The comedy movie genre slowly faded throughout the 2010s. As star-studded comedies like Dirty Grandpa and Holmes & Watson were universally panned by critics, audiences began seeking humor elsewhere in comic book actioners like Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. But as long as there are talented filmmakers out there, there will always be hilarious comedies.
Even as the genre died something of a death, gems like Bridesmaids and This is the End stood out and became hits. The decade introduced moviegoing audiences to comedic villains like Boris the Animal, a douche named Douche, and a possessed Jonah Hill.
10 Boris The Animal (Men In Black 3)
After the first sequel to Men in Black was criticized for sticking to familiar gags and storylines, the threequel shook things up with a time-travel storyline, introducing Josh Brolin as a young Agent K alongside Will Smith’s returning Agent J.
Jemaine Clement gives a terrific performance as the big bad of Men in Black 3, a hammy diabolical villain ripped straight from a classic pulpy sci-fi story. Boris the Animal escapes from space prison and sets out to get revenge against MIB, necessitating J to go back to the 1960s and meddle with the Apollo 11 mission.
9 Jonah Hill (This Is The End)
Everybody in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s This is the End has fun playing an exaggerated version of themselves. Hot on the heels of his first Oscar nomination, Jonah Hill relished the opportunity to play a satirical portrait of himself as a pretentious, self-absorbed thespian.
Jonah is revealed to be a villain at the midpoint when he prays for Jay to die. This sinful behavior gets Jonah possessed by a demon, significantly raising the stakes for the final act with parodies of both Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist.
8 Lord Business / The Man Upstairs (The Lego Movie)
When Phil Lord and Christopher Miller signed on to direct a movie about Lego, audiences expected it to be a feature-length toy commercial. The Lego Movie is surprisingly a lot deeper than that, digging into the creativity that Lego toys inspire and the parents who discourage that creativity.
Will Ferrell’s tyrannical villain Lord Business, a corporate overlord who wants everybody in Bricksburg to conform, turns out to be a metaphorical stand-in for “The Man Upstairs,” the father of the kid featured in the live-action segment of the film. He wants to glue the Legos together to keep them in place, stifling his son’s imagination.
7 Phoenix Buchanan (Paddington 2)
The second Paddington movie was met with the same level of universal critical acclaim as its predecessor. The sequel tells an entirely new story: a mystery revolving around a pop-up book that the titular bear buys as a gift.
Hugh Grant gives a delightfully eccentric turn as the villain, Phoenix Buchanan, a narcissistic actor with a diabolical scheme to become rich and famous.
6 Lotso (Toy Story 3)
Voiced by the legendary Ned Beatty, Toy Story 3’s villain Lotso manages to be genuinely menacing despite being a fluffy pink teddy bear. He initially presents himself as friendly, but Beatty nails the character’s sinister turn.
Lotso might look silly, but his actions are awful. At the garbage dump, right after Woody and Buzz put their differences with Lotso aside to save him, he leaves them to die.
5 Billy Bickle (Seven Psychopaths)
Martin McDonagh’s sophomore feature Seven Psychopaths plays like Adaptation directed by Quentin Tarantino. It’s a self-aware satire about a screenwriter named after the movie’s own screenwriter getting swept up in his own story – but this story has guns and explosions and dognappings.
Sam Rockwell plays Billy Bickle, Marty’s actor friend who turns out to have a psychotic streak. In the movie’s second half, Billy commits heinous crimes just to give Marty’s screenplay a fun ending.
4 Pat Farrell (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa)
Since Alan Partridge was conceived as a spoof of sportscasters, a movie about the character shouldn’t work – much less a riff on Die Hard involving the armed siege of a radio station – but Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a triumph.
Colm Meaney makes a hilarious deadpan foil for Alan as the movie’s villain, Pat Farrell. Pat has a sympathetic motivation for the armed takeover: he’s both a grieving widow and a disgruntled ex-employee.
3 Douche (Sausage Party)
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s raunchy, R-rated riff on Pixar’s anthropomorphization of mundane items – 2016’s Sausage Party – is surprisingly existential. Foodstuffs are alive and capable of complex thought. They believe in “The Great Beyond” where they’ll achieve salvation, and find out that they’ve been lied to and the only fate that awaits them is being eaten by humans.
The villain’s characterization is hilariously on-the-nose: he’s a douche named Douche and he’s played by the guy who played “The Douche” on Parks and Recreation. Thanks to Big Mouth, Nick Kroll is now one of the most popular voice actors in the world.
2 The Manson Family (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood)
After Adolf Hitler and white slavers, the latest real-life historical villain that Quentin Tarantino has treated to brutal cinematic retribution is the Manson Family. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s middle-act Spahn Ranch sequence is eerie, unsettling, and builds an undeserved mystique around the Manson cult.
Then, in the darkly comic finale, that mystique is hilariously deflated. The Manson Family members who murdered Sharon Tate go next door instead, where an ex-military ex-stuntman on an acid trip, his vicious attack dog, and a flamethrower-wielding TV cowboy are waiting to take them all out in a triumphant bloodbath.
1 Helen Harris III (Bridesmaids)
Rose Byrne gives one of the greatest performances in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids as Helen Harris III, the affluent rival maid of honor who swoops in and usurps Kristen Wiig’s Annie.
A straightforward comedic performer would’ve just leaned into Helen’s hysterically hateable elitism. Byrne has the comedic chops to wring all the possible laughs out of Helen’s personality flaws, but she also has the dramatic abilities to humanize her and bring out her vulnerabilities.
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