In case you need a break from finals preparation, scheduling and frantic force-adding, here are six quality comedies streaming right now to distract you.
What About Bob? (Netflix)
Bill Murray is Bob, a man crippled by anxiety and countless phobias who wears his pet goldfish, Gil, in a small jar strung around his neck. Desperate for help, Bob stalks and follows his therapist, Dr. Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), out to his vacation home in New Hampshire and wreaks havoc on his intended reprieve from work. It doesn’t sound great, but watching Murray and Dreyfuss’ polarizing characters square off, unknowingly on Bob’s part, makes this (in my humble opinion) the greatest comedy currently gracing Netflix’s film collection.
Before you see Stage Left’s take on the 1988 film this weekend, check out the original. In the most realistic cinematic take on high school to date, reluctant popular girl Veronica (Winona Ryder) decides she’s fed up with her color-coordinated, croquet-playing clique. Also tired of seeing the titular Heathers terrorizing Westerburg High School’s student population, trench coat-clad J.D. (Christian Slater) joins Veronica in her mission to bring them down. Veronica gets more than she bargained for when they wind up as inadvertent murderers staging suicides for popular kids they’ve offed — it’s a few shades darker than its predecessors The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, but Heathers is a cult classic for a reason.
Obvious Child (Amazon Prime)
This is a relentlessly honest, unflinchingly hilarious tale of twenty-something Donna (Jenny Slate) whose life is falling apart. Soon after her boyfriend leaves her for her best friend, the part-time comedian also finds herself without a job and with an unwanted pregnancy. The oblivious father Max (Jake Lacy) is still hanging around as Donna deliberates whether or not to have the baby, and the two have easy, charming chemistry. Gaby Hoffmann is also a cynical, supportive delight as Donna’s roommate Nellie. Obvious Child is, like HBO’s Girls, a brazen female-driven gem of a comedy.
Moonrise Kingdom (Netflix)
1960s middle-schoolers Suzy and Sam (Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman) just want to be together, logic and societal norms be damned. This film follows the two kids as they run away from their respective homes and attempt to start a life together in the wilderness of their New England island. A host of Wes Anderson film regulars (Bill Murray as Suzy’s disgruntled father, Frances McDormand as her frazzled mother, Edward Norton as Sam’s Khaki Scout leader, etc.) must track them down before a major storm hits the island. Moonrise Kingdom is touching, thoroughly entertaining and most importantly, aesthetically pleasing.
A Royal Night Out (Netflix)
This film focuses on the (heavily dramatized) night that then-Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret spent out in London on V-E Day in 1945. Join the sisters (played by Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley) as they escape the oppressive clutches of palace security and embark on, as the title suggests, a night out. Elizabeth must hunt down Margaret after she vanishes with a group of questionable men, and of course she’s joined by a disgruntled soldier/love interest (Jack Raynor.) This film is nothing like The Crown, Netflix’s $100 million series currently generating a lot of buzz, but it’s still fluffy, lighthearted fun.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Netflix)
Fulfilling all of our wildest dreams, The Lizzie McGuire Movie is currently streaming on Netflix. A Cinderella Story, another Hillary Duff classic, is also available, providing an unprecedented double-feature opportunity.
Cover photo by Joakim Wahlander on Flickr.