3 Must-See Slapstick Comedies for Kids & Adults
The early 2000’s were great years for goofy, lighthearted comedy, and a time when the likes of late night sketch TV comics Jim Carrey (In Living Color) and Mike Myers (Saturday Night Live) reigned supreme.
Here are three that you might have forgotten, but are worth another look – especially with kids who weren’t born yet when these flicks premiered.
2002, Rated PG
My first pick is a largely forgotten film that didn’t become a classic, yet it’s well worth a watch. It’s the smartest of the three, stars kids, and is specifically made for kids to enjoy.
In the story, it’s Jason Shepherd, middle-America high school student, versus Marty Wolf, sleazy Hollywood film producer. (Get it? Shepherd and wolf… The sheep, one presumes, are the innocent fictional film-goers who are about to be duped by the media mogul.) Their two worlds collide when Marty steals Jason’s English class essay and sets out to turn it into a tinsel-town blockbuster, without giving credit where it’s due.
Jason (Frankie Muniz) – definitely not afraid of the big bad Wolf – with his friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) in tow, sets out to fight the bully on his own turf. One must suspend disbelief in favor of fun here, as the young teens fly off into the great blue yonder in search of justice without parental consent, or even two dimes to rub together. They have no trouble finding Wolf (Paul Giamatti) and then making trouble for him. Hilarity ensues. No, I’m not joking: The pranks and tricks they play on the larcenous, unapologetic jerk are priceless. We’ve all dreamed of (and maybe some have taken it a step further… 5th amendment for me) such youthful acts of retribution. They don’t quite go the TP-ing route, but there is a funny incident involving Mr. Wolf’s shampoo.
The actors play off each other and complement one another as an ensemble cast should, but you will undoubtedly pick up on Bynes’s outstanding talent for comic mimicry, which does set her apart a time or two. Muniz and Giamatti are likable and unlikable respectively, as they ought to be. (And, nobody can wear the lovely color combo of blue and orange like Giamatti!)
OK, so you definitely have to watch the first two installments but this one has one superstar pop idol that makes for an easy segue as well. After Dr. Evil and his accomplice Mini-Me escape from a maximum-security prison, Austin (Mike Myers) is called to world-saving action once more. In the sequel to the first film, Dr. Evil has teamed up with the peculiar Goldmember, and together, they hatch a diabolical time-traveling scheme to take over the planet and kidnap Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), who just happens to be Austin’s father and England’s most renowned spy.
As Austin chases the villains through time, he stops off in 1975 and joins forces with his old flame, Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé), a streetwise but stylish detective. Together, Austin and Foxxy must find a way to save Nigel and stop Dr. Evil and Goldmember from their mischievous mayhem.
This movie is super-cute and fun, but those sensitive to scatological humor (that’s me, raising my hand), beware.
The combination of actor Jim Carrey, director Tom Shadyac, and writer Steve Oedekerk brought us the wildly successful Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994. Nearly 10 years after that, they teamed up for the Oh God! of the 2000’s, Bruce Almighty.
Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a reporter who’s relegated to covering the fluff news items at the local TV station and who’s passed over for the anchorman job he so covets. Bruce figures God has it in for him and issues a challenge – God takes him up on it and basically says, “Hey, see if you can do a better job than Me.”
This a delightfully loopy, kooky Carrey vehicle all the way. He is nicely supported by Jennifer Aniston as his sweet, unappreciated girlfriend, and Morgan Freeman as a wise, super-cool Supreme Being.
On top of all the heavenly hullabaloo and saintly slapstick, there’s a happy ending complete with a good message for kids.
What are some of your favorite laugh-out-loud comedies to watch with the kids? Share with us!
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