There are just certain movies that make you wanna be with the bros, laugh with the bros and invite over the girls who think they’re also bros (we’ll categorize everyone as brethren). Most of the movies that allure the bros to be with the brethren, star a cast of bros who are up to misadventure, conquest, or trying to score ladies who are generally out of their league. And these equate to some of the best comedies or comedy-dramas of all time…if you’re a bro. Let us waste no time, and offer 12 of the greatest bro comedies ever.
12. Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)
Dude-bro. We had to start the list with Dude, Where’s My Car? It is arguably the worst film on this list, or, depending on who you are, no other film ever made compares to its majesty. “And thennn…?” This absurd romp deserves a high mark in film history, because it paired two of the greatest bro actors of all time: Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott (this won’t be the first mention of Seann). The movie also featured the lovely Jennifer Garner, and a host of other very attractive women, as all bro comedies must. This film is best with a sixer and some pizza. No need to go “impressive bro” and grill steaks and veggies, or anything of the sort. If you haven’t seen it, the film is actually about a guy who can’t locate his car, and he searches for it with his friend. Strange stuff happens.
11. The Hangover (2009)
The Hangover was such a pleasant surprise, and an absolutely unexpected hit. It did so well that it spawned two sequels that we could have done without, but the original? The film solidified Bradley Cooper as an actor who was capable of pulling off most anything, and it cast an even brighter spotlight onto the lives and careers of Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. It was the ultimate Las Vegas comedy of errors. The film featured anything a writer could possibly imagine. Breaking down the actual screenplay, it was a perfect example of upping the stakes to the point of unbelievable absurdity and then selling it as probability, because Las Vegas really is that crazy. Mike Tyson, live tigers, various wildlife, mystery babies, Heather Graham, drugs: just a few of the things that made The Hangover the legendary sleeper hit that it is.
10. Goon (2011)
Goon is an underrated bro comedy set in the world of hockey. It was written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, and stars Baruchel, Seann William Scott, Alison Pill and Liev Schreiber. If you love hockey, you’ll love this movie. If you don’t love hockey, you’ll still love this movie. The comedy is top notch, the writing is tight, the performances are stellar and the bro-ness is at 100 percent. Additionally, this little flick dishes up some very warm sentiment that is touching and hilarious, simultaneously. Seann William Scott plays Doug Glatt, a bouncer turned enforcer, inspiring his team toward the pinnacle of semi-pro sports, even having the chance to square off with the most legendary enforcer in the league. There is a particular scene in this film that may be one of the greatest in movie history…in reference to another greatest in movie history.
9. Role Models (2008)
Let’s keep Seann William Scott in his wheelhouse. This is where the guy can knock it out of the park. His pairing with Paul Rudd in Role Models is pretty close to bro perfect. In addition to the lead bros, the cast was expanded with versatile comedic perfection: Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jane Lynch, Ken Jeong, Ken Marino, A.D. Miles and Joe Lo Truglio. This film is one of the greatest guilty pleasures of recent years. It was directed by David Wain (of Wet Hot American Summer fame), and like many of the films on this list, it features just the right amount of sentiment to keep you engaged in the absurdity. There are references and tributes to KISS throughout—all strategic plants to a most wonderful payoff. This bro flick paints live action role playing in such a light, you’re tempted to give it a go.
8. Old School (2003)
Old School offered something to the world of cinema, as it was the first in a long time that held up to the hype. It didn’t hurt that the cast was a group of comedic and awkward all-stars, capable of luring an audience into the trap of absurdity. It definitely had elements of all the great frat house comedies of yesteryear, including Revenge of the Nerds (honorable mention), but it went next level with the bros who were no longer really bros still trying hard to be bros. More than 10 years later, the film holds up. It’s definitely a dandy to throw on when a birthday soiree dies down to an ember, or even better after watching some serious sports action when everyone is impaired and unable to drive home.
7. American Pie (1999)
“This one time…at band camp…” American Pie was that reminder that bro flicks sell like hotcakes. The key demographic may have been young men, but everyone enjoyed a slice of this pie. The writers probably held a seance to find the spirit of Porky’s. It was a paint by number directorial effort from Paul Weitz, which was sufficient because the script was funny, charming and launched the careers of some beloved bros. The film also reignited the career flame of comedic genius Eugene Levy. To this day, everyone in the American Pie cast serves as a recognizable face, and many have gone on to bigger and better things, as well as appear in the sequels that were born of the 1999 offering. These did include much of the original cast in the second and third installments, and the 2012 American Reunion.
