Being funny doesn’t always turn comedy movies into legendary motion pictures. While funny movies rarely win prestigious awards like the Oscars without its own categories, some of them are on par with drama and historical movies. The best comedy movies will intertwine funny jokes with strategically-timed gags, character spoofs, uncomfortable – yet humorous – circumstances, all delivered by smart comedians.
Comedians are the key to these films. A good comedian will be able to deliver jokes and one-liners effectively and they can improvise their own gags on the spot. Two or more comedians will then exchange in a humorous conversation, filled with roasts and volley. Casting a seasoned comedian like Jim Carrey, Bill Murray, and Will Ferrel as the main character often means that they will have to carry the whole movie themselves with the exception of ensemble comedies like Anchorman.
Timing in a comedy movie revolves around the deliverance of the jokes and the progress of the plot. Even if a movie has casted a seasoned comedian, the main characters must know how to deliver jokes and gags with the right timing. Without timing, jokes and gags can risk of falling flat and that will impact the quality of the comedy as a whole. Some casting directors often hire comedians without any previous acting experiences to ensure the success in the delivery of jokes and gags.
Farce is defined as “a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations”. To put it simply, farce comedy includes wacky situations like mistaken identities, misunderstandings, and action sequences that are outlandish and out of the ordinary. Farce elements are sometimes deemed as a complete fantasy because it doesn’t always fit into realistic aspects.
Slapstick comedy revolves around the use of cheap gags and exaggerated actions to get a laugh from the audience. This includes slipping, falling, and ugly faces and it doesn’t have any lasting effects on the characters. Slapstick comedy was inspired by the works of early Hollywood comedians like Buster Keaton and Charlie Caplin. During a slapstick gag, the plot stands still and doesn’t progress anywhere; the audience will focus on the jokes and gags instead.
Movies about a character who finds themselves in unfamiliar surroundings are labeled as situational comedies. This may include cultural clashes like in the mockumentary movie Borat or a completely foreign location like in Land of the Lost. The characters must find a way to get themselves out of these unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations and while doing so, they will often react in a comedic way.