It’s hard out here for a comedy movie. A film might be entertaining while it’s in theaters. It might even make a lot of money at the box office. But if it doesn’t distinguish itself as a truly great comedy, it is lost to the ravages of time.
Such is the case for the forgotten ’00s comedies on this list. The titles will probably trigger your memory. You might have even seen them in theaters, but you didn’t watch them more than once. These aren’t the Zoolanders, the 40-Year-Old Virgins, and the Anchormans of the world. Still, they’re solid movies that are good for a laugh.
The actors in these films will definitely be familiar to you. They’re the comedy vets who were making a ton of movies in the ’00s. A lot of them still are now, in 2017, which is a testament to their comedic talent. Although they give consistently funny performances in the films on this list, they also starred in far better movies that are considered the top comedies of the decade.
Previously, we’ve explored the second-tier teen movies and TV shows of the aughts. We’ve channel surfed through the forgotten cartoons of that hallowed decade. Now, let’s go on a journey through the less enduring comedies of the ’00s. On this list you will find Cuba Gooding Jr. playing with huskies, a secret Lonely Island movie, JoJo in an acting role, and more.
Here are 15 ’00s Comedies You Completely Forgot About.
15. The Haunted Mansion (2003)
The Haunted Mansion is an iconic movie. It’s Eddie Murphy plus a haunted house. What more do you need to know?
The Haunted Mansion is based on the Disney theme park attraction of the same name. Murphy plays Jim Evers, a realtor who takes his wife Sara and their two kids to check out a mansion on business. Then they slowly start to realize it’s haunted. The plot thickens when we learn that the family was summoned there because the ghoulish owner Edward Gracey thinks that Sara is a reincarnation of his long-dead love Elizabeth.
Murphy hits that sweet spot of being scared, but in a funny way. It’s a kids’ movie that still funny enough for adults to laugh at. Bonus: you can watch it on Halloween if you’ve watched Beetlejuice one too many times.
14. Kangaroo Jack (2003)
Kangaroo Jack is perhaps most well-known for having one of the world’s most misleading trailers.
From the trailer, you would think the movie is a family comedy about a talking Kangaroo. Wrong! It’s a Jerry O’Connell/Anthony Anderson action movie/buddy comedy. The scene that you see in the trailer of a CGI kangaroo performing The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” in an Aussie accent is the only scene in which the animal talks, and that’s because it’s a hallucination that Jerry O’Connell is having.
Also, audiences and parents were kind of confused about how the movie ended up with a PG rating considered how many inappropriate lines are in it.
13. Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
You may recognize Zack and Miri Make a Porno as that one movie Netflix keeps relentlessly recommending to you because you watched a lot of Judd Apatow stuff. But it’s not a Judd Apatow movie! It’s a Kevin Smith movie. It doesn’t hold a candle to Clerks, but it’s still worth a watch because it’s directed and written by Kevin Smith.
Here’s the setup: Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are platonic best friends and roommates. They’re also broke. They decide to make a porno together as a scheme to get money, but they get more than they bargained for when they start to fall for each other. Also in the cast are Craig Robinson, Justin Long, and Brandon Routh (remember when he was Superman?).
12. Role Models (2008)
Two salesmen, played by Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, get in trouble with the law and are sentenced to 150 days of community service as an alternative to jail. Their assignment is to work with a big-brother/big-sister program, where they get paired with two pain-in-the-butt kids. Danny (Rudd) is paired with Augie, a medieval LARPing nerd (Christopher Mintz-Plasse from Superbad), while Wheeler (Scott) is paired with a foul-mouthed delinquent, Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson, aka Tracy’s son Tracy Jr. from 30 Rock).
Role Models is directed and co-written by David Wain of Wet Hot American Summer fame. As you can expect from a studio comedy, albeit a lackluster studio comedy, the supporting cast is stacked with comedy people: Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks, Ken Jeong, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, and Matt Walsh.