6. Animal House (1978)
We have Animal House to thank for so many of the films on this list, and yet there are bros who haven’t seen this raucous classic. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and see this movie before you watch anything else. Revenge of the Nerds doesn’t happen without Animal House. The same could go for Old School, PCU (honorable mention), Neighbors and so many others. Animal House is a battle of frats at the fictional Faber College, where the college dean is ready to rid his fine institution from the influence of Delta House. The film went on to become one of the most profitable in movie history. Donald Sutherland is still kicking himself for taking a $75,000 flat rate over profit participation points, which would have equated to millions.
5. Very Bad Things (1998)
Quick spot of trivia about this next offering. Did you know that Very Bad Things was the first feature film directed by Peter Berg? Peter was an actor turned behind-the-camera guy, and he certainly brought the thunder and lightning with this effort. Hands down the darkest comedy on this list, and one that is laden with—or perhaps steeped in—WTF. The cast featured big names at the time, Christian Slater and Daniel Stern, as well as up-and-comers like Jon Favreau, Cameron Diaz and Jeremy Piven. If you haven’t seen Very Bad Things, imagine The Hangover, then imagine everything about the “bachelor party” going wrong, but not in the “Holy geez, this is so ridiculously funny…” way. Think darker. Much…much…darker. Not everyone makes it out of Very Bad Things alive. And therein lies the comedy.
4. Superbad (2007)
Superbad was another pleasant surprise, and may have planted the seed for The Hangover. It serves as another great comedy of errors, served up with irreverence and more boyhood fantasies and faux pas than a fella might experience in his entire four years as a high school student. Superbad served as the proclaimed arrival of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. The screenplay was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and served up to perfection by director Greg Mottola. We have to offer credit where due: Superbad introduced mass audiences to Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and allowed the same audiences to fall in love with the unique creature that is Emma Stone. This one holds up well nearly 10 years later. Its influence can be seen in many of the raunchy comedies of the 21st century—that affinity for taking things just beyond too far.
3. Neighbors (2014)
Resistance is futile. You can try to hate Zac Efron, but the dude sweats talent. Neighbors far exceeded expectations at the box office, and in the category of quality. It’s a perfect mix of really smart talent playing some really dumb characters. As mentioned, there’s no denying the influence of Animal House, but Neighbors pits civilian, non-student neighbors against a next door frat house. This is a great offering for used-to-be bros who remember the good times of being bros, but who have moved on and discovered what it means to be an adult with responsibilities. And it’s also a great film for the bros who feel like anyone who wouldn’t want Bud Light for breakfast, lunch and dinner would have to be an old fart. Producers are offering more to the ladies with the sequel, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.
2. Swingers (1996)
Jon Favreau claims one of the things he heard the most when sharing his Swingers script with friends and industry insiders was to lose things like “beautiful babies,” and “you’re so money.” We’re happy Jon ignored the criticisms and went with his gut. Twenty years later, Swingers is a known as the cult classic denied by Sundance Film Festival, but beloved by millions through Miramax distribution. It was an indie made for $200,000 that went on to gross $4.5 million—the indie that launched Jonny Favreau and Vince Vaughn into the stratosphere. Fans of Office Space can also thank Jon for being loyal to his boys and fighting for Ron Livingston’s break in this cast. Finally, a tip of the cap to the collaboration between Jon and director Doug Liman, who maybe didn’t see eye to eye all the time, but brought us a bro comedy for the ages.
1. Beautiful Girls (1996)
Beautiful Girls is one of the most underrated comedies of the past 50 years. It qualifies as a perfect bro movie, but could just as easily be on a top 10 list of most underrated flicks ever. It deals with those issues of men struggling to grow up and expand their minds beyond a small town, while also addressing the “perfect match” and perfect mate every fella covets. Beautiful Girls is an assemblage of a perfect cast of well-written, well-directed characters. Tragically, director Ted Demme passed away at the age of 38 in 2002. He had a knack for crafting great character stories and is sorely missed. We hope he’d appreciate this small honor, 20 years after the film was released. Nonetheless, his legacy lives on in films like Beautiful Girls, which is best enjoyed with Budweiser, whiskeys—especially rye—and apps, but not those apps. (You’ll see what we mean.)