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Every Comedy Movie We’re Pumped to See This Year

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If you didn’t do a lot of laughing (at least while not also crying) in 2020, you’re far from alone. But hope is surely on the horizon… right? Even if the news still isn’t all bright, the cinematic landscape in 2021 contends that we’ll at least get some distracting one-liners and pratfalls to entertain us in our pandemic cocoons.

There’s superstar comedic talent bringing their skills to major movies this year, and not just the franchise material like Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the 33-years-in-the-making sequel Coming 2 America (starring Eddie Murphy in arguably a new golden age). Kristen Wiig will re-emerge to hopefully delight us and weird us out in equal measure, joining her Bridesmaids cowriter for a Florida vacation gone wrong in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Michelle Pfeiffer brings her archest delivery to the disaffected humor of French Exit. And the no-longer-so-boyish Jackass boys have reunited to do what they always do: put themselves in gratuitous danger for the sake of our pained laughs. Sounds like a nice break.

Here are the comedy movies in 2021 we’re most looking forward to (with unsurprisingly sometimes tentative release dates) and what we know about them.

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Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (February 12)

It’s been too long since Kristen Wiig has starred in a proper comedy that has dominated pop culture. Luckily, she’s re-teaming with her fellow Bridesmaids screenwriter Annie Mumolo for this outing (in which Mumolo also stars). The basic premise about two best friends who end up in a villainous plot while on vacation in Florida might seem familiar, but if anyone can enliven it it’s this pair. (With the help of Jamie Dornan and Damon Wayans Jr., no less.)

French Exit (February 12)

This surreal, disaffected comedy of manners featuring a lacerating Michelle Pfeiffer and her son (the dependable Lucas Hedges) about a woman who spends the last of her husband’s inheritance could go one of a few ways. Here’s hoping it’s funnier than it is morose or ponderous, but if the early reviews are to be believed, Pfeiffer is phenomenal.

Coming 2 America (March 5)

It’s been 33 years since the release of Coming to America, and if that doesn’t make you feel really old, then you’re probably too young to understand how seminal the Eddie Murphy comedy was. The SNL great is taking up the franchise again alongside original costar Arsenio Hall, Tracy Morgan, and more in another Africa-to-New York transplant plot. If Murphy’s recent Dolemite Is My Name is any indication, he’s still in fine form.

Yes Day (March 12)

Parents with little ones should look to this Netflix family comedy, based on the Amy Krouse Rosenthal children’s book. It’s likely to have pleasures for the adult sets, too, with Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez starring with direction by Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, Cedar Rapids).

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (March 19)

There’s still not much to know about this undoubtedly bizarre action comedy without a trailer yet, except that Nicolas Cage plays himself suddenly needing to act as one of his blockbuster heroes to survive. The sendup will surely benefit from Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish, and Neil Patrick Harris.

Free Guy (May 21)

Free Guy might just be the most high-concept comedy/sci-fi/action mashup of 2021, with Ryan Reynolds taking the reins as a non-player character (i.e., he’s programmed, not a human) in a video game who becomes aware of his role and resists the developers’ narrative. That’s, well, a lot, but based on his Deadpool chops Reynolds is the likeliest one to pull it off with a stream of zingers.

Zola (June 30)

Based on the epic (and epically batshit) tweet narrative that went around the world, Zola seems headed for outrageous laughs and a few shocks. Taylour Paige is the title character who meets Riley Keough’s stripper before a wild ride. Paige is already mesmerizing in what little we get of her in the teaser, and the script has a credit from acclaimed playwright Jeremy O. Harris.

Space Jam (July 16)

We may have hit peak ‘90s-throwback saturation with a long-in-the-making Space Jam sequel. But it’s bound to be big, and with underrated director Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother, Girls Trip) behind the camera, we’re cautiously optimistic that LeBron James’s charisma can carry the thing.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 11)

After tepid reaction to the all-female 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, Sony went back to the drawing board with a straight-ahead sequel to the first two movies. With Jason Reitman (Juno, Young Adult) directing and Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver (!) in tow, there’s plenty of reason to be excited.

Jackass 4 (September 3)

Somehow amid a pandemic, a return to the nihilistic comedic hijinks of the Jackass crew just feels right. Comforting, even. Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and Steve-O are back with hidden cameras and bodily harm. You’ll laugh and wince and hopefully forget about the turmoil of the past year-plus.

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