Best family comedy movies
Want to start a debate? Ask which is funnier, Paddington or Paddington 2. Paddington has the bathtub scene and the deliciously evil taxidermist Millicent Clyde (Nicole Kidman), while Paddington 2 has the pink prisoner uniforms and the song-and-dance numbers by Phoenix Buchanan (Hug Grant). Point is, the Paddington series is hilarious. As important, these films are good-natured, and feature important lessons about kindness and friendship. Rated PG.
From sidekicks to superstars, the Minions busted out of the Despicable Me franchise and have gone rogue in this slice of slapstick silliness. Little, yellow and essentially useless, can they carry an entire film? The answer is yes. The Minions indulge their weirdest, most randomly hilarious instincts. Set in the summer of 1968, the film follows three Minions as they search for a new evil master to serve. They fix upon supervillain Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock)—the action sequences are wild, the jokes dumb-but-smart, and the sense of anything-goes is glorious. Rated PG.
Don't worry about the strange setup–that all babies are sorted into two categories, and the ones who don't become part of a family are trained as managers in Babycorp–because your kid will love it when the gravel-voiced Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) goes undercover with the Templeton family. For some reason, the schtick of baby sounding like a cynical middle-aged manager doesn't get old. This is a film that's snarky, and funny, and deeply silly. Rated PG.
If you think your four-legged friend waits patiently by the door for your arrival then you haven't met Max, the mischevious dog who thinks he's the king of the house. Max is thrown for a loop when his owner brings home another pup, Duke. The two end up on the streets of NYC—will they make it home? A few of Max's friends join forces to help see them back to safety. Our advice? Stick with the original—the 2019 sequel doesn't quite measure up. Rated PG.
This Disney Pixar film is a new classic. It tells the story of monsters Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal), who work together at Monsters, Inc., a power company fueled by the screams of human children collected by monsters who go into the human world to scare them. When a haunting fail brings a small child into their world, they must work together to make things hilariously right. Rated G.
With one obvious exception, toy stories do not have the luckiest big-screen pedigree: the results are often either sugary cartoons for undemanding kids or noisy blockbusters for brain-dead teens. If the producers of ‘The LEGO Movie’ had taken either approach, there would have been an outcry: these lifeless plastic bricks are too beloved, too iconic to be subjected to the Hollywood sausage-factory treatment. Luckily the script is witty, the satire surprisingly pointed and the animation tactile and imaginative. Rated PG.
This animated adventure takes the idea of talking animals somewhere fresh by giving us a distinctly human world, with cities, streets and ice cream parlors populated by almost every mammal you can think of. It tells the story of Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a do-gooder who's the first bunny to join the police—and who finds herself needing the help of Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a con artist fox. You know how it's going to end–it is a Disney film, after all–but the journey is delightful, especially a brilliant comic slow burn with a very leisurely bureaucratic sloth. Rated PG.
The original ‘Muppet Show’ first screened its unique combination of sweet, surreal and subtly satirical silliness in 1976. Over 30 years later, Jason Segel and Amy Adams revived the franchise with this feelgood film full of soulful psychedelic songsmithery and rubber chicken gags. But the real stars are, of course, the Muppets themselves. Prepare yourself for subversive asides, terrible puns and some of the most ludicrous, maniacal musical numbers ever committed to film. Rated PG.
Mischief is synonymous with Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter's well-known trouble maker received the live-action treatment in 2018 and was voiced by funnyman James Corden. All in all, a recipe for laughs...and a bit of disaster (well, for the McGregor family at any rate). Peter and his crew love taking bites out of Mr. McGregor's garden. The battle between man and rabbit continues after the old man's passing, as his young nephew is left to care for the estate. It's game on for Peter and the new McGregor—especially since he's taken a liking to the bunnies' neighbor, Bea. Although a famed tale, this rendition is best for the older rabbits in your clan. Rated PG.
Protective parents will totally relate to clownfish Marlin, a relatively new dad who just wants his only surviving child to be safe. Unfortunately, Nemo—like most youngsters—is a tad defiant and breaks his dad’s rules. When he ultimately goes missing, Marlin heads out on an epic journey across the ocean, meeting Dory (a forgetful Regal Blue Tang), uber-chill sea turtles and other interesting creatures along the way. PSA: Listen to your parents, kids! Rated PG.
There's an arcade game character, Ralph, who's grown tired of his bad-guy persona. He embarks on a quest to prove that he can be nice, but trouble follows. In the sequel, which hit theaters in 2018, Ralph and his friend take on the World Wide Web in order to save his buddy's video game. Rated PG.
This super crime-fighting family has won the hearts of children and adults alike as it takes on evil. The 2018 film, The Incredibles 2, takes a page from Wonder Woman's book, as Elastigirl is off fighting crime while her hubby, Mr. Incredible, is home with the kiddos. But when the crew needs to take down another nefarious plan, they'll just have to make it work. Rated PG.
Steve Carell is the voice of Gru, a suburban supervillain whose seemingly innocuous home sits above a vast underground lair populated by hordes of yellow gibberish-speaking minions. Gru is prone to freeze-raying passers-by and plots to steal the moon, but when he adopts three adorable tow-headed orphan girls it’s not long before their plucky charm and winning optimism begin to melt his cold, cold heart. Rated PG.
Goonies never say die, and you'll never believe where determination gets these crazy kids. In the beloved 80s flick, a group of boys must face the music: Their homes are being taken from them, and in turn, they'll be separated. However, one precocious and relentless member of the crew is determined to find One-Eyed Willy's treasure to save their homes. Things seem somewhat plausible...until the Fratelli's get on their case. Will the boys come out of their quest successful, and more importantly, alive? The Goonies is one of Spielberg's best! Rated PG.
While multiple iterations of Toy Story have turned it into a substantial franchise, the original tale is still our favorite by far. Who can forget meeting Woody and Buzz for the first time? Kids will love seeing Andy’s toys come to life and even go on an unexpected journey when some things go awry. Don’t be surprised when they start looking at their own toys a little differently. Rated G.
Could Rob Reiner's simultaneous send-up and celebration of fairy tales have better captured the imagination of all who live for the phrase "Once upon a time..."? In-con-ceiv-able, we say! You won't find a sweeter love letter to the glories of cross-generational storytelling. Rated PG.
While kids' movies were making pop-cultural references before this DreamWorks toon came out, none of them were quite as savvy as this ogre's tale in dismantling legendary bedtime stories—and in a way that kids would find both clever and funny. It's like a collegiate Postmodernism 101 course, only aimed at elementary-school students and with better fart jokes. Rated PG.
Britain's Aardman Animations has always had a sly sense of anthropomorphist humor (see their sensational Wallace and Gromit shorts), so it's no surprise that the company's parody of The Great Escape—this time, the POWs are chickens breaking out of a farm—is hilarious. What is shocking is how what could have been a one-joke comedy becomes, in Aardman's deft clay-molding hands, something moving and absolutely poult-errific. Rated G.
What would life be like if your feelings were on display for all to see? This Pixar-animated film cleverly shows us when feelings (literally) come alive through Riley, an 11-year-old girl who has some trouble adjusting to her new environs when her parents uproot her from Minnesota and move to San Fransisco. There couldn't be better actors than Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling and Lewis Black to embody those niggling feelings better kept inside. Rated PG.
A modern-day twist on classic fairytales, Enchanted begins in conventional, animated Disney territory, with Giselle being courted by Edward, her Prince Charming. His witchy mother banishes Giselle to twenty-first century New York City, where the film flits from animation to live-action just as Giselle (now Amy Adams), emerges from a manhole into a world of bustling humanity. As lawyer Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) begins to fall for her, Edward appears (in the guise of James Mardsen) and Giselle is left facing a typically predictable rom-com dilemma. Rated PG.
Father and failure-plagued scientist Wayne Szalinkski works tirelessly on a shrink-ray invention in his attic laboratory to no avail—until one day the contraption finally works. His kids and the neighbors unknowingly wander into the lab and are hit by the laser beam, shrinking to 1/4 of an inch. As the concerned parents search for their youngsters, the kids make their way through the now larger-than-life world around them, tackling perilous obstacles like mud puddles, an ant and a bowl of Cheerios. Rated PG.
The trio of films garners a lot of attention for its ironic main character—the super-lazy, clumsy and out-of-shape Po, a panda bear who secretly wants to be a master of kung fu. Rated PG.
During the summer of 1962, a spotty crew of dead-end kids throw a baseball around at the neighborhood diamond. The new kid in town, Scotty Smalls, is accepted simply as a gofer, but the gang's leader, Rodriguez, takes him under his wing. The quirky crew gets into plenty of mischief outside of batting practice, and they'll have to put their heads together to get a prized baseball back from a snarling neighbor. Rated PG.
Science projects and study sessions go awry when "Mr. Schneebly" shows up to class. The goofy and unorganized teacher is really a rock n' roll musician and tricks the class into performing in a local competition. What will happen when his big secret lets out? Youngsters will love the laugh-out-loud moments and parents will appreciate the classic rock references and tunes. Rated PG–13.
Berserk and strangely beautiful, "The LEGO Movie" is sheer joy: The script is witty, the satire surprisingly pointed, and the animation tactile and imaginative. Our hero Emmet (Chris Pratt), is the happiest guy in Bricksville, a construction worker who adores his coworkers, and knows that mighty President Business (Will Ferrell) has his best interests at heart. He’s thrown into an epic conflict between Business’s robot clones and the forces of creativity and invention—led, of course, by Batman and Abraham Lincoln. The 2019 sequel is just as wild, with Emmet setting out rescue his friends from the Systar System while facing down "Armamageddon." Your little one will want to watch both the original and the sequel. Rated PG
The five-film franchise generates a lot of "LOLs" as its characters attempt to survive the Paleolithic ice age. Rated PG.
Setting aside the wonder of the special effect–and the difficulty of making an entire farmyard of real animals talk–this is a warm and funny story that checks all the family film boxes: Silly and slapsticky for the kids, clever and cute for the grown-ups. The story is the same as when you saw it the first time (kind-hearted Babe the pig is better at herding sheep than barking dogs), but the joy you feel when you watch the film might surprise you. Rated G.