50 must-see comedies from the 2000s, according to critics

New Line Cinema; Fox Searchlight; DreamWorksThere were a wide variety of comedies made in the 2000s.

The 2000s saw the release of an eclectic mix of romantic-comedies, action parodies, and animated family films.

Memorable comedies like “I Love You, Man” (2009), “Superbad” (2007), and “Shrek”(2001) are still referenced years later.

Films like “Mean Girls” (2004), “Shaun of the Dead” (2004), and “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006) became cult classics.

Critics also loved hidden gems like “Ghost World” (2001), “Sideways” (2004), and “Murder Party” (2007).

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From animated adventures and satires to rom-coms and dramedies, the 2000s offered a wide variety of unique and memorable comedic films.
Here are 50 must-see comedies from the 2000s that have a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 85% or higher.
A groom-to-be searches for his best man in “I Love You, Man” (2009).
DreamWorks PicturesFrom left to right: J.K. Simmons, Lou Ferrigno, Joe Lo Truglio, Paul Rudd, Thomas Lennon, and Andy Samberg.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Summary: After proposing to the woman of his dreams (Rashida Jones), Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) quickly realises that he doesn’t have any male friends in his life to step in as his best man.
But after Peter meets Sydney (Jason Segel), he feels like he’s finally found the one.
“Adventureland” (2009) captures life at an amusement park in 1987.
MiramaxKristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in ‘Adventureland.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Summary: Set in the summer of 1987, recent college graduate James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) reluctantly takes a job working as an underpaid theme park employee and finds an unexpected camaraderie with his new coworker Em (Kristen Stewart).
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009) is a stop-motion animation about a family of foxes.
20th Century Fox‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ was directed by Wes Anderson.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Summary: In Wes Anderson’s animated comedy, a community of animals must band together when smooth-talking Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) angers three local farmers.
“A Serious Man” (2009) centres on an unlucky professor.
Focus FeaturesMichael Stuhlbarg in ‘A Serious Man.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Summary: In the dark comedy, Midwest-based physics professor Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) seeks advice from three different rabbis as he struggles with a strained marriage and a flurry of bad luck in the late 1960s.
“Up” (2009) is an adventure comedy about holding onto your dreams.
Disney/PixarEdward Asner voiced Carl in ‘Up.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Summary: Following through on a promise he made to his late wife, Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner) attaches balloons to his house to accomplish a seemingly impossible flight to South America.
But Carl soon realises that he has a stowaway on board in the form of a young wilderness explorer named Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai).
The dramatic comedy “Up in the Air” (2009) is about finding a work-life balance.
Paramount PicturesAnna Kendrick and George Clooney in ‘Up in the Air.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Summary: In the dramatic comedy, frequent flier businessman Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) reevaluates his workaholic tendencies, and the toll they take on his personal life, after his company downsizes its travel budget.
“The Princess and the Frog” (2009) is a magical, animated comedy.
Disney StudiosBruno Campos and Anika Noni Rose voiced the main characters in ‘The Princess and the Frog.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Summary: In the animated tale, hard-working New Orleans waitress Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) gets more than she bargained for when she kisses a frog (voiced by Bruno Campos) and is transformed into a frog herself.
A teen falls in love with roller derby in “Whip It” (2009).
Fox Searchlight PicturesEllen Page in ‘Whip It.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Summary: In the female-led comedy, Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) leaves the beauty-pageant circuit in her small Texas town to pursue a newfound love for roller derby with the help of locals Maggie “Mayhem” (Kristen Wiig) and “Smashley” Simpson (Drew Barrymore).
“500 Days of Summer” (2009) looks back on a complicated relationship.
Fox SearchlightJoseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in ‘500 Days of Summer.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Summary: In the dramatic comedy, greeting-card writer Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls for his new coworker Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), only for her to reveal that she doesn’t believe in love.
“World’s Greatest Dad” (2009) highlights what it means to be a father.
Magnolia Pictures via NetflixRobin Williams in ‘World’s Greatest Dad.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Summary: In the dramatic comedy, high-school poetry teacher Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) struggles to raise his obstinate teenage son Kyle (Daryl Sabara).
“Zombieland” (2009) follows strangers brought together during a zombie apocalypse.
Columbia PicturesEmma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Woody Harrelson in ‘Zombieland.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Summary: Buttoned-up Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) fights to survive during a devastating zombie pandemic with the help of several strangers, including Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” (2009) is a silly comedy about an invention gone awry.
Sony / ColumbiaAnna Faris and Bill Hader voiced the main characters in ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Summary: In the animated comedy, inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) attracts the attention of weather reporter Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris) when he builds an unwieldy contraption that makes food rain down from the sky.
The comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008) is about moving on from an ex.
Universal PicturesJason Segel in ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Summary: Heartbroken after a devastating break-up with his celebrity girlfriend (Kristen Bell), composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) tries to gain distance from his ex by flying to Hawaii, only to discover that she is staying at the same resort.
Two hit men go stir crazy in “In Bruges” (2008).
Focus FeaturesColin Ferrell in ‘In Bruges.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
Summary: In the dark comedy, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) kill time in Belgium as they await orders from their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) after a particularly bloody job in London.
“Hairspray” (2007) is a musical comedy set in 1960s Baltimore.
New Line CinemaQueen Latifah in ‘Hairspray.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Summary: The musical comedy, which is a remake of the original 1988 film that inspired the Broadway show, centres on young Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) as she yearns for television fame and quickly becomes disillusioned by the harsher realities of growing up in 1960s Baltimore.
A rat with a passion for cooking helps a young chef in “Ratatouille” (2007).
Disney / PixarPatton Oswalt and Lou Romano voiced two of the main characters in ‘Ratatouille.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%
Summary: In the Pixar animated comedy, a rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) forms an unlikely bond with aspiring chef Linguini (voiced by Lou Romano) as he teaches the young cook how to make extraordinary meals in the heart of Paris.
A baker looks for a way out of a strained marriage in “Waitress” (2007).
Fox Searchlight PicturesKeri Russell in ‘Waitress.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Summary: Trapped in a controlling marriage, Jenna (Keri Russell) is left reeling when she finds out that she’s pregnant. As she prepares for the birth of her baby, Jenna escapes from her worries by baking unique recipes, leaning on her coworkers, and striking up a risky relationship with her doctor (Nathan Fillion).
Unpopular teens lock down a party invite in “Superbad” (2007).
Columbia PicturesJonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in ‘Superbad.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Summary: When they’re presented with a rare opportunity to attend a high-school party, best friends Evan (Michael Cera) and Seth (Jonah Hill) go down a rabbit hole of bad decision making as they try to procure drinks for their first rager.
“Murder Party” (2007) is a horror comedy set on Halloween.
Lab of MadnessChris Sharp in ‘Murder Party.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Summary: On Halloween night, Christopher (Chris Sharp) stumbles across an odd invitation for a “murder party” and shows up in a makeshift costume, only to discover that the sadistic party hosts are taking their theme literally.
A sweet princess is thrust into modern-day New York in “Enchanted” (2007).
DisneyAmy Adams in ‘Enchanted.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Summary: In the Disney musical comedy, animated princess Giselle (Amy Adams) falls through a portal and emerges in the chaotic real world of New York City, where she meets cynical lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey).
Bemused by her charm and naivety, Robert tries to help Giselle return to her enchanted land so that she can reunite with her prince (James Marsden).
“2 Days in Paris” (2007) is a snapshot look at modern love.
Samuel Goldwyn Film/Red EnvelopeAdam Goldberg and Julie Delpy in ‘2 Days in Paris.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
Summary: In the dramatic comedy, long-term couple Marion (Julie Delpy) and Jack (Adam Goldberg) find their relationship unexpectedly strained during a European vacation that was supposed to bring them closer as a couple.
A teen deals with an unexpected pregnancy in “Juno” (2007).
Fox Searchlight PicturesEllen Page and Michael Cera in ‘Juno.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Summary: Smart-talking teen Juno (Ellen Page) faces adulthood too soon when she is saddled with an unexpected pregnancy.
Realising that she’s not ready to raise a child, Juno finds a likable pair of adoptive parents in Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark (Jason Bateman).
“Hot Fuzz” (2007) is a parody of buddy-cop films.
UniversalSimon Pegg and Nick Frost in ‘Hot Fuzz.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Summary: After police constable Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is relocated to the countryside and paired up with a lacklustre new partner named Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), he feels like his best days on the force are behind him.
But when strange occurrences pop up in their small town, he suddenly suspects a larger plot is afoot.
Opposites attract in the romantic comedy “Knocked Up” (2007).
Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen in ‘Knocked Up.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Summary: When a one-night stand between high-powered journalist Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) and slacker Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) culminates in an unexpected pregnancy, the two are forced to reevaluate the prospects of a casual relationship for the sake of the baby.
“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (2006) is a mockumentary about American culture.
20th Century FoxSasha Baron Cohen in ‘Borat.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Summary: In the mockumentary, journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) travels to the United States to immerse himself in American culture and leaves offended and confused interview subjects in his wake.
