When we watch a comedy, we expect lots of laughs and maybe some cliche jokes, but tears? Not so much. Yet, there are actually some comedies that make us shed tears as much as they give us big belly laughs.
We typically expect comedies to be an hour and a half of gags and hilarity, but sometimes there is an unexpected lesson. Other times the joke hits a little too close to the truth, and it has us welling up. It’s the surprise factor that makes the sudden change in emotion even more impactful. To save you some surprise waterworks, scroll through the gallery to see the so-called “comedies” that are actually pretty depressing.
19. About Time
Richard Curtis movies are normally filled with emotion (hello, Love Actually), but we weren’t expecting too much of the heavy stuff in the 2013 comedy About Time. After all, it was a film about Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) whose dad (Bill Nighy) tells him that the men in his family can travel through time. Light stuff, right? Not when you factor in the father-son relationship, the fact there are some things Tim cannot do and the relationship between Tim and Mary (Rachel McAdams).
18. Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman is a 1990 film that was classified as a romance-comedy. There are definitely parts of the movie that fit into both categories, but the way the Cinderella tale is made more real with wealthy businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) falling for a hooker Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) got to us. There are some very real, deep parts from the Disneyland stuff to Vivian’s promise about the cocaine. Against the funny lines and the fairy tale aspects, they hit you that much harder.
17. Forrest Gump
There are people who love Forrest Gump. Then there are those who will never, ever watch it again because it made them cry like a baby. The 1994 movie is actually classified as a comedy-drama, but some would argue that it falls more in the drama category. The whole idea about Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) never seeing himself as having a disability is heart-warming and inspiring. Then there is his mother’s (Sally Fields) encouragement. Are you crying yet? The fact Tom is the main character, and plays him so tenderly, make our eyes water more.
16. Young Adult
Young Adult is one of those movies that hit a little too close to home. We might not exactly identify with Charlize Theron IRL, but many of us sure identified with her character, Mavis Gary, in the 2014 comedy-drama. Some people might not return to their hometown to try to steal their high school sweetheart, but many could relate to those old feelings of exes and trying to bring back the glory days. It was also too real to see how Mavis’s plan didn’t go exactly the way she wanted it to. #Life
Do you remember 2006’s Click? You might not have thought that an Adam Sandler movie about a guy Michael Newman, who gets a magical remote from a crazy inventor named Morty (Christopher Walken) would have you welling up, but that’s what made it even more emotional. Here we thought it would be a light-hearted movie featuring Adam doing crazy things with his remote. In reality, we went beyond the typical prankster humor for some sad family stuff.
14. Patch Adams
When Patch Adams was released in 1998, it was still a tear-jerker of a movie. It was actually a semi-biographical comedy-drama that was based on the life of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams. The late, great Robin Williams plays the innovative doctor alongside Monica Porter and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The story is emotional from the start with Patch being suicidal. While he is in an institution, he realizes how humor can help people. We’re not crying, you’re crying.
13. In Bruges
In Bruges is one of those cult favorite movies that graces a lot of hipsters’ top film lists. What people fail to sometimes mention is that it can actually be pretty sad. You might not think it would bring out some deep feelings given that it had the tagline, “Shoot first, Sightsee later.” But, the 2008 film actually had some dark moments beneath the guns. There’s a reason some call it a black comedy instead of just a comedy. Some people don’t call it a comedy at all.
Okay, we expected a few tears in 50/50. After all, the 2011 comedy-drama was about Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a health-conscious guy who found out he had malignant tumors on his spine and he was given a 50/50 percent chance of survival. But, the movie had Seth Rogen, so surely there would be a lot of humor? Not exactly. Even the funny parts were laced with sadness, and we ended up crying like babies.
11. Toy Story 3
Toy Story and Tory Story 2 were both fun with just the right amount of nostalgia to make us feel good rather than sad. Then the “fantasy comedy-drama” follow-up Toy Story 3 came out in 2010 and basically ripped a massive hole in our hearts. The film saw Andy preparing to leave for college and Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang headed for the attic. Things got worse when they accidentally ended up outside to be picked up in garbage collection. And things only got sadder from there.
