15 Funny Films That Nailed the Art of Dry Humor

Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading.

I like my comedy like I like my weather – dry. With so many slapstick comedies being churned out with weak jokes or cheap laughs, it's time to return to a subgenre that will always stand the test of time: dry comedies. Our 15 recommendations might be hilarious to one person, confusing to another, and disturbing to your parents.

1. Best in Show (2000)

Best in Show Movie (2000)
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Best in Show is a mockumentary that follows several eccentric contestants and their equally quirky dogs competing in a national dog show, revealing the absurdity of the competitive dog breeding world.

2. The Menu (2022)

the Menu Nicholas Hoult, Anya Taylor-Joy
Image Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

A young pair journeys to a secluded island to dine at an exclusive restaurant, where the master chef has meticulously crafted a plentiful menu full of unexpected and startling surprises. This dramatic satire mocks the wealthy and “artists” who have lost their plot because they've become preoccupied with pleasing the unpleasant. Depending on how you view it, this can be interpreted as a metaphor for American society or the film industry.

3. Spaceballs (1987)

Spaceballs
Image Credit: MGM/UA Communications Co.

The definition of dry humor is found within satire, and that's why Spaceballs tops this list. It makes fun of traditional sci-fi stereotypes in an acerbic way that both fans and haters will enjoy.

4. Deadpool (2016)

Deadpool
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Deadpool is known for his sense of humor. That's no secret. The appeal of his humor, besides being played by Ryan Reynolds, is that he provides comedic relief in a different way than superheroes are known for. 

5. Death at a Funeral (2007)

Tracy Morgan (left) and Martin Lawrence star in Screen Gems' comedy DEATH AT A FUNERAL.
Image Credit: Screen Gems.

A dysfunctional family gathers for the funeral of their patriarch. Still, chaos ensues when they discover they have the wrong body and must scramble to fix the situation before the service begins.

6. Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Jojo Rabbit
Image Credit: Fox Searchlight.

A young German boy living through World War II idolizes the Führer and discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his attic. He must confront his own beliefs and prejudices with the help of his imaginary friend – a comical version of the Führer himself. This film offers a beautiful mixture of tear-jerking drama and hilarious, dry satire.

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

grand budapest hotel 1
Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Set in the 1930s, just before World War II, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a story of a legendary hotel concierge in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka and his friendship with a young employee who becomes his protégé.

8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

A famous oceanographer and his crew set out on a mission to find the mysterious “jaguar shark” that killed his best friend, but mishaps and misadventures plague their journey.

9. The Guard (2011)

The Guard 2011
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

An Irish police officer (Brendan Gleeson) with a penchant for drugs and escorts teams up with a straight-laced FBI agent to investigate a drug trafficking ring in rural Ireland.

10. Triangle of Sadness (2022)

Woody Harrelson in Triangle of Sadness (2022)
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Carl and Yaya, a social media influencer couple, embark on a luxurious cruise with affluent individuals disconnected from reality. However, their journey takes an unforeseen turn when a violent storm hits the ship, resulting in a chaotic and dangerous situation in Triangle of Sadness.

11. In Bruges (2008)

in bruges
Image Credit: Focus Features.

Two hitmen are sent to the medieval Belgian town of Bruges to lay low after a botched job, but their time in the quaint city is far from peaceful as they get caught up in a series of bizarre events.

12. Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

The Banshees of Inisherin Barry Keoghan
Image Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

After a long-term friendship, one person suddenly terminates the relationship without explanation, causing alarming repercussions for both friends at a crossroads. The film's first half is a hilarious dark comedy, but there is a stark tone shift in the second half, which becomes much more serious and poetic.

13. Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Sam Rockwell and Bonny in Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Image Credit: CBS Films/Chuck Zlotnick/Blueprint Pictures (Seven) Limited.

A struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) inadvertently becomes embroiled in a criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved dog. Marty struggles to develop a satisfactory ending for his screenplay, but his friends inadvertently entangle him in a real-life criminal underworld.

14. Burn After Reading (2008)

Burn After Reading Focus Features
Image Credit: Focus Features.

Burn After Reading is a dark comedy that follows a motley crew of characters, including a gym employee, a crazed federal marshal, and a pair of hapless blackmailers, as they stumble upon a CIA agent's top-secret memoir and try to cash in on it.

15. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite
Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

A low-budget film about a teenager and his older brother in their small town became a cult classic because of its dry humor. The film takes itself too seriously, which is exactly why it's perfect. Napoleon Dynamite has been loved for almost two decades.

Author: Jaimee Marshall

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Politics, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Pop Culture

Bio:

Jaimee Marshall is a culture writer, avid movie buff, and political junkie. She spends the bulk of her time watching and critiquing films, writing political op-eds, and dabbling in philosophy. She has a Communication Studies degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she flirted with several different majors before deciding to pursue writing. As a result, she has a diverse educational background, having studied economics, political science, psychology, business admin, rhetoric, and debate.