A young student crosses class lines in “Starter for 10” (2006).
PicturehouseJames McAvoy in ‘Starter for 10.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Summary: Brian Jackson (James McAvoy), an English boy from Essex with a low-income background, transcends class expectations by qualifying for an elite University Challenge quiz team in mid-1980s Britain.
A dysfunctional family hits the road for a beauty pageant in “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006).
Fox Searchlight PicturesAbigail Breslin in ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Summary: When precocious 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) is presented with the rare opportunity to compete for the Little Miss Sunshine crown in California, her dysfunctional family piles into a Volkswagen van and hits the road for the pageant.
“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (2005) is a comedic take on the hard-boiled detective genre.
Warner Bros. PicturesRobert Downey Jr. in ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Summary: Thief-turned-actor Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) and private investigator Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) get mixed up in a murder investigation when struggling actress Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan) asks them to look into her sister’s death.
A sweet nerd looks for love in “40-Year-Old Virgin” (2005).
Universal PicturesSteve Carell in ’40-Year-Old Virgin.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Summary: When sweet but shy Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) reveals that he’s still a virgin, his coworkers – David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco), and Cal (Seth Rogen) – take it upon themselves to help him find a girlfriend.
A superhero family conceals their powers in “The Incredibles” (2004).
Disney/Pixar‘The Incredibles’ is Pixar’s original superhero story.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Summary: Once-famous superheroes, Bob Parr (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) and his wife Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter) struggle to adjust to domestic life as they run a household with three children who all have super abilities of their own.
But when Bob falls into the traps of a new scheme, those powers just might come in handy.
Two old friends visit vineyards in “Sideways” (2004).
Fox SearchlightPaul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church in ‘Sideways.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Summary: Wine enthusiast Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes his old friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a trip to the vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley the week before Jack’s wedding. While on the road, they meet two women, Stephanie (Sandra Oh) and Maya (Virginia Madsen).
A larger-than-life elf searches for his birth father in “Elf” (2003).
Warner BrosWill Ferrell in ‘Elf.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
Summary: Buddy (Will Ferrell), a human raised among elves, has always felt out of place at the North Pole. With Santa’s help, Buddy travels to New York City to meet his biological father (James Caan) and spreads Christmas cheer along the way.
Shrek struggles to impress his in-laws in “Shrek 2” (2004).
DreamworksCameron Diaz and Mike Myers voiced the main characters in ‘Shrek 2.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Summary: In the animated sequel, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) travel to the kingdom of Far, Far Away with Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) in tow. But Shrek quickly feels out of place as he fails to impress Fiona’s royal parents.
A new girl tries to find her place in high school in “Mean Girls” (2004).
Paramount PicturesLindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert, and Rachel McAdams in ‘Mean Girls.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
Summary: After moving to the US from Africa, new girl Cady (Lindsay Lohan) struggles to find her place at a high school driven by cliques and ruled by popular mean girl Regina George (Rachel McAdams).
“Shaun of the Dead” (2004) is a zombie-apocalypse film with a comedic edge.
Universal PicturesKate Ashfield, Simon Pegg, and Lucy Davis in ‘Shaun of the Dead.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Summary: In the horror-comedy, an electronics store employee named Shaun (Simon Pegg) surprises his friends and himself when he takes charge during a zombie invasion and comes up with a plan to get everyone to a pub in the middle of town.
A struggling actor returns to his hometown in “Garden State” (2004).
Fox Searchlight PicturesNatalie Portman and Zach Braff in ‘Garden State.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Summary: After the sudden death of his mother,struggling actor Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) flies from Los Angeles back to New Jersey to attend her funeral. In the space of three days, he connects with old friends like Mark (Peter Sarsgaard) and falls for his quirky neighbour Sam (Natalie Portman).
A couple tries to erase their memories of each other in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004).
Focus FeaturesKate Winslet and Jim Carrey in ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Summary: Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) learns that his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has undergone a radical new procedure to erase memories of their relationship from her brain, and he elects to do the same.
A daughter and mother switch bodies in “Freaky Friday” (2003).
Buena Vista PicturesJamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in ‘Freaky Friday.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Summary: Complete opposites in every way, Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her rebellious daughter Anna (Lindsay Lohan) wake up one day to find that they have magically swapped bodies.
With Tess’ wedding fast approaching, she and Anna desperately look for a way to switch back.
“Bend It Like Beckham” (2003) is a sports comedy with lots of heart.
Fox Searchlight PicturesParminder Nagra, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Keira Knightley in ‘Bend It Like Beckham.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Summary: Jess (Parminder Nagra) aspires to be a soccer star like her role model David Beckham but faces pushback from her traditional Indian family. With the support of her friend Jules (Keira Knightley), Jess is forced to choose between her dreams and familial expectations.