10. Big Daddy
Adam Sandler is on the list again for making us very sad when we should be laughing. This time it’s with Big Daddy. The film centers around 32-year-old Sonny Koufax who basically has avoided adulting and any sort of responsibility until he finds an abandoned kid on his doorstep, Julian “Frankenstein” McGrath, who is played by toddler twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Seeing Sonny and Julian grow up on the screen is already moving, but it’s the ending that delivers the sucker punch in the stomach.
9. Terms of Endearment
Gah, older movies can also get you where it hurts. Take Terms of Endearment for example. The 1983 comedy-drama was supposed to mix laughs while dealing with a divorce and cheating. But, the complex relationships between mother and daughter, husband and wife, mother and son-in-law, and more hit literally too close to home. Once you start thinking about your own relationships, you’re toast.
8. The World’s End
Perhaps if you have seem some of Simon Pegg‘s work, you would have saw the emotion coming. Or, maybe you thought that an action-comedy-fantasy film about a 40-year-old man trying to relive an epic pub crawl from 20 years ago would be filled with all the gags. Oh, how we did learn with The World’s End. There are definitely some laughs, but there are some tough moments when you look at growing up and how you expected your life to be versus reality.
7. Funny People
Note to self: Stop believing that movies with “funny” in the title will be nothing but a barrel of laughs. Funny People proved that wrong. It also showed we have to stop trusting Adam Sandler. The 2009 film literally had a collective of hilarious actors including Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill and Aubrey Plaza, but the story is ~emotional~. Adam plays George Simmons, a comedian who finds out he has a fatal disease. He’s then inspired to help an aspiring comedienne. Awwww, shucks.
You may or may not have heard of Beaches. If you haven’t seen the 1988 film, but you want to because it has Bette Midler and Mayim Bialik in it, let us warn you that you that it can make you feel pretty down in the dumps. If you’re going through any sort of friendship problems, it’s not the movie for you. It looks at friends who meet as young girls and their story of growing up. Those who call it a melodrama are more accurate than those who dub it a comedy.
5. Lars And The Real Girl
You probably became interested in the 2007 indie comedy-drama Lars and the Real Girl because Ryan Gosling was in it. What you might not have expected was that the movie would take you on an emotional ride not unlike The Notebook. The concept seems a little absurd when you consider that socially awkward Lars Lindstrom (Ryan) reveals he has a girlfriend on the internet, only for people to find out she’s plastic. However, the movie draws you in and makes your heart break a little.
4. The Family Stone
For the record, we would like to point out that The Family Stone is a romance-comedy-drama that was released in December and meant to be a holiday film. It does focus around the holidays, but it focuses on the emotional turmoil that people deal with when spending time with all of their relatives. It showed a realer side than most Christmas movies. When you’re not expecting it, it can really get you. Plus, no spoilers but THAT ENDING.
3. The Break Up
Jennifer Aniston plus Vince Vaughn? That should be a nice, light comedy, right? Oh, how wrong we were. We thought the movie would have some good gags given that it was about Brooke Meyers (Jennifer) and Gary Grobowski (Vince) breaking up but both refusing to move out of the condo they shared. There were some shenanigans, but it brought up some sensitive stuff about relationships and moving on, whether you’re ready or not.
2. 500 Days Of Summer
We’ve come to expect a certain kind of story from Zooey Deschanel, and it’s normally something quirky-cute that puts a smile on our faces. That wasn’t exactly what we got from 2009’s 500 Days of Summer, despite the film being dubbed a comedy-drama-romance. The movie ended up delivering some serious feels as we heard the story about Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for the title character, Summer (Zooey), who doesn’t believe in love. Relatable.
1. Marley & Me
We should know by now that anything involving animals should come with a warning. Marley & Me was a comedy-drama from 2006, which centered around the adorable dog in the title. Yes, we should have known what the ending was. We could see it coming, but we just didn’t want to admit to ourselves that it was actually going to happen. After a bucket full of tears, we wondered how the movie could ever be considered a comedy. Just thinking about it now makes us well up.