Whether your tastes veer to the brash and bawdy or the dark and dry, there's something to tickle all funny bones.
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SBS Movies

19 Feb 2014 - 12:46 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 10:26 AM

Find out more about the films in this collection, and click on the link to watch one right now. Don’t forget to rate each of the films you watch, to go in the draw to win a World Movies Secret Cinema experience. The more you watch, the greater your chances of winning!

Beautiful Lies

Even Audrey Tautou’s best laid plans can go awry: in Pierre Salvadori’s charming romp hairdresser Emilie (Amelie star Tautou) decides to motivate her single mother, Maddy (Nathalie Baye), by copying out the anonymous love letter she previously received from her love-struck handyman, Jean (Sami Bouajila). The scheme works too well, with the suddenly excited Maddy pursuing Jean in a way that no-one wants to see from their mother. From William Shakespeare to Jane Austen, matchmaking has been a recipe for comic disaster, and Salvadori finds a delicious level of exasperation in Tautou’s meddling daughter. (CM)
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Boy

New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi does an outstanding job of capturing the strange and joyous currents of childhood in this coming of age comedy about an 11-year-old everyone calls Boy (James Rolleston) from the North Island’s Bay of Plenty. Boy's popular culture fantasies – its 1984 and he’s big on Michael Jackson’s Thriller album – are mixed up with his hopes for the return of his long absent dad. The hilarious and the bittersweet are intertwined here, especially once the errant father (played by Waititi) returns with his haphazard motorcycle gang. In Boy’s loving eyes, a pub brawl memorably becomes the clip for Michael Jackson’s Beat It. (CM)
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Clash of Egos

In this outrageous Danish comedy Tony Jensen (Ulrich Thomsen), who has just served time for his abysmal anger management skills, takes his children to the movies and they end up seeing a pretentious arthouse drama directed by the esteemed, and rather self-important, Danish filmmaker Claus Volter (Nikolaj Lie Kaas). Tony hates it so much so that he sets out to find the filmmaker and get a personal refund, but outrageous plot circumstances soon have Tony collaborate with the imperious Claus, whose behaviour, demeanour, and even haircut, are rather firmly reminiscent of one Lars von Trier. (CM)


Vincent Wants To Sea

Have you heard the one about the Tourette’s syndrome sufferer at his mother’s funeral? It’s actually the hilarious opening scene of Ralf Huettner’s German comedy about a young man, Vincent (Florian David Fitz, the movie’s writer), sent to an institution for his socially problematic condition who soon ends up breaking out with an anorexic young woman (Karoline Herfurth) and his obsessive-compulsive roommate (Johannes Allmayer). The trio, headed for Italy, finds a degree of satisfaction together, even as they’re pursued by Vincent’s father and the clinic’s head, whose own problems are revealed by the journey. The result is heartfelt but nonetheless amusing. (CM)


Get Ready To Be Boyvoiced

As Justin Bieber has amply demonstrated, the world of teen pop can quickly become a daft and ludicrous one, but this Norwegian mockumentary about the fall and rise of a talentless boy band manages to come up with classic scenarios for its three misguided protagonists and their ill-prepared handlers. Complete with cheesy choreography and tragically authentic video clips – “12-Year-Old Woman” deserves to be a hit – this is the Scandinavian Spinal Tap, with a facepalm worthy lead performance by co-writer and co-director Espen Eckbo as the hapless frontman M’Pete. You’ll never look at the Backstreet Boys the same way again. (CM)


Shall We Kiss?

“Before a kiss has been given, no-one knows if it will be big or small,” notes a character in Shall We Kiss? You may not be surprised to know that this understated romantic comedy is French. Emilie (Julie Gayet) and Gabriel (Michael Cohen) meet and are attracted to each other, but she is reticent to kiss him because the ramifications are unknown, invoking the story of her friend Judith (Virginie Ledoyen) and Nicolas (writer/director Emmanuel Mouret), whose own debate about the philosophical giving way to the physical soon becomes farcically fraught in a charmingly unhinged Gallic manner. (CM)


Kops

In a small Swedish town the local police force face a crisis: their station is scheduled to be closed because there is no crime. Their solution, in Josef Fares’ ludicrously pleasing comedy, is to stir up a crime wave to justify their easy lives. The quartet’s attempts to find and nurture malcontents eventually take off (there’s a hit and run… on a rubbish bin), but the film’s true pleasures are the daydreams of one of the officers, Benny (Torkel Petersson), whose crime-fighting fantasies are seemingly derived from the movies of Stephen Chow and the Wachowskis. (CM)


