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Top 10 Comedy Movies of 2010

The Funniest Films to Hit Theaters in 2010

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In 2010 comedies remained popular at the box office, however this year there were more misses than hits. Due Date, How Do You Know and Valentine's Day didn't live up to expectations, proving once again that just because a film features big name actors that doesn't ensure it'll be a critical and/or box office success. Fortunately, there were enough genuinely funny films to fill out this Top 10 list - although just barely.

These are my personal picks for the funniest movies of 2010. Please feel free to disagree.

'Easy A'

Easy A
© Screen Gems
Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes and Aly Michalka

Emma Stone (the new Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Man reboot) stars as a high school student who tells a little white lie which leads to everyone in the student body believing she's lost her virginity. She hasn't - but she decides the best way to handle the situation is to act like she did...

For me, Easy A was the biggest surprise of the year. Reminiscent of a John Hughes comedy - with homages to that beloved filmmaker sprinkled throughout - Easy A was easily the smartest comedy of 2010. Stone emerges as a force to be reckoned with, and I defy anyone to walk away from Easy A not wanting parents just like the couple played by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci. Director Will Gluck and screenwriter Bert V Royal crafted a modern-day take on the classic novel The Scarlet Letter that, while under-appreciated now, could wind up being mentioned in the same breath with Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller, and The Breakfast Club in years to come.

'The Other Guys'

The Other Guys
© Columbia Pictures
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson

Written and directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers), this buddy cop comedy/action film finds Ferrell and Wahlberg playing New York City police detectives ready to step up their game when the opportunity arises. Ferrell and McKay bring the best out in each other, and Wahlberg's surprisingly funny when given good material to work with (loved him in I Heart Huckabees). And for some reason the pairing of Ferrell and Wahlberg was exactly what was needed to make each actor step up their respective comedy games. There's talk of a sequel in the works and for once that doesn't sound like a bad idea at all.

'Date Night'

Date Night
© 20th Century Fox
Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Mark Wahlberg

The Office star Steve Carell teamed up with 30 Rock's Tina Fey for what wound up being one of the few must-see comedies of the year. Carell and Fey played a married couple who ran madly all over town as they tried to stay one step ahead of killers - and of course to live up to the title the action had to take place on their big 'date night' out away from the kids. The supporting cast was pretty impressive (including Wahlberg showing off his ripped abs, James Franco, Mila Kunis and Common) and Date Night delivered a comedy that was date night-worthy.

'Get Him to the Greek'

Get Him to the Greek
© Universal Pictures
Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Sean Combs, and Rose Byrne

Oh goodie - more Aldous Snow! I'm serious - that wasn't written with sarcastic intent. Russell Brand, screenwriter Jason Segel, and director Nicholas Stoller created one of the most memorable rockers since the guys in Spinal Tap with the outrageous sex machine Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and in this spin-off from that comedy hit Aldous Snow's as wild and crazy as ever. Brand still hasn't really caught on with American audiences (his 'brand' of humor's an acquired taste), but Get Him to the Greek showed Brand is in fact up to the task of being the lead player in a major feature film. And who would have guessed P Diddy can actually act?

'Scott Pilgrim vs the World'

Scott Pilgrim vs the World
© Universal Pictures
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Chris Evans

How far would you go to win over the girl/guy of your dreams? Would you fight off all of their exes to prove you are meant to be together? Scott Pilgrim (Cera) falls for Ramona (Winstead), but there's a catch. Her seven evil ex-boyfriends control her love life and he must do battle with each of them in order to get close to the pretty Ramona.

Hyped at Comic Con, directed by the man behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and based on a popular graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim should have been a box office winner. It wasn't, and that might be due to the fact there's a bit of Michael Cera burn-out going on. Audiences want him to break out of the geeky character mold he's found himself in, and the Scott Pilgrim trailers didn't help sell the fact Scott Pilgrim's slightly different than what Cera's done before. But Cera burn-out aside, the rest of the cast (particularly Kieran Culkin as Scott's roommate) elevates Scott Pilgrim to epic levels, living up to the film's tagline: An epic of epic epicness.

