Humor is such a subjective thing, and it's easy to be ridiculous, or worse: boring. But 2020 has a number of films that look like they're destined to be comedic gold, or at least a great time at the theater. There are a couple reboots and sequels in here, and a number of comedy superstars are back in a big way, thanks to Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Coming 2 America, and some other revivals we have our eye on. (You can check out our 2019 list of the best comedy movies here.)
So far, the below movies look sincerely promising, especially since 2020 is going to be a...long year. We'll keep updating this list throughout the year, so you'll know exactly what to prioritize if you'd like a little more funny in your life.
Like a Boss
Release date: January 10, 2020
Starring: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge
This one might be a slightly controversial pick. Not for the cast: I love Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, and Salma Hayek more than I can possibly say. But the trailer just looked like...a whole lot. The NSFW trailer was funnier, though, and despite the very mixed critical reviews, I'll end up seeing it to support all my ladies in the film.
Release date: January 10, 2020
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Lyne Renee, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding
I couldn't be happier that this film ended up being a critical and box office success. Largely considered the return of Guy Ritchie making good movies (let us never speak of that King Arthur movie again, I still can't believe I paid money to watch it), the film is as action-packed as it is funny. As an added bonus—this is totally confirmation that Henry Golding isn't just a one-hit wonder (I wasn't worried) and that the man can excel in comedic roles too.
Release date: February 21, 2020
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Josh O'Connor, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Johnny Flynn, Miranda Hart
This will be a controversial statement among my fellow editors, but Emma is my favorite Jane Austen book (I know!!). It's so snarky and has a deliriously happy ending without letting its fallible heroine off the hook for her (often-terrible) behavior. Beyond the effervescent Anya Taylor-Joy, just look at how many incredible actors are in here. Bill Nighy, funny in everything! Josh O'Connor from The Crown! Miranda Hart, the best part of Spy! I'm watching this movie the day it comes out, dammit.
Release date: February 21, 2020
Starring: Samara Weaving, Daniel Radcliffe, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Rhys Darby
Post-Harry Potter, Radcliffe has done some weird and wacky stuff (and even when it doesn't work, I always appreciate the risk-taking). This feels like one of the ones that might work, although full disclosure: It's still on my list to watch. Right now on Rotten Tomatoes it's juuuust on the side of fresh in terms of positive reviews. Loser Miles gets forced into a gladiator fight to the death—guns are literally stapled to his hands. He has to team up with Nix (utter badass Weaving, who totally nailed it in Ready or Not) to save his girlfriend, the day, etc. I'm into it.
Release date: March 13, 2020
Starring: Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Kristen Schaal, Ken Jeong
Generally, I like to gauge how funny a comedy is by its trailer (it's not a foolproof system, but hear me out). If the lines give me a couple chuckles, that's a good sign, and then I just go in hoping that the producers didn't stick all the funny bits in the trailer. So even though I hadn't heard of My Spy before seeing the trailer, a close look has me thinking that this is one of those "happy surprises," much like Melissa McCarthy's Spy in 2015. I also love, love Dave Bautista, so I'm going for that reason and that reason alone.
Release date: March 20, 2020
Starring: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, Gayle Rankin, Judith Godrèche
Kyle and Mike are two best friends who share a tight bond...right up until Mike sleeps with Kyle's fiancée. What comes after is a story of friendship and love packed alongside jokes funny enough to make your sides hurt. It's not often we see movies focused on male friendships, so The Climb looks like a breath of fresh air.
Release date: April 3, 2020
Starring: Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Anna Camp, Kyle Bornheimer
Everyone's favorites, Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, play a couple who find themselves caught up in a crime unexpectedly. As the two of them try to solve the case to clear their name, they get into some situations that are definitely not ordinary. TBH, the fact that these two are costars has me looking to buy a ticket as soon as possible.