Janis and John

Actor and French filmmaker Samuel Benchetrit’s first feature is a straight-faced comedy about deception – both of yourself and others – that snowballs into farce. Pablo (Sergi Lopez) is a slightly shonky insurance salesman who has been pocketing a client’s premiums in the belief they’ll never be required, so when the amount suddenly falls due he schemes to alleviate a wealthy and eccentric cousin, Leon (Christopher Lambert), of the balance. Leon is a seventies LSD casualty awaiting the second coming of John Lennon and Janis Joplin, so Pablo recruits a failed actor (Francois Cluzet) and his own wife (Marie Trintignant) to pose as the 'resurrected' pair. Which they do, very badly. (CM)


Love At First Hiccup

This madcap Danish high school flick gets the balance between the ribald and the sweet just right, as a hopeful student, Victor (Robert Hansen), falls in love with a fellow student, Anya (Sofie Lassen-Kahlke), and then furiously campaigns to get her attention and stop her sleeping with her current boyfriend. The twist is that Victor is advised by a pair of aspiring adolescent filmmakers who are secretly filming his endeavours; they give him terrible advice – a tarantula is not a good birthday present – in the hopes of capturing a train wreck. They get what they wanted. (CM)


The Swimsuit Issue

After a bachelor party takes over a swim centre, Fredrik (Jonas Inde) has an epiphany: he and his friends should form a male synchronised swimming team. “Why can’t you have a normal mid-life crisis?!,” the wife of one prospective member laments, as Mans Herngren’s film explores gender roles in Sweden with a touch of The Full Monty and a drily funny tone. It’s a feel good effort, even if the team don’t look good in their budgie smugglers. As they point out to a scuba diver who questions their sexuality, “Look who’s wearing black rubber!” (CM)


A Boyfriend For My Wife

Fact: any plan in a movie to initiate relationship change is doomed to backfire. Tenso (Adrian Sur) is irritated and annoyed by his domineering, perpetually angry wife, Tana (Valeria Bertuccelli) whose temper tantrums have both killed his affection for her and also scared him away from asking for a divorce. He schemes to hire a wily old seducer (Gabriel Goity) to divert her, but as he goes to work, wouldn't you know it, those funny forgotten feelings start to reignite Tenso's spark for his wife and he must compete for her. Watch out for the marriage therapy scenes, which have a pleasurably droll rhythm. (CM)


Reclaim Your Brain!

Played with narcissistic privilege by the always committed Moritz Bleibtrau, Rainer is a hugely successful producer of German reality television. He views the world as if the people in it are no more than prospective participants on one of his shows. But when he painfully sees the light – “No-one is as dumb as the shows we churn out!” Rainer tells one bemused colleague – Hans Weingartner’s social criticism becomes a vivid romp as the new renegade and a former adversary (Elsa Sophie Gambard) set out to rig the television ratings to trigger a programming change. (CM)


Clara and Me

One of the gentlest comedies in this sometimes uproarious stream, actor turned writer/director Arnaud Viard’s first feature is the story of Antoine (Julien Boisselier), a Parisian whose ease with life can no longer mask his loneliness and growing dissatisfaction. When he meets Clara (Julie Gayet, yes the Julie Gayet France’s President Francoise Hollande is reportedly very fond of) he finds someone he’s physically compatible with even if there are philosophical differences. Commitment proves an issue, although it does give a gifted supporting cast a topic to drily comment on in a deftly played romantic comedy. (CM)


Torrente: The Dumb Arm of the Law

Some concepts travel extremely well in comedies, and - as proven by the success of Santiago Segura’s film - one of them is the notion of the ethically and intellectually challenged policeman actually trying to make a difference. In the film that would launch a franchise (see below), Segura’s Jose Luis Torrente is slovenly former Madrid police officer – check that combover and prominent belly – who in between pursuing the nymphomaniac downstairs, investigates a possible drug ring operating out of the local Chinese restaurant. This is one of those films where in the name of doing right some very wrong (and embarrassingly amusing) things are done. (CM)


Torrente 2: Mission In Marabella

Nothing good can last for Jose Luis Torrente, and in this sequel he’s back on the brink, having squandered all he gained from the original Torrente. In Marbella, in the south of Spain, the appalling former police officer now works as a private eye, a career in which he’s hardly proficient. His version of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars is a group of handicapped locals, who Torrente affectionately exploits no more and no less than anyone else in his messy life. You can see where a test driving a car scene is headed, but that makes it no less funny. (CM)


Torrente 3: The Protector

To answer your question: yes, that’s a cameo by Oliver Stone as a drunken American, in a scummy strip club, where several then- stars of the Real Madrid football team are about to fight with Torrente, who is a diehard Atletico Madrid supporter. By this third installment the Torrente films had become a famous franchise (there's a fifth now filming, this time with a cameo by Alec Baldwin); the core of deeply incorrect humour remains strong as the dissolute anti-hero is chosen as a bodyguard for a female Italian politician (Yvonne Scio) by the very corporation looking to assassinate her. Torrente remains armed and clueless. (CM)