The Best British Comedies For When You're Tired Of Judd Apatow

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Sure, Brits and Americans speak the same language, but different things make us laugh.
In the States, we make The Hangover, a raunchy buddy comedy about a bachelor party gone awry in Vegas. The British, on the other hand, make Withnail & I, a macabre comedy about two withering actors getting drunk in the damp English countryside.
In the States, we have Magic Mike, a flashy film in which Channing Tatum plays a male stripper. Compare this to one of Britain’s most famous films, The Full Monty, in which a group of schlubby factory workers commit to becoming a nude dancing troupe to raise funds.
See what I mean? British humor is characterized by certain distinct elements. For one, no topic is off-limits in comedy, as you'll see from the film Four Lions. Many comedies are propelled by irony, wit, and self-deprecation; others run on sheer absurdity. No matter the mood, one element all of the comedies on this list have in common is intelligence.
These British comedies are the antidotes to blockbuster humor.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009)

A guy walks into a bar — and stares right into a rift in space and time. After being fired from his amusement park job, Ray (Chris O'Dowd) goes to his usual bar with his two friends. There, he encounters a strange woman (Anna Faris) on a mission to fix time leaks, one of which apparently is located in this bar. When Ray peers into the rift, he sees a reality in which everyone in the bar is dead. How does he stop that future from happening?
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Death At A Funeral (2007)

Skeletons come tumbling out of the closet after the family patriarch passes on. Though Matthew (Matthew Macfadyen) wants to give his father a proper burial, his family’s neuroses disrupt the proceedings, big time. Death at a Funeral has all the ingredients of dysfunctional family: a successful and selfish older brother, blackmail, a botched undertaking job, and a cousin who accidentally takes drugs mid-ceremony.
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The Full Monty (1997)

In The Full Monty, a group of unemployed factory workers go all-in on a scheme to raise child-support money for one of their buddies, Gaz (Robert Carlyle). The plan? Choreograph a male strip-tease act, à la Chippendales. The only problem, of course, is that they’re all completely inept.
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In The Loop (2009)

From the creator of Veep comes an equally vicious skewering of Westminster politics. In the film, America is gearing up to intervene in the Middle East. Across the pond, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) casually remarks that war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable” for Britain, meaning it may or may not be possible. Now, both hawks and doves in America are vying for Foster’s support, and spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) must intervene. This over-the-top satire of British and American politics made fun of democracy before it was chic. A major highlight is Capaldi, whose cursing makes creative contortions never-before-heard in the English language.
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Four Lions (2010)

Only the British could attempt a comedy about terrorism, and actually pull it off. In this film, a group of five Muslim men (and one convert) from Sheffield, England attempt to become suicide bombers — and turn out to be completely incompetent. One aspiring terrorist tries to train birds to carry bombs; others have a disastrous experience at a Pakistani training camp. While Four Lions is hard to fathom, this brazen black comedy uses humor to reach thought-provoking places.
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Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

Not much is going for Shaun (Simon Pegg). His job at an electronics store is a bore. His girlfriend’s about to break up with him. The only place he feels at home is the Winchester, a local bar. So deep is Shaun’s moping that he doesn’t realize that all of London has succumbed to a zombie apocalypse. Now, Shaun and his best friend and roommate, Ed (Nick Frost), must protect Shaun’s girlfriend and mother from the onslaught. In the grisly process, Shaun might just turn his life and relationships around. Shaun of the Dead gave birth to the horror-comedy genre.
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A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Ah, a heist movie that doesn’t take itself so seriously. In this classic film, Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) is desperate to win back the jewels her mobster lover stole. As part of her plan, she recruits the mobster's henchman and his lawyer. Let the falling in love and double-crossing begin. Just a warning: You may never look a goldfish the same way again.
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Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994)

Here is Hugh Grant, forever preserved at his zenith as a romantic comedy lead. Charles (Grant) may not be lucky in love, but he’s lucky in friends. Over the course of this warm romantic comedy, Charles and his clique attend four weddings (and a funeral). At one wedding, Charles meets an American woman named Carrie (Andie MacDowell), but she's planning on returning to the States before anything significant can develop.
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Hot Fuzz (2007)

Police constable Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a good cop. Perhaps too good. His London colleagues are so tired of his rigid adherence to rules that they organize a transfer from London to the quaint British village of Sandford. Angel is saddled with the Sergeant’s son, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) as a partner. Though Nicholas expects his time in Sandford to be a snoozefest, his cop senses start tingling when a series of murders starts happening in town. And so the whodunit begins.
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Withnail & I (1987)

Once again, the Brits take a topic that isn’t really funny and make it funny. In Withnail & I, two struggling actors and best friends take a trip to Withnail’s uncle’s cottage in the rainy countryside. Withnail (Richard E. Grant) is a furious alcoholic whose mind is constantly elsewhere. Marwood (Paul McGann) is his anxious best friend. Their whiskey-drenched chemistry has inspired some lines still quoted in the U.K. today.
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Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975)

As the recent Guy Ritchie flick proves once again, skip every King Arthur movie except for this one. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his knights set off on a quest for the Holy Grail and encounter absurd, and now iconic, obstacles.
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Monty Python And The Meaning Of Life (1983)

How can a person choose between two Monty Python comedies? Well, if she’s the one making this list, she doesn’t have to. This film is essentially a linked series of sketches, each one more bonkers than the last. In one sketch, a group of tired accountants rises up and turns their office building into a pirate ship, plundering the financial district. In another, criminals attempt to con an old woman into selling them her organs by singing a song about the vastness of the universe.
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Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

All Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) wants to do is play soccer, much to the bewilderment of her conservative Sikh parents, who want Jess to get serious and find a husband. Using elaborate schemes, Jess tries to balance family expectation with her own dreams of playing soccer. This is culture-clash comedy at its finest.
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