The Personal History of David Copperfield
Release Date: May 8, 2020
Starring: Dev Patel, Aneurin Barnard, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Laurie
I love seeing Dev Patel on any screen. So, seeing him in The Personal History of David Copperfield based on Charles Dickens's most famous novel will be my Christmas, birthday, and half-birthday present wrapped up all in one. Much like the book it's modeled after, the movie will follow the life of David Copperfield as he sets out to become a writer, and promises to be as sharp-tongued as ever.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
Release date: May 22, 2020
Starring: Clancy Brown, Keanu Reeves, Awkwafina, Snoop Dog, Tom Kenny
I love SpongeBob, and not just for the GIFs—the show and its sweet characters are an indelible part of my teen years (I maintain that you can still totally find it funny as an adult). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was both critically loved and a box office hit, so the chances of a third movie were always good. I mean, Keanu Reeves, Awkwafina, and Snoop Dog will be in this! How can you not love it?
Release date: May 29, 2020
Starring: Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Topher Grace, Chris Cooper
I'm all for the serious roles Steve Carell has been doing lately (hello, The Morning Show), but nothing is more enjoyable than watching him in a comedy. Written and directed by Jon Stewart, this film follows Gary, a Democratic strategist (Carell), as he sets out to convince a retired marine (Chris Cooper) to run for mayor. Things start to get interesting when the Republicans send Faith (Rose Byrne) to shake things up.
Release date: July 3, 2020
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Joe Keery
Ryan Reynold's always giving it 110 percent. This movie seems to "get" what makes him funny—he's so attractive that it's almost distracting, but the movie forces him in an ugly/schlubby/otherwise incongruous setup. In this case he's the timid Guy, forced into action star badassery through a comedy of errors. Taika Waititi is never not funny, and it's great to see Killing Eve badass Jodie Comer spread her wings on the purely comedic side.
Release date: July 10, 2020
Starring: Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Rudd, Annie Potts, Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace
I might as well put this in the "most anticipated movies ever" category. After the last reboot was controversial, Hollywood's re-rebooting the series by staying much closer to the source material with a direct sequel. Director Jason Reitman also directed the satirical Thank You for Smoking and the sweet, snarky Juno. Plus, it's got Paul Rudd and some throwback casting, so fingers crossed for a fun, funny sci-fi joyride.
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Release date: August 21, 2020
Starring: Samara Weaving, Keanu Reeves, Kristen Schaal, Alex Winter
Hi again, Samara! File this as another movie under: Really hoping this one is good, and not just a money-grab. I have a soft spot for the lovable doofuses that gave Reeves his early-career dude vibe. And the premise sounds semi-interesting: Bill and Ted are now middle-aged dads, presumably just as clueless as ever, trying finally write a hit song and save the day. Reeves' re-re-resurgence as a comedic actor, not just an action badass, means I'll be there for his performance alone.
Release date: November 25, 2020
Starring: Alison Brie, Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Stewart, Dan Levy, Aubrey Plaza
I kind of love this concept: A woman plans to propose to her girlfriend at a holiday party, only to realize she's not out to her conservative parents. A neat little twist on the holiday rom-com, this feels like the feel-good movie we need this winter season. ALSO: Dan Levy, post-Schitt's Creek! I cannot wait.
Coming 2 America
Release date: December 18, 2020
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan
Of all the potential remakes/sequels this coming year (see also Bill & Ted, above, and Bad Boys 3, among others) this is the one I'm probably the most hopeful about. Eddie Murphy's stellar performance on SNL recently proves that he's still bringing the energy in the right comedy vehicle. A lot of the original stars and writers are back, plus some new faces—director Craig Brewer also directed Murphy in the very funny Dolemite Is My Name, which sounds promising.
The French Dispatch
Release date: TBD 2020
Starring: Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Saoirse Ronan, Owen Wilson
If you like Wes Anderson, his latest is coming in 2020 and promises to be just as Anderson-y as ever. I'm a fan of his quirky style, even when he's taking a risk with the material. In this case, we know that it's based on the book of the same name, it's about "an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city" and is drawn from stories written in The French Dispatch magazine. Oh and it has a whole bunch of his favorite stars in it, including (per the trailer) a naked Chalamet(!!). It sounds very on-brand for him, is what I'm saying.
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