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21 Best Comedies of the 1990s: From Jumanji to Liar Liar and beyond!

21 Best Comedies of the 1990s: From Jumanji to Liar Liar and beyond

Welcome to the Hilarious World of the 1990s

So you are one of those keen comedy lovers, who like to travel back in time to experience the humor of earlier cinematic eras. So are we!

The 1990s may be a thing of the distant past, but thanks to an enthralling, good old invention called Film, it will never be really gone.

Whenever you miss the last decade of the 20th century and feel like laughing your heart out, all you have to do, is watching one (or more) of its best comedies.

But which ones should you watch?
Well, if that’s the very question lurking in your mind right now, then you came to the right place. We’re just about to present 21 of the greatest comedy films of the 1990s.

This is not your average comedy list featuring only the funniest and stupidest films. We treat comedy as the broad genre it actually is. Thus, we tried to diversify this collection as much as possible.

We picked family comedies, romantic comedies, fantasy comedies, comedy-dramas, superhero comedies, detective comedies, adventure comedies, science fiction comedies, psychological comedies, crime comedies, sex comedies and everything in between.

Ready to see the list? Buckle up then, and let the best comedies of the 1990s make you laugh out loud!

This collection is an episode of FrameTrek’s Best Comedies of All Time. A mega-journey dedicated to identify the funniest films of each cinematic era, chronologically. It starts with the Comedies of the Silent Era and wanders ahead decade-by-decade, all the way to our ever moving present.



Revealing the Top 21 Comedies of the 1990s

Chronologically


Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone (1990), Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Most popular comedy films of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Christmas comedy family film starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

Story: An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. (IMDB)

Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin’s cute performance and strong supporting stars.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Home Alone among the best 1990s comedy films?
✓ One of the highest grossing movies of the 1990s.
✓ Nominated for two Academy Awards and one Golden Globe.
✓ Hailed as a holiday classic among audiences and is often ranked as one of the best Christmas films of all time.


Pretty Woman (1990)

Pretty Woman (1990), Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Most popular comedies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Romantic comedy film starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

Story: A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love. (IMDB)

Pretty Woman may be a yuppie fantasy, but the film’s slick comedy, soundtrack, and casting can overcome misgivings.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Pretty Woman among the best 1990s comedy movies?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ It was widely successful at the box office and became one of the most popular movies of the 1990s.
✓ Julia Roberts received a Golden Globe Award and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.


Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day (1993), Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Funniest movies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Fantasy comedy film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Story: A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again. (IMDB)

Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray’s dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Groundhog Day among the best 1990s comedies?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Fantasy”.
✓ Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time”.


Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Chris Columbus, Robin Williams, Funniest films of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Comedy-drama film directed by Chris Columbus and starring Robin Williams.

Story: After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children held in custody by his former wife. (IMDB)

On paper, Mrs. Doubtfire might seem excessively broad or sentimental, but Robin Williams shines so brightly in the title role that the end result is difficult to resist.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Mrs. Doubtfire among the best comedy movies of the 1990s?
✓ It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
✓ Robin Williams was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
✓ Included on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list and it’s also on Bravo’s list of the 100 Funniest Movies of All Time.



Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Dumb and Dumber (1994), Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Best 1990s comedy films
Where to Watch?   More info

Comedy film starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.

Story: After a woman leaves a briefcase at the airport terminal, a dumb limo driver and his dumber friend set out on a hilarious cross-country road trip to Aspen to return it. (IMDB)

A relentlessly stupid comedy elevated by its main actors: Jim Carrey goes bonkers and Jeff Daniels carries himself admirably in an against-type performance.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Dumb and Dumber among the best comedy films of the 1990s?
✓ The movies was a box office success and has developed a cult following in the years after its release.
✓ The popularity of the film solidified Carrey’s reputation as one of the most prominent actors of the 1990s.


The Mask (1994)

The Mask (1994), Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Best 1990s comedy movies
Where to Watch?   More info

Superhero comedy film starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz.

Story: Bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss is transformed into a manic superhero when he wears a mysterious mask. (IMDB)

It misses perhaps as often as it hits, but Jim Carrey’s manic bombast, Cameron Diaz’ blowsy appeal, and the film’s overall cartoony bombast keep The Mask afloat.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Mask among the best comedies of the 1990s?
✓ Upon release, the film became a critical and commercial success, and had a significant influence on pop culture.
✓ It cemented Carrey’s reputation as a significant actor of the 1990s, and it established the previously unknown Diaz as a leading lady.


Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), Jim Carrey, Best 1990s comedies
Where to Watch?   More info

Detective comedy film starring Jim Carrey.

Story: A goofy detective specializing in animals goes in search of the missing mascot of the Miami Dolphins. (IMDB)

Jim Carrey’s twitchy antics and gross-out humor are on full, bombastic display in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which is great news for fans of his particular brand of comedy but likely unsatisfying for anyone else.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Jumanji (1995)

Jumanji (1995), Robin Williams, Best comedy movies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Fantasy adventure comedy film starring Robin Williams.

Story: When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped in it for decades – and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game. (IMDB)

A feast for the eyes with a somewhat malnourished plot, Jumanji is an underachieving adventure that still offers a decent amount of fun for the whole family.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Jumanji among the best 1990s comedy films?
✓ Upon release it became a box office success and gathered a significant cult following over the years.
✓ One of the most popular family comedies of the 1990s.



Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Life Is Beautiful (1997), Roberto Benigni, Best comedy films of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Italian comedy-drama film directed, co-written by and starring Roberto Benigni.

Story: When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp. (IMDB)

Benigni’s earnest charm, when not overstepping its bounds into the unnecessarily treacly, offers the possibility of hope in the face of unflinching horror.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Life Is Beautiful among the best 1990s comedy movies?
✓ Winner of 3 Oscars, and nominee for another 4, including the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ Academy Award.
✓ It also won the Grand Prix at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, nine David di Donatello Awards, including Best Film, five Nastro d’Argento Awards in Italy, and two European Film Awards.
✓ It was a critical and financial success and it became one of the highest-grossing non-English movies of all time.


Men in Black (1997)

Men in Black (1997), Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Best comedies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Science fiction action comedy film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.

Story: A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth. (IMDB)

Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Men in Black among the best 1990s comedies?
✓ It received positive reviews, with critics praising its humor, action sequences, Jones and Smith’s performances, special effects and Danny Elfman’s musical score.
✓ It was a major box office success, it became one of the most popular movies of the 1990s, and developed a significant cult following.


Liar Liar (1997)

Liar Liar (1997), Jim Carrey, Top comedy movies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Fantasy comedy film starring Jim Carrey.

Story: A fast-track lawyer can’t lie for 24 hours due to his son’s birthday wish after he disappoints his son for the last time. (IMDB)

Despite its thin plot, Liar Liar is elevated by Jim Carrey’s exuberant brand of physical humor, and the result is a laugh riot that helped to broaden the comedian’s appeal.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

As Good as It Gets (1997)

As Good as It Gets (1997), James L. Brooks, Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Top comedy films of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Romantic comedy film directed by James L. Brooks, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.

Story: A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery. (IMDB)

James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is As Good as It Gets among the best comedy movies of the 1990s?
Featured on Empire magazine’s “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time” list.
Nicholson and Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively.
It was a box office hit and it became one of the most popular comedies of the 1990s.



Truman Show (1998)

Truman Show (1998), Jim Carrey, Top comedies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Psychological comedy-drama film starring Jim Carrey.

Story: An insurance salesman discovers his whole life is actually a reality TV show. (IMDB)

A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Truman Show among the best comedy films of the 1990s?
✓ The film was a financial success, debuting to critical acclaim, and earned numerous nominations at the 71st Academy Awards, 56th Golden Globe Awards, 52nd British Academy Film Awards and The Saturn Awards.
✓ It has been analysed as a thesis on Christianity, meta-philosophy, simulated reality, existentialism, and reality television.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1990s, and an influential satirical science fiction classic.


The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski (1998), Joel and Ethan Coen, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Greatest comedy movies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Crime comedy film written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman.

Story: Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. (IMDB)

Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Big Lebowski among the best comedies of the 1990s?
✓ Featured in Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Guy Ritchie, Greatest comedy films of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

British crime comedy film written and directed by Guy Ritchie.

Story: Eddy persuades his three pals to pool money for a vital poker game against a powerful local mobster, Hatchet Harry. Eddy loses, after which Harry gives him a week to pay back 500,000 pounds. (IMDB)

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is a grimy, twisted, and funny twist on the Tarantino hip gangster formula.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels among the top comedy movies of the 1990s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ The film brought Ritchie international acclaim and introduced actors Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham to worldwide audiences.


