The king of slapstick comedy Charlie Chaplin paved the way for this genre with his distinguished and hilarious demeanour. Slapstick comedy is the crudest form of comedy that involves practical jokes, general clumsiness, a string of embarrassing events and others that constitute physical humour.
More recently seen in films like The Naked Gun or the TV show Mr. Bean, slapstick comedy ages back to the time of Shakespeare who used this genre of humour to induce laughter among his audience via the comic reliefs.
This genre of comedy still has a huge impact on modern comedy and continues to evolve to fit the changing interests of people. Goofy and funny, slapstick humour brings out a chuckle from the gloomiest viewer and has the ability to reach a wider audience who like indulging in mindless entertainment. Yet sometimes, within the gaps of mindless fun, lies a scathing commentary on a certain issue that gets the cogwheels in one’s brain turning.
On Charlie Chaplin’s birthday, let us pay a tribute to the king of comedy by taking a look at the five best slapstick comedy films on Netflix that gets Dumb & Dumber by the minute yet equally fun and lively:
5 Netflix films with slapstick comedy at its finest
5. You Don’t Mess With Zohan (Dennis Dugan, 2008)
This hilarious superhero action film was the fourth collaboration between Dugan and Adam Sandler. Also starring Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson, John Turturo and more, the film was written by Sandler, Judd Apatow and Robert Smigel. With hare-brained, nonsensical humour, the film has a certain uplifting feel to it and also features Sandler’s butt in all its glory, adding to its cult-like stature. Do not miss out on the Mariah Carey cameo!
Mossad’s top agent Zohan wants to be a leading hairdresser. He fakes his death as an agent and moves to New York to live the dream of being an ambitious stylist. However, ghosts from his past attempt to uncover his secret which he must desperately guard while trying to please his strict boss.
4. Grown Ups (Dennis Dugan, 2010)
Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Dave Spade, Maya Rudolph and others, Grown Ups records the reunion of five best friends and former basketball teammates at their hometown on a Fourth of July weekend. The men have grown up and apart and soon find themselves reconnecting several decades later over shared problems and chaos.
With plenty of goofy comedy and mindless entertainment, the film fits the bill for Sandler’s genre of comedy. With James, Spade and Rock, he manages to create a separate space for them to ‘kid’ around and also creates a fun film that helps reminisce the good old days with the Saturday Night Live alum.
3. Rush Hour franchise (Brett Ratner, 1998-2007)
Infusing comedy and action into the buddy cop sub-genre, Ratner’s franchise stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker as dysfunctional police officers who embark on epic misadventures to expose the dangerous corruption within the criminal underbelly of Hong Kong. With a perfect balance between humour and action, Chan and Tucker share a perfect camaraderie that shines through the trilogy.
Although Chan did not like the way he spoke English in the film, the franchise was very popular due to his impeccable timing with Tucker. Ratner was so impressed by Chan in Rumble that he flew to South Africa to pitch the film to Chan who was working on another film; so desperate was he to cast the iconic actor.
2. The Dictator (Larry Charles, 2012)
Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, this political satire comedy features him in his fourth leading role as the fictional dictator of the Republic of Wadiya. The film chronicles his journey to the United Nations in the United States where he desperately tries to guard his country from being a democracy so that he can continue oppressing his people.
Besides Cohen, the film also stars Anna Faris, Jason Mantzoukas and Ben Kingsley. Cohen derived inspiration from real-life dictators like Kim Jong-il, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Saparmurat Niyazov and Mobutu Sese Seko and even dedicated the film to Kim Jong-il. Provocative and oddly humorous with a tinge of vulgar, scatological and satirical, the critique is intelligent and politically “incorrect”, presenting Baron Cohen at his finest yet again!
1. Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Monty Python, 1979)
Termed blasphemous and controversial, this British comedy became a cult comedy as it triggered religious fanatics in various comedies. The film revolved around an everyman character named Brian who is born in Roman-occupied Judea right next to Jesus Christ and lives his life dealing with mistaken identities as fanatical masses keep parroting his sayings.
A scathing satire on mass naivete, religious fanaticism and tyrannical oppression, filming was almost cancelled before being resuscitated by former Beatle and self-proclaimed Monty Python fan, George Harrison. The humour within the film led to immense religious chaos as it makes crazy and ungodly references throughout the film.