11. Labor Pains (2009)
The 2009 Lindsay Lohan pregnancy comedy Labor Pains was supposed to come out in cinemas, but something, somewhere went horribly wrong and it premiered on cable, followed by a DVD release. Mixed reviews from critics seemed to explain why the movie was shunted to TV.
In 2009, Lindsay Lohan’s career was already on the way down. The last good movie she did was 2006’s Bobby. A guest spot on Ugly Betty in 2008 didn’t do anything to revive her career.
That being said, Lindsay Lohan still knows how to lead a comedy. The concept of the movie is funny: Lohan plays a woman who gets fired but lies and says she’s pregnant, rendering her unfireable. Now she has to figure out how to keep up the ruse. There’s an interesting mix of funny people in the supporting cast: Chris Parnell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Janeane Garofalo, Cheryl Hines, Creed Bratton, and Keiko Agena.
10. RV (2006)
How many times has Hollywood done the “family vacation that goes horrible wrong” movie? A lot. But only one of them features pop singer JoJo in an acting role! It’s one of her rare Hollywood roles. She’s actually very funny!
JoJo plays the daughter of the main RV-renting family. The late Robin Williams and Cheryl Hines play dad and mom, and baby Josh Hutcherson plays the son. Don’t be surprised about the latter: he had a steady career as a child actor before capturing our hearts as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games movies.
This movie is also blessed by the presence of Broadway star and comedienne Kristin Chenoweth, who plays the matriarch of a relentlessly upbeat family that don’t seem to get the hint the Robin Williams & Co do not want to hang out with them!
9. Without a Paddle (2004)
This movie might seem like just another studio comedy, but it has quite the premise. It opens with Matthew Lillard, Seth Green, and Dax Shepard finding out that their childhood friend Billy died in a parasailing accident.
After the funeral, they find out that Billy had dedicated his life to finding D.B. Cooper’s lost treasure. If you don’t know about D.B. Cooper, hoo boy, do we have a Wikipedia page for you. Here’s the short version: he was an unidentified man who hijacked a plane traveling between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, stole $200,000, and parachuted away. He was never found or identified. He became known as D. B. Cooper based on the alias that he used to buy a plane ticket.
8. The Pacifier (2005)
In The Pacifier, Navy SEAL Shane Wolf (Vin Diesel) gets an unusual assignment: protecting the five children of a recently deceased government scientist while their mother completes an important mission. Basically, that means that big, beefy Vin Diesel is a glorified babysitter (one of the kids is an actual baby).
Most important to note is that this movie has one of the most disturbing casually-placed plot points of all time. One of the kids, the teenage Seth (Max Thieriot), starts acting weird: he bleaches his hair blond and starts cutting wrestling practice. And then the Vice Principal finds a Nazi armband with a swastika on it in his locker. There’s an easy explanation for all of this: he’s playing Rolfe in his school production of The Sound of Music. But what did they think was going on before? That he became a Neo-Nazi?! The implications of this storyline are a little too heavy to casually drop into a kids’ movie.
7. Kicking & Screaming (2005)
In Kicking & Screaming, Phil Weston (Will Ferrell) plays an average joe who ends up coaching a very bad Little League soccer team called The Tigers. His lack of experience isn’t the only thing standing in his way: his over-competitive dad Buck (Robert Duvall) is the coach of a talented rival team, The Gladiators.
Buck is also a horrible person: his intense drive to succeed took a toll on Phil as a child. In the present day, Buck traded his own grandson, Phil’s son Sam, from The Gladiators to The Tigers because he didn’t want Sam’s lack of skill holding the team back.
Phil gets caught up in being a coach. He gradually becomes tougher and harsher until eventually he starts to resemble his dad. But that also means Will Ferrell gets to go from a mild-mannered dad to a full-on douchebag jock, and it makes for some serious laughs.
6. Hot Rod (2007)
Before Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, there was an unofficial Lonely Island movie: Hot Rod. Andy Samberg was the star, Jorma Taccone had a supporting role (and a nerdy bowl cut), and Akiva Schaffer directed and made a cameo.