There’s Something About Mary (1998)

There’s Something About Mary (1998), Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Greatest comedies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Romantic comedy film starring Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller.

Story: A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster. (IMDB)

There’s Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly peurile humor doesn’t necessarily come at the expense of a film’s heart.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is There’s Something About Mary among the top comedy films of the 1990s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ It became a major box office success and received positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised its humor and Diaz’s performance.
✓ Featured on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Laughs list and the readers of Total Film magazine voted it the fourth-greatest comedy film of all time.



Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Johnny Depp, Benicio del Toro, Most popular comedy movies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Adventure comedy-drama film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.

Story: An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades. (IMDB)

Visually creative, but also aimless, repetitive, and devoid of character development.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas among the top comedies of the 1990s?
✓ One of the most popular comedies of the 1990s, now considered a true cult classic among film fans.


American Pie (1999)

American Pie (1999), Paul Weitz, Most popular comedy films of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Sex comedy film directed and co-produced Paul Weitz.

Story: Four teenage boys enter a pact to lose their virginity by prom night. (IMDB)

So embarrassing it’s believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is American Pie among the greatest comedy movies of the 1990s?
✓ The film was a box-office hit, it became one of the most popular comedies of the 1990s and developed a significant cult following.


Being John Malkovich (1999)

Being John Malkovich (1999), John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Most popular comedies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Fantasy comedy-drama film starring John Cusack and Cameron Diaz.

Story: A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of movie star John Malkovich. (IMDB)

Smart, funny, and highly original, Being John Malkovich supports its wild premise with skillful direction and a stellar ensemble cast.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Being John Malkovich among the greatest comedy films of the 1990s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Widely acclaimed by critics upon release, and it is now considered a classic comedy.


10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Funniest movies of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

Romantic comedy film starring Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Story: A pretty, popular teenager can’t go out on a date until her ill-tempered older sister does. (IMDB)

Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger add strong performances to an unexpectedly clever script, elevating 10 Things (slightly) above typical teen fare.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is 10 Things I Hate About You among the greatest comedies of the 1990s?
✓ It was a financial and critical success upon release, becoming one of the most popular comedies of the 1990s.
✓ It was a breakthrough role for Stiles, Ledger, and Gordon-Levitt, all of whom were nominated for various teen-oriented awards.


Notting Hill (1999)

Notting Hill (1999), Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Funniest films of the 1990s
Where to Watch?   More info

British-American romantic comedy film starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

Story: The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world. (IMDB)

A rom-com with the right ingredients, Notting Hill proves there’s nothing like a love story well told — especially when Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts are your leads.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Notting Hill among the most popular comedy movies of the 1990s?
✓ Well-received by critics and became the highest-grossing British film of all time, up to that point.
✓ Winner of the British Comedy Award and the Audience Award for Most Popular Film at the BAFTAs.
✓ Featured on the British Film Institute’s “list of the all-time top 100 films”.



…end of the reel…

So there you have it: The 21 Greatest Comedies of the 1990s

If you want to take a look at the movies listed above, without all that info between the titles, here’s a quick recap:

Top 21 Comedies of the 1990s
Home Alone 1990
Home Alone (1990)
*Part of the Collection: Home Alone Franchise
Pretty Woman 1990
Pretty Woman (1990)
Groundhog Day 1993
Groundhog Day (1993)
Mrs. Doubtfire 1993
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Dumb and Dumber 1994
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
*Part of the Collection: Dumb and Dumber Duology

The Mask 1994
The Mask (1994)
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 1994
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
*Part of the Collection: Ace Venture Duology

Jumanji 1995
Jumanji (1995)
*Part of the Collection: Jumanji Trilogy
Life Is Beautiful 1997
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
Men in Black 1997
Men in Black (1997)
*Part of the Collection: Men in Black Quadrology
Liar Liar 1997
Liar Liar (1997)
As Good as It Gets 1997
As Good as It Gets (1997)
Truman Show 1998
Truman Show (1998)
The Big Lebowski 1998
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 1998
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
There’s Something About Mary 1998
There’s Something About Mary (1998)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
American Pie 1999
American Pie (1999)
*Part of the Collection: American Pie Franchise
Being John Malkovich 1999
Being John Malkovich (1999)
10 Things I Hate About You 1999
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Notting Hill 1999
Notting Hill (1999)
*Click any title for more info or for Streaming / Disc Buying options

Ready for another journey?

Explore the best comedies of other decades too!

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