'Kick-Ass'

Kick-Ass
© Lionsgate Films
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Aaron Johnson, Mark Strong and Chloe Moretz

Writer/director Matthew Vaughn brought his film to the 2009 San Diego Comic Con to try and stir up some interest in this comic book-inspired action movie - and the crowd ate it up. Comic Con attendees Tweeted about the presentation, blogged about it, and helped build the buzz around this independent production which Lionsgate ultimately snapped up. Unfortunately, as with Scott Pilgrim, the buzz didn't translate to box office business. The film's violence (although comic book-ish in tone) turned off some preview audiences, which apparently was fine by Vaughn who refused to compromise on the plot by removing the most controversial character (the 11 year old vigilante 'Hit Girl') or tone down the film's violence. Vaughn kept as loyal to the source material as possible, which likely cost him at the box office.

In my review I defend Vaughn's decision. "[...]Taken in context and in the spirit in which the scenes are delivered, I say not only was Vaughn justified in leaving Hit Girl in the film, she's the reason to go see it in theaters. That, and Nicolas Cage as Hit Girl's father, Big Daddy. Channeling his best Adam West impersonation while in a knock-off Batman costume, this performance represents the best of what Cage can do when he's in his element, given the right material, and allowed to take that material wherever it urges him to go."

'Life as We Know It'

Life as We Know It
© Warner Bros Pictures
Starring: Josh Duhamel, Katherine Heigl and Josh Lucas

Two romantic comedy veterans team up to play opposites who are, of course, attracted to each other after being forced to work together to raise a baby (not theirs). Not a totally original premise, but you can't get much better in the eye candy department than Josh Duhamel (it helps that he can act, too) and Heigl's good in rom-coms when she's got the right co-star to work off of. The twosome elevate this one above expectations, and they actually had decent chemistry onscreen.

'Alice in Wonderland'

Alice in Wonderland
© Walt Disney Pictures
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway

With Tim Burton in charge, you just knew this Alice in Wonderland was going to be a twisted, bewitching fantasy action comedy with freaky visuals and crazy performances from familiar Burton players Depp and Bonham Carter. Going down the rabbit hole with Burton and his frequent collaborator Johnny Depp (as The Mad Hatter) was an irresistible trip that paid off for audiences willing to indulge in Burton's fantastical take on the classic Lewis Carroll tale.

"We're not doing anything that's not in the books at all," said Burton in our exclusive interview. "We're not trying to overdo something because basically I think it's for kids, adults, anybody."

While not strictly a comedy, the film's dark humor made it impossible to leave Alice in Wonderland off this Top 10 list.

'Love and Other Drugs'

Love and Other Drugs
© 20th Century Fox
Starring: Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal

The last time Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal played a couple in a feature film was in the critically acclaimed Oscar-winning drama Brokeback Mountain. Their relationship as husband and wife in that film was more for show than for love. That's definitely not the case in Love and Other Drugs, a rom com very loosely based on the life of former Viagra salesman Jamie Reidy as recounted in his memoir, Hard Sell.

The screenwriters used Reidy's book as a jumping off point, adding a love interest and creating an offbeat love story with an edge that doesn't touch on too many of the standard romantic comedy conventions. Love and Other Drugs earned its R-rating as there's plenty of attractive flesh on display throughout, but the sex isn't gratuitous. The nudity and fully developed female and male characters actually help Love and Other Drugs earn the distinction of being one of the few recent romantic comedies that's not strictly for women.

'Hot Tub Time Machine'

Hot Tub Time Machine
© MGM
Starring: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke and Craig Robinson

Hot Tub Time Machine follows best friends who leave their complicated lives behind for a vacation at one of their favorite old party spots only to discover the lodge they used to love hitting on women in is no longer the pick-up joint it once was. But no matter, once they hop into the hot tub they're transported back in time to 1986 - hence the Hot Tub Time Machine title.

Hot Tub Time Machine is offensive with its overload of penis jokes, and the absolutely awful hair and clothing styles from the '80s on display are truly cringe-worthy. Why did people ever think massive shoulder pads combined with hair stacked a foot high was a good look? Ignored by audiences, Hot Tub Time Machine earned a B from me when it came out in March 2010. But looking back on the year, this R-rated comedy is one of the few films I remember making me actually laugh out loud.

The Top Comedies at the Box Office

The best performing live-action comedies at the box office for 2010 were:
1) Grown-Ups, 2) The Other Guys, 3) Jackass 3D, 4) Valentine's Day, 5) Date Night, 6) Due Date, 7) Sex and the City 2, 8) Dinner for Schmucks, 9) The Bounty Hunter, and 10) Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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