Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams’ movie “Eurovision Song Contest” debuted on Netflix last Friday. The film was Netflix’s first comedy worth watching in months after a string of failures, including “The Wrong Missy” and the now especially ill-conceived cop movie about race relations “Coffee & Kareem.”
Netflix has figured out a winning formula for courting talented dramatic directors to do what they do best. But the service still finds itself with a poor success rate when it comes to comedy movies. The occasional comedic winner only appears once or twice a year.
Below are a few of those winners, including the recent Ferrell and McAdams movie.
Read on for all of the recommendations. And if you want to stay informed about everything joining Netflix every week, subscribe to the Streamline newsletter.
Premise: Will Ferrell co-wrote this loving parody of the Eurovision Song Contest. The story follows a duo of quirky Icelandic friends who spend decades dreaming about performing in the contest. By a fluke, they actually get to do so. The pair spend the movie trying to live up to the expectations of Iceland, their parents and each other.
Setting: Iceland and Scotland
Notable cast: Pierce Brosnan, Will Ferrell, Demi Lovato, Rachel McAdams and Dan Stevens
Debut date: June 26, 2020
Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes
Premise: David Wain directed this biopic about Douglas Kenney, the co-founder of National Lampoon and creator of movies such as “Animal House” and “Caddyshack.” The movie’s story follows Kenney and his best friend, Henry Beard, as they grow up from Harvard students to adults. Together they create a new comedic subculture together. The two are responsible for discovering stars such as Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, who all went on to be the early cast members of “Saturday Night Live.”
Setting: 1960s to 1980s United States, including the cities of Boston and New York
Notable cast: Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, Joel McHale, Martin Mull and Emmy Rossum
Debut date: Jan. 26, 2018
Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Premise: This biopic focuses on Rudy Ray Moore, an entertainer who can’t catch a break. He pivots to comedy and finds success by creating a ridiculous character for himself. The movie centers around a ragtag movie that Moore makes with a team of other Black creatives that goes onto amass cult success.
Setting: 1970s Los Angeles
Notable cast: Tituss Burgess, Mike Epps, Keegan-Michael Key, Eddie Murphy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Craig Robinson and Wesley Snipes
Debut date: Oct. 25, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes
Premise: Noah Baumbach wrote and directed this movie about a dysfunctional family who comes together when the overbearing patriarch gets sick. The adult siblings get on one another’s nerves while their ailing father continues to demand unquestioning acknowledgment of his artistic genius. The father’s illness, paired with a career setback for his sculpture art, makes him seem less infallible. As such, the whole family must reckon with mortality. This description may sound dark, but it stars comedic actors, and the humor comes with their absurd reckonings with the situation.
Setting: New York City and surrounding area
Notable cast: Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Emma Thompson
Debut date: Oct. 13, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Premise: Amy Poehler directed this friendship-centric movie about friends who reconvene after many years to celebrate a 50th birthday. The women go to Napa Valley to drink wine and spend time in the scenic outdoors. Since they haven’t seen each other in person for quite some time, secrets and hidden hardships come out. The hijinks and bonding help the struggles.
Setting: Napa Valley, California
Notable cast: Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph
Debut date: May 10, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Premise: This comedy blends with the horror genre as it focuses on a man whose stepson is an Antichrist-like child. As the child’s desire for evil grows, the stepdad enlists some friends to help figure out what’s going on. Some of the humor comes from parody, but this isn’t like the “Scary Movie” format. Most of the comedy comes from the jokes and buddy camaraderie between the man and his friends as they go on this mission.
Setting: Midwest town
Notable cast: Bridget Everett, Donald Faison, Sally Field, Evangeline Lilly and Adam Scott
Debut date: Sept. 1, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Premise: Scott Aukerman wrote and directed this movie adaptation of the popular web-series of the same name. In the film, Galifianakis’ terrible interviewer character travels the country interviewing celebrities. These interviews keep going awry, but Galifianakis and his team press on.
Setting: A road trip across the United States
Notable cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Ryan Gaul, Lauren Lapkus and Jiavani Linayao
Debut date: Sept. 20, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 22 minutes