard of mockumentaries. The trio portray an egotistical metal band doing everything in their power to get back on top so well it’s hard to believe they’re not real musicians. All credit goes to the actor’s ability to tune into each other’s timing and schtick, as well as expert direction by Rob Reiner. From hilarious set design mix-ups to turning it up to 11, the group never fails to outdo themselves in their vanity.
I Heart Huckabees (2004)
A wholly unique brand of comedy mixed with philosophy, I Heart Huckabees will make you wonder what the purpose of your existence is while helping you find the humor in it. The story is about a man who is so lost in his life that he hires an existential detective agency to figure out where everything went wrong for him. To bring this philoso-comedy to life, the story relies on Jason Swartzman, Mark Walberg, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, and Dustin Hoffman. Together, their acting talents easily play off one another to dole out David O. Russell and Jeff Baena’s cerebral jokes with panache.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Undoubtedly, one of the most rewatchable films in existence, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story proves that getting hit in the face with a red rubber ball will never not be funny. Both directing and acting as the main villain, Ben Stiller finds humor in more than just the slapstick promised in the title. It’s through how Stiller plays his bad guys against the heroes that the real comedic gems begin to be unearthed. Classic faces like Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Justin Long, Rip Torn, Stephen Root, Alan Tudyk, Chris Williams, Missy Pyle, Joel David Moore, and Jamal Duff deliver belly-aching laughs. The cast let’s their weirdness run wild for our enjoyment and we at Collider think we’re better off as a species for it.
Hot Rod (2007)
A love letter to all of the daredevils back in the day, Hot Rod proves itself to be worthy of this list through the collaboration between Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Isla Fisher, Will Arnett, Ian Mcshane, and Danny McBride. Hot Rod is about an aspiring stuntman, who’s failed almost every stunt he’s attempted, trying one last big one to raise enough money for his step-father’s surgery; so that he will be able to kick his step-father’s ass before he dies. The way the cast portrays the friendship at the heart of the movie allows the outlandish humor to hit home. It reminds us of the nonsense we would get up to when we were younger with the kids in our neighborhoods. With a slew of other recognizable faces filling out tertiary roles, every part, no matter how small, delivers big laughs.
The Suicide Squad (2021)
The most contemporary of the films on the list and the most bloody, The Suicide Squad revels in the chaotic humor that results from mismatching roles. In the movie, a group of incarcerated supervillains are given a chance at freedom in exchange for cooperation and the success of a deadly government mission. With the villains now the heroes, we are treated to all the entertaining character contradictions that make up the best of comedies. James Gunn directs the film to be a bloody good laugh, both literally and metaphorically, and enlists the help of John Cena, Margot Robbie, Sylvester Stallone, Nathan Fillion, Pete Davidson, and David Dastmalchian. The main surprise in the ensemble’s humorous chemistry comes in the form of Idris Elba as he leads the cast on with an adept funny-man and action hero combo.
If you haven’t seen Anchorman by now, we think it’s time to change that. Absurd gags, memorable one-liners, and unbelievable improv come together to formulate a movie that will have you laughing from beginning to end. Boasting some of the biggest names in the comedy business, Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Chris Parnell, and Fred Willard; it’s hard to imagine any universe where their partnership wouldn’t result in success. Anchorman is directed by Adam McKay (Step Brothers) to perfection. McKay gives the confidence and freedom to his actors to have fun and discover the funniest choice for each scene. Which, in turn, allows all the collaborative humor to feel natural and unforced. This is one of those films where you can feel how much fun the cast was having through the on-screen chemistry.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Starting out the century on a high cinematic note, Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven might not be the most through-and-through comedy, but the cast’s natural chemistry would make the argument otherwise. We follow a group of thieves as they plan and execute a daring heist on, not one, but three casinos in a single night. Though Soderbergh grounds his film in human drama, all of the scenes are lined with jokes and shenanigans pulled off effortlessly by a star-studded cast; who are not all known for comedic roles, with the exception being the late great Bernie Mack and Carl Reiner. In Ocean’s Eleven, you’ll see George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, and Casey Affleck goofing around as they go about pulling off one of the most entertaining movie heists ever assembled.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
David Wain has a sick and twisted mind, and we love it. Wet Hot American Summer is a spoof of the 1980s style of teen movies that don’t take the foot off the farcical pedal for one second. What’s so wonderful about this ensemble is that most of the roles were filled with then-unknown actors who have since become notable faces including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, and Elizabeth Banks. Also joined by Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Molly Shannon, and Michael Ian Black, this film has an over-the-top sense of humor that every actor is willing to take to its hyperbolic extreme. It’s clear from watching even a little of this movie to see the cast found a lasting bond in their collaboration.
The Princess Bride (1987)
The second film directed by Rob Reiner to grace this list, and a shining example of actors elevating each other’s performances, The Princess Bride is the kind of movie to make your soul smile. An epic fantasy tale told by a grandfather, Peter Falk, to his grandson, Fred Savage, it revels in the craft of storytelling and reminds us why we tell them. With Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, Wallace Shawn, Carol Kane, and Andre the Giant filling the fantasy portion of the ensemble, this troupe finds playing off each other’s talents to come naturally. Whether it’s making a rhyme to pass the time or convincing a miracle worker to bring a friend back to life, this cast keeps us entranced with their imaginative collective execution.
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