Samberg plays Rod Kimble, a self-proclaimed stuntman on a mission to take on the biggest stunt of his career to raise money for his abusive stepfather’s critical heart operation. That stepfather is played by Ian McShane (Game of Thrones, American Gods). Taccone, Bill Hader, and Danny McBride play members of Rod’s crew.
Samberg wears a series of ridiculous costumes, from a fake moustache he insists on sporting to heavily padded practice gear to his glorious all-leather stunt uniform. Samberg’s “Lazy Sunday” partner in crime Chris Parnell also appears.
5. The Benchwarmers (2006)
Jon Heder, Rob Schneider, and David Spade play a trio of loser friends. One of them, Gus (Schneider), is good at baseball. Clark (Heder) and Ritchie (Spade) still have PTSD from being benchwarmers on their Little League baseball teams.
One day, the guys stand up for a kid who is kicked off the baseball diamond by a group of bullies who claim the field. They challenge these insolent youths to a game for the right to the field. Surprisingly, the adults win even though two out of three of them have no athletic ability.
The guys, who have now formed a team called The Benchwarmers, go on a crusade to stand up for bulling victims by challenging every Little League team for miles around. But who will triumph: the Little League teams or three adults of varying skill? You’ll have to watch to find out!
4. Get Smart (2008)
2008’s Get Smart is a reboot of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry’s TV series of the same name. The spy comedy starred Don Adams as Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon as #99. The 2008 film cast Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway in the lead roles. That’s right, Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway played an onscreen couple. It should be noted that Hathaway is 20 years his junior.
Carell’s character Maxwell Smart is an analyst for the top secret American intelligence agency, CONTROL. He suddenly gets promoted to field agent and is partnered with the smooth and experienced Agent 99 for his first mission. Smart’s clumsy inexperience makes them an unlikely pair.
3. You, Me and Dupree (2006)
The premise of You, Me and Dupree is that Owen Wilson is the third wheel for Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson, which is definitely a role Owen Wilson is perfect for. Randolph “Randy” Dupree (Wilson) is the best man at the wedding of Carl (Dillon) and Molly (Hudson). Owen Wilson playing a character named Randolph “Randy” Dupree and goes by just “Dupree” is peak Owen Wilson.
After Dupree loses his apartment and his job, the couple lets him move in. The problem is that he doesn’t get the memo that he has to move out eventually.
2. Yes Man (2008)
Jim Carrey plays Carl Allen, a man who closes himself off by saying no to everything. Then he runs into an old coworker who gushes about a new philosophy he’s discovered: saying “Yes!” to every opportunity. Carl skeptically attends a self-improvement seminar run by the man behind the “Yes!” movement and is converted. He decides to say yes to life! Even in situations in which he probably shouldn’t say yes! This setup gives Carrey an excellent showcase for his manic comedy.
He meets a Manic Pixie Dream Girl played by Zooey Deschanel and she helps him go on this impulsive life journey. They do fun, quirky things together, like going to the airport and taking the first flight that leaves (they end up in Lincoln, Nebraska and have a grand old time).
1. Snow Dogs (2002)
Cuba Gooding Jr. had an amazing career resurgence in 2016 when he starred as O. J. Simpson in Ryan Murphy’s The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Many consider 2002’s Snow Dogs to be a a low point in his career, but it’s also an amazing cultural artifact of the ’00s. The Disney movie finds Gooding playing a dentist from sunny Miami who unexpectedly inherits a team of sled dogs in Alaska. For plot reasons, he goes to Alaska and learns to become a musher.
Snow Dogs is “inspired by” the book Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen, aka, the author of Hatchet. Winterdance is similarly intense, documenting Paulsen’s real life experience competing in the Iditarod, surviving snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, and hallucinations.
Snow Dogs has its requisite dangerous mushing scenes to give the story a fitting climax, but it’s nowhere near intense enough to merit being based on this gritty Gary Paulsen book.
Do you remember any of these comedies from the ’00s? Let us know in the comments!
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