2012 was a major year for movies at the box office, as four different movies grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. It was the year of franchises with The Twilight Saga ending, phase one of the MCU coming to an end, The Hunger Games beginning, and Spider-Man getting a reboot with Andrew Garfield.
While action/adventure movies dominated the box office in 2012, there were still other movies being released that were worth visiting theaters for, including a slew of comedies. Unlike past and future years, the comedy genre of 2012 was dominated by R-rated movies that pushed boundaries and poked fun of all sorts of things, including dictatorships and imaginary friends.
21 Jump Street – Released On March 16th, 2012
People who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s remember 21 Jump Street as a television series, but in 2012, Hollywood decided to turn the TV show into a movie franchise. The movie was a commercial and critical success and even earned itself a sequel that was released in 2014.
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill played opposite each other as two police officers who are forced to go undercover in a high school in the hopes of stopping a new drug outbreak. While they have mixed feelings about returning to high school, they quickly learn that the dynamic between students has changed drastically since their time.
The Dictator – Released On May 16th, 2012
Sacha Baron Cohen has become synonymous with absurd comedy characters, but he stretched his absurdity in the political satire comedy movie, The Dictator. However, not everyone agreed with the movie’s contents, which led it to get mixed reviews from critics and even banned in several countries.
In the movie, Cohen plays Gen. Aladeen, the ruler of the fictional North African country of Wadiya. After one too many assassination attempts, Aladeen’s family convinces him to leave the country, which is how he ends up in New York.
That’s My Boy – Released On June 15th, 2012
Adam Sandler is no stranger to releasing hit or miss comedy movies, but even when they flop at the box office, they usually have some kind of cult appeal. Unfortunately, that was not the case for his 2012 satirical comedy That’s My Boy, which has been called one of the worst movies ever made.
The movie centers on Donny (Sandler) a loser who rises to fame after being the subject of a teacher-student statutory rape case that resulted in pregnancy. Now broke and middle-aged, Donny tries to rekindle his relationship with his adult son (Andy Samberg) for a television special.
Ted – Released On June 19th, 2012
Teddy bears are cute and innocent stuffed animals that children and adults flock to. However, all of that changed in 2012 with the release of Seth MacFarlane’s comedy movie Ted. Not only did MacFarlane pen the script, but it also marked his directorial debut.
John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) has been best friends with teddy bear Ted (MacFarlane) ever since he was a young kid and wished for Ted to come to life. Ted has grown up with John, learning his habits and vocabulary, which makes the cuddly teddy bear the opposite of the kid-friendly toy he started out as, making the comedy all the more hilarious.
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection – Released On June 29th, 2012
Tyler Perry’s Madea Cinematic Universe got its seventh installment when Madea’s Witness Protection was released in theaters on June 29th, 2012. The movie went on to be one of Tyler Perry’s most successful movies of all time, ranking in third place.
Madea’s Witness Protection centers on Madea (Perry) who has agreed to take in a family placed under witness protection. The family in question includes George Needleman (Eugene Levy), an oblivious Wall Street banker who is being framed for a Ponzi scheme.
The Watch – Released On July 27th, 2012
Despite featuring a talented and hilarious cast which included Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade, The Watch is largely forgotten when it comes to movies released in 2012. Perhaps, it’s due in part to the fact the movie spent several years in development constantly being changed.
The Watch that was finally released ended up centering on a group of four men from a suburban Ohio town who form a neighborhood watch group. Nothing exciting or dangerous happens in their town, which allows them to goof off most of the time. That is until they discover aliens are living amongst them.
The Campaign – Released On August 10th, 2012
2012 was a big year for political satire comedy movies, which was both a good and a bad thing for Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis’ The Campaign. While it didn’t get banned from countries like Sacha Baron Cohen’s political satire, it also didn’t break any records at the box office, leaving it in mediocre territory.
The Campaign centers on Congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) whose Congressional seat is in danger after he majorly embarrasses himself and his constituents. Determined to get him out of office, two wealthy CEOs approach a tourism director (Galifianakis) to run against Cam in the next election.
Pitch Perfect – Released On September 28th, 2012
While Pitch Perfect might not have made a record amount of money at the box office, it is arguably the most remembered comedy movie of the 2012s. In fact, the movie is considered one of the best “sleeper hits” of all time.
The musical comedy movie centers on Becca (Anna Kendrix), an aspiring music producer who winds up in her college’s all-female a cappella group. Though it takes some convincing, Becca’s producing talents are able to help take The Barden Bellas to a whole other level, making them viable opponents to their all-male counterpart, The Trebblemakers.
Young Adult – Released On December 9th, 2012
While Charlize Theron might be best known for starring in some of the biggest action movies of all time, like Mad Max: Fury Road, she also dabbles in other genres like comedies. In 2012, Theron led the comedy movie Young Adult, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress — Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
The underrated comedy movie centers on Mavis Gary (Theron), a successful young adult novelist who is experiencing a mid-life crisis of sorts after finding out her high school boyfriend had a daughter. Mavis decides to go back to her hometown in the hopes of stealing back her happily married ex-boyfriend.
This Is 40 – Released On December 21st, 2012
This Is 40 is arguably one of Judd Apatow’s most successful and most memorable movies and he directed, wrote, and produced the project. However, the movie wasn’t without criticism, with many complaining that the movie was too long for a comedy.
The movie, which is a spin-off of Apatow’s Knocked Up, centers on Pete (Paul Rudd) and his wife Debbie (Leslie Mann), both of whom are pushing 40. As their 40th birthdays approach, the couple must lean on each other to navigate their ever-changing chaotic world.
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