Two strangers find comfort in each other in “Lost in Translation” (2003).
Focus FeaturesBill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in ‘Lost in Translation.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Summary: While passing through Tokyo, actor Bob Harris (Bill Murray) meets young Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) at a hotel bar, where they strike up an unlikely friendship and bond over feeling lost and overwhelmed in a new city.
Christopher Guest satirizes American folk music in “A Mighty Wind” (2003).
Castle Rock EntertainmentJohn Michael Higgins and Jane Lynch in ‘A Mighty Wind.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
Summary: After the passing of a major music legend, three folk bands come together for a special concert at New York’s town hall in the Christopher Guest mockumentary starring Michael McKean, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O’Hara.
A musician finds untapped talent in his newfound students in “School of Rock” (2003).
Paramount PicturesMiranda Cosgrove starred in ‘School of Rock.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Summary: Washed-up musician Dewey Finn (Jack Black) pretends to be a substitute teacher at an elite prep school to make some extra cash, but he discovers that the students he’s teaching harbour hidden musical talents.
A mother and a daughter are both dealing with judgment surrounding their personal lives in “Saving Face” (2005).
Destination FilmsMichelle Krusiec and Lynn Chen in ‘Saving Face.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Summary: Wil Pang’s (Michelle Krusiec) mother (Joan Chen) was never supportive of her being a lesbian, but when she shows up at her daughter’s door as a 48-year-old pregnant widow, they both have to face their family’s judgment of their personal lives.
To get her mother out of her life, Wil tries to set her up with an eligible bachelor so that she can return to living with her own father – who banned her from their family home when he discovered she was pregnant out of wedlock.
A womanizer forms an unlikely friendship with a mother and her son in “About a Boy” (2002).
Universal PicturesHugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult in ‘About a Boy.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Summary: In the dramatic comedy, serial dater Will (Hugh Grant) targets single mothers because he believes they’re easier to date. But his plans are foiled when he makes an unexpected connection with 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), the son of his latest prospect.
An ogre becomes a reluctant hero in “Shrek” (2001).
DreamWork AnimationsMike Myers voiced Shrek and Cameron Diaz voiced Princess Fiona.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Summary: After Lord Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow) evicts fairytale creatures from his kingdom, they pour into Shrek’s (voiced by Michael Myers) private swamp. The enraged ogre sets off on a quest with fast-talking Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) to rescue Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) and reclaim his home.
In “Ghost World” (2001), two teens face their futures.
United ArtistsScarlett Johansson and Thora Birch in ‘Ghost World.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Summary: Based on a graphic novel, the dramatic comedy follows best friends Enid (Thora Birch) and Becky (Scarlett Johansson) in the summer after their high-school graduation as they share crushes and face adulthood.
A spoiled emperor is transformed into a llama in “Emperor’s New Groove” (2000).
DisneyDavid Spade voiced Kuzco in ‘Emperor’s New Groove.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Summary: Spoiled Emperor Kuzco (voiced by David Spade) is in for a rude awakening when his royal advisor Yzma (voiced by Eartha Kitt) transforms him into a llama.
Powerless for the first time in his life, Kuzco seeks out the help of nearby peasant Pacha (voiced by John Goodman) to turn back into a human and reclaim his power.
A young journalist grows close to a rock band in “Almost Famous” (2000).
DreamWorks StudiosKate Hudson and Patrick Fugit in ‘Almost Famous.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Summary: Set in the 1970s, the dramatic comedy follows 15-year-old William (Patrick Fugit) after he’s given an incredible opportunity to join a rock band on tour as a contributing writer for Rolling Stone.
As he grows closer to the band and its groupies, including Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), William tries to stay unbiased as a reporter.
“Chicken Run” (2000) is a stop-motion animation set on a chicken farm.
DreamWorks PicturesJulia Sawalha and Mel Gibson voiced two of the main characters in ‘Chicken Run.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Summary: Set in Yorkshire, England, in the 1950s, the animated comedy follows chickens Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha) and Rocky Rhodes (voiced by Mel Gibson) as they try to rally their friends to escape an untimely death at the hands of evil farmers.
“Best in Show” (2000) parodies the elite world of dog shows.
Warner Bros. PicturesCatherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy in ‘Best in Show.’
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Summary: Christopher Guest’s mockumentary “Best in Show” provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of high-profile dog shows as various dog owners prepare their pooches for the upcoming Mayflower Kennel Club Show in Philadelphia.
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