Research is so prevalent about the importance of quality family time that it’s become common knowledge. But finding appropriate things for families to watch together is becoming more and more challenging. Parents wonder, ‘are stupid, funny movies okay?’
Stupid, funny movies can be an excellent option for families with children of all ages. Funny movies using stupid antics and silly banter provide a low stakes activity for families to enjoy together. However, parents should use caution because not all stupid, funny movies are family-friendly.
As parents of four children (now mostly grown), we’ve watched countless movies together. However, there are definitely some movies better for family viewing than others. Let me share what we’ve learned from our experience with stupid, funny movies to hopefully inform your next family movie night!
- 1 What Makes Movies ‘Stupid, Funny’
- 2 What Makes Stupid Movies Un-Funny
- 3 Stupid, Funny Movies for Your Children 10 and Under
- 4 Stupid, Funny Movies to Watch With Your Tweens and Teens
- 5 Stupid, Funny Movies to Avoid (Not Family-Friendly)
- 6 Bonus: Stupid, Funny TV Shows for the Whole Family
- 7 The Punchline for Stupid, Funny Movies
What Makes Movies ‘Stupid, Funny’
From the basic drama, comedy, horror, action , and documentaries to a slue of subcategories, movie genres can get complicated. Comedies alone include romantic comedy, dark comedy, slapstick, satire, parody or spoof, and I’m probably sure even more. So what makes movies ‘stupid funny’?
Stupid, funny movies are movies that make you laugh without resorting to sexual innuendo, insults, or being mean to get laughs. They’re stupid, but not necessarily simple. Surprisingly, the best stupid, funny movies are quite thoughtful in their approach to humor.
And stupid, funny movies make the perfect family night movie choice. Before moving on, let’s look at why this is important.
A study published in Media International (Vol 139) in 2011 focused on emotions surrounding the concept of ‘family movie night’ as it pertained to university students. It found that this idea and subsequent practice or event evoked “a set of comforting and enriching” recollections and played an important role in family harmony.
One student said, “when the movie started, we all got along.”
So being able to spend time with your family is what matters. You may choose to do hobbies together, enjoy several family meals each week (daily if at all possible) with your family, or schedule weekly family movie nights.
For those thinking weekly movie time with your kids isn’t that important, well now you see there’s research to support it. So keeping that in mind, let’s look at how to identify stupid, funny movies appropriate for your family.
Let’s look at two stupid, funny movies that get some things right:
- The Princess Bride
Movies That Make You Laugh Without Being Mean
It’s certainly not fun for your family to sit down, popcorn in hand, and start the movie only to find it’s inappropriate to finish. How do you determine stupid, funny movies from the other comedies out there?
Movies that make you laugh without being mean are stupid, funny. Stupid, funny movies are movies that don’t resort to insults or other mean behavior to get laughs. After all, mean is not funny nor is it something parents want to teach to children for the sake of humor.
You can figure this out with due diligence about the movie beforehand. Parents can use online resources for guidance such as Common Sense Media and IMDb‘s Parents Guide to learn about movies before selecting them for their family to watch.
As well as online resources, parents can read movie reviews critically in order to figure out if the movie is stupid, funny, and family appropriate. This is important whether your kids are 4 or 14.
Funny, Silly Movies…With Substance
Stupid, funny movies are not just movies that don’t use insults. Stupid, funny movies are surprisingly thoughtful in their approach.
The best stupid, funny movies may seem stupid in their banter or silly plot, but surprisingly, their approach to humor is quite smart. Though characters act silly or say dumb things, which is part of why the movie is considered stupid, funny, the plot as well as the dialogue are often carefully crafted.
In fact, this is what truly sets some stupid, funny movies apart from others.
For example, let’s look at The Princess Bride, a movie released in 1987. This is a comedy that has held up for well over 30 years.
Renowned movie critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the film, “Both films [This is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride] are funny not only because they contain comedy, but because Reiner does justice to the underlying form of his story.”
In other words, the best stupid, funny movies, the ones that will last decades, are those that have depth, behind their stupid antics for laughs.
For more about humor and your kids, I recommend these articles:
- Is Marvel Humor Child Friendly? (Dark Humor And Kids)
- How To Bring Humor Into The House (Explained)
- Try These Top 9 TV Shows Guaranteed To Make Your Kid Laugh!
What Makes Stupid Movies Un-Funny
Now on first glance, many movies might seem to fit the stupid, funny category (especially, ‘the stupid’). But there are definitely more that actually do not. So what makes some stupid comedies ‘un-funny’, you may ask?
What separates good ‘stupid, funny movies’ and other comedies meant to be funny but fail are two things: inappropriate jokes and movies that settle for just being stupid. That is, movies where writing lacks depth and thoughtfulness when going for laughs aren’t funny.
Let’s look at these common comedic failures via two examples:
- 2002’s live action, Scooby Doo
- Adam Sandler’s 2011 flick, Jack and Jill.
Movies That Confuse ‘Inappropriate’ And Funny
Besides being mean for laughs, what do parents need to know about some comedies, even those purported to be family-friendly or even family targeted?
Though some comedies target families directly, families are best to steer clear of comedies that rely heavily on potty humor or gross tactics for humor. These movies might make some adolescents laugh, but there are better quality comedies available.
For instance, 2002’s Scooby Doo included live actors as well as a CGI Scooby. It obviously was meant for kids and families, but it’s reliance on fart and burp jokes for its biggest laughs lets you know it’s short on depth and carefully crafted humor.
Now it doesn’t mean you don’t watch this movie. If you happen to parent a super-Scooby fan, then maybe it’s still worth your time (and money) to provide some light enjoyment for your child. However, keep it in perspective.
This movie is not tops in the stupid, funny category. After one viewing, you’ll realize it’s more in the just plain ol stupid category and certainly not worth re-watching (or purchasing).
This is one that won’t really harm your child, certainly not leave life scars; but rather, it’s one where you’ll need to have a conversation afterwards about how inappropriate behavior for laughs is best kept at a discreet minimum.
Movies That Are More Stupid Than Funny
Other than potty/gross humor, parents may also want to avoid many comedies that rely on ‘just stupid’ for funny. What makes some movies just stupid instead of stupid, funny?
Just stupid movies in contrast to stupid, funny movies are movies with haphazard, slipshod writing and lack depth in dialogue or plot. Parents can use respected critic reviews, as well as user reviews from sites like IMDb, for guidance about movies beforehand.
Jack and Jill, Adam Sandler’s 2011 comedy, is a good example of a comedy lacking depth and quality writing. It’s short on humor, though Sandler plays two main characters.
This is one movie kids will probably find humorous the first couple times Sandler pops up on screen dressed as ‘Jill’, but the laughs fall flat quickly. To put this film in proper perspective, it’s rated 3.3 out of 10 by users on IMDb and scored a 23 out of 100 from critic reviews.
Stupid, Funny Movies for Your Children 10 and Under
Now that we know what makes movies stupid funny, and what to avoid, it’s good to have a few movie recommendations to know about, and ready for your next family movie night.
Stupid, funny movies for children 10 and under are movies that often include slapstick and witty banter that any age can enjoy. From Mr. Bean to Monsters, Inc., there are many that fit this description if parents look carefully.
It’s actually vital for parents to provide fun play time for their children, as play has been shown to support child development. And if parents select activities that the whole family can enjoy, it’s even better.
“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children.”Kenneth R. Ginsburg in Pