We laugh in front of a good absurd comedy and we sometimes realize after the fact that there was a real message (not necessarily hidden) behind it. This is not the case with the majority of funny films but some have had the good idea to use humor to convey an idea, to denounce something or simply to raise awareness by saying “you are laughing, but are you? is it really funny? “. So we are going to talk about some of these good comedies which were moreover intelligent or which wanted to speak about a serious subject, even discreetly.
1. Don’t look up (2021)
Unsurprisingly, Adam McKay’s film finds its place in this top because everyone has more or less understood it: this film is not necessarily Armageddon comic version. The real important things that the film tries to denounce is the ability we have to ignore the alarm bells of scientists on a whole bunch of subjects such as global warming but also of the political class blinded by its own interests and its race for success.
2. Idiocracy (2006)
Much more absurd than Don’t look up, this film by Mike Judge (to whom we also owe the good series Silicon Valley) showed us through the eyes of a man and a woman emerging from cryonics after 500 years of sleep that the world had become downright stupid. If the work is really very (very) absurd, it denounced a lot of things: overconsumption, commercialism, declining intellectual level, pollution… And imagined a very dark future for the planet while being funny. It’s scary when you see the evidence that humanity is actually getting stupid.
3. Very bad cops (2010)
Adam McKay’s second film to find its place in this top after Don’t look up, like what the guy is funny and engaged. Very bad cops (Where The other guys in Shakespeare’s language, the English Molière) is a comedy about two looser cops who find themselves investigating a corruption case. If several messages are distilled in the film, it is above all the end credits which arrive without warning and give real startling figures on tax evasion, financial scams and financial scandals such as the subprime crisis.
4. The invention of lying (2009)
In a world where lies don’t exist and people are forced to tell the truth all the time, a man one fine day happens to lie for the very first time. And what’s going on? He makes up (more or less against his will) beautiful lies like the afterlife and that sort of thing that gives people hope. If you can see the film differently depending on your beliefs, it’s interesting in several ways, like the way it shows how you can convince people by finally telling them what they want to hear.
5. The Dictator (1940)
While remaining a Chaplin-style comedy (even if it is the actor’s first film about), The dictator touched on relatively serious subjects, especially since it was produced before the United States entered World War II. By showing the excesses of the dictatorship and its threat to several populations, the film changed American public opinion in favor of European governments which rose up against Nazism across the Atlantic. And that’s already a lot for a comedy.
6. Doctor Stranded (1964)
On paper, making a comedy about the atomic bomb and nuclear war was not completely won. Yet Kubrick gave it a try and the film is still considered a very good comedy, in the first place thanks to its lead actor Peter Sellers. A completely paranoid general who drops the bomb in the middle of the Cold War was a tense subject at that time, but the satire obviously showed absurdly the effort of the US military and government to justify nuclear weaponry.
7. Invasion Los Angeles (1988)
Between SF and comedy, this film by the excellent John Carpenter shows us an ordinary man who finds sunglasses that make him see the messages hidden by aliens in commercials and television to control us. A brilliant concept that the film exploits wonderfully while not hesitating to hit with big punches on capitalism, advertising, overconsumption and mass brutalization. Just that.
8. Featured Presenter: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
A good dumb comedy about male TV presenters desperate to keep their place, what could be the message behind? Well, it is precisely the place of women in the journalistic world. By continually playing with the fact that the character played by Christina Applegate is demeaned to the rank of “second” and would not have the capacity to take on a tv newspaper on her own because she is a woman, the film sends an anti-message. sexist rather unprecedented in this particular environment.
9. Madame Doubtfire (1993)
We laugh a lot in front of this film where we see the excellent Robin Williams disguising himself as a woman to stay close to his children, except that in fact it’s super dramatic. It speaks of the breakup of a family following a divorce, of growing up far from one of his parents but above all of the problems related to the custody of the children by playing on gags related to the disguise of the father of the family. Behind the comedy there is above all a lost man ready to do anything to keep some semblance of contact with his kids, even if for that he has to see them while pretending to be someone else. Seen from this angle the film is super sad.
10. Ricky Bobby: King of the Tour (2006)
Another rather stupid comedy with the excellent Will Ferrell, the third in this top. While this is clearly not the actor’s best movie, there is still one super important subject covered in this one: the view of homosexuality in professional sport. If he does it in a slightly stupid way (that’s the tone of the film), the fact that he broaches this subject and ends with the reconciliation of Ricky Bobby clearly homophobic and Jean Girard who is homosexual to him, c tis a rather indirect way of dealing with a subject generally left aside in this environment by the cinema.