The 10 Best Comedies of 2019 (So Far)

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In 2019, everyone could use a reason to laugh. But in 2019, a comedy should be more than just a funny movie. At the top of the heap are movies that turn the normal comedy structure on its head. And for the first time in a while, the best comedy list is finally sprinkled with some romantic comedies. But the essence of a great comedy is something that is equal parts hilarious and thoughtful, and that’s what most of these films do the best. Whether your jam is animation, superheroes, or just a good coming of age story, 2019’s best comedies have your back.

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Isn’t It Romantic

Isn’t it Romantic has a nice premise: an altered state takes Rebel Wilson’s character’s life and turns it into a rom-com. Problem is: she is the hater of all things rom-com. The film is charming enough and the big message at the end of the day is that Rebel Wilson’s Natalie was lacking the self-assuredness she deserves to have.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

How to Train Your Dragon doesn’t get enough credit for being the substantial animated trilogy that it is. The third installment is the perfect finale to the coming of age story, too. Bonus: it helps that the film boasts the voice acting of everyone from Cate Blanchett to Jonah Hill.

Shazam!

Zachary Levi does a fantastic job of stepping into the spandex suit of Shazam, the superhero persona of Billy Baston. Telling the story of a teenage boy who can turn into a superhero when he calls out the magic word (one chance to guess what it is…), Shamaz! was a surprisingly sincere take on the DC Comics character.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu is its own beast. The buddy action movie brings the pocket monsters alive in a way unlike any other time before, but the key to the movie’s success is Ryan Reynolds’ hilarious portrayal of Pikachu—the only pokémon in the movie with the capability to speak to humans. If you’re not an OG fan of the animé, fear not: Pokémon Detective Pikachu is funny enough to be enjoyed by all.

Late Night

Late Night is Mindy Kaling’s Sundance darling that landed a wide summer release. The story follows a late night talk show host (Emma Thompson) whose career is on the line when she discovers her ratings have tanked. Of course, that could all be turned around with a new writer (Mindy Kaling) who isn’t afraid to step outside of the box.

Always Be My Maybe

Netflix movies can be hit and miss, but the streaming platform has really honed in on how to turn out a pretty decent rom-com. In this one, two childhood sweethearts reconnect after years apart, and as you can imagine… the sparks return. But the most important part is that Ali Wong and Randall Park are incredible at carrying a rom-com.

Fighting with My Family

Who’d have thought that a WWE-produced movie could be so good? The story of real life professional wrestler Paige arrives as a somewhat-biographical film of her ascent to fame. After getting the opportunity to audition for the WWE, Paige (who is actually named Saraya) and her brother take their shot, but when she makes it further than him, it’s up to her to stay strong when she’s (literally) against the ropes.

Long Shot

Seth Rogen stars as a reporter who ends up crossing paths again with his former babysitter, played by Charlize Theron. Big twist? She’s also Secretary of State. But the impossible set up proves to be a charming enough entry with the help of its cast. Rogen and Theron make up for more than a few structural issues in this otherwise hilarious comedy.

The Beach Bum

The Beach Bum should have just been terrible, and yet, it is the absolute perfect comedic vehicle for Matthew McConaughey. While the actor has been making more dramatic turns lately, The Beach Bum has him playing the slightly scruffy, rough around the edges stoner bro that’s always prepped and ready for a drink on the beach. It’s not his greatest film, but if any movie has captured McConaughey’s aesthetic, it’s this one.

Booksmart

Call it the “female Superbad.” Or read it for what it really is—a fantastic coming of age film for young women that has been sorely missing from the comedic canon for a while now. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut was an outstanding showing, and the film feels perfectly timed. Even if it didn’t crush at the box office, Booksmart‘s journey of do-good girls getting in one wild tryst before graduation is pitch perfect.

Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment.

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