We laugh at a good absurd comedy and sometimes realize after the fact that there was a real message (not necessarily hidden) behind it. This is not the case for the majority of funny films, but some have had the good idea of using humor to convey an idea, to denounce something or simply to raise awareness by saying “you are laughing, but is it actually really funny? “. So we’re going to talk about some of these good comedies that were smart or wanted to talk 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 stuff that the film tries to denounce is the ability we have to ignore the alarm bells of scientists on a whole host 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 coming out of cryogenization after 500 years of sleep that the world had become truly stupid. If the work is really very (very) absurd, it denounced a lot of things: overconsumption, commercialism, falling 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 the language of Shakespeare, the English Molière) is a comedy about two loose cops who find themselves investigating a corruption case. If several messages are distilled in the film, it is especially the end credits which arrive without warning and give real staggering 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, one day a man happens to lie for the very first time. And what’s going on? He invents (more or less in spite of himself) beautiful lies like life after death and that kind of thing that gives people hope. If you can see the film differently depending on your beliefs, it is interesting on several aspects, such as 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 talkie), 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 made American public opinion evolve in favor of European governments who rose up against Nazism on the other side of the Atlantic. And that’s already a lot for a comedy.
6. Doctor Strangelove (1964)
On paper, making a comedy about the atomic bomb and nuclear war was not completely won. However Kubrick tried the experiment and the film is still considered a very good comedy, firstly thanks to its main actor Peter Sellers. A completely paranoid general who throws the bomb in the middle of the Cold War was nevertheless a tense subject at that time, but the satire obviously showed with absurdity the effort of the army and the American government to justify nuclear armament.
7. Los Angeles Invasion (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 extra-terrestrials in advertisements and television to control us. A brilliant concept that the film exploits wonderfully while not hesitating to hit capitalism, advertising, overconsumption and mass stupor. Just that.
8. Featured Presenter: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
A good silly comedy about male TV news anchors desperate to keep their place, what could be the message behind it? Well precisely it is about the place of women in journalism. By continually playing on the fact that the character played by Christina Applegate is lowered to the rank of “second” and would not have the capacity to take on a TV news alone because she is a woman, the film sends an anti- sexist rather new on this particular medium.
9. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
We laugh a lot in front of this film where we see the excellent Robin Williams disguise himself as a woman to stay close to his children, except that in fact it is super dramatic. It’s about the breakup of a family following a divorce, growing up far from one of his parents but especially the problems related to childcare 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 a semblance of contact with his kids, even if for that he has to see them pretending to be someone else. Seen from this angle, the film is very sad.
10. Ricky Bobby: King of the Circuit (2006)
Another rather stupid comedy with the excellent Will Ferrell, the third in this top. If it is clearly not the best film of the actor, there is still a super important subject addressed in this one: the vision of homosexuality in professional sport. If he does it in a slightly stupid way (it’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 t is a rather indirect way of dealing with a subject generally left aside in this medium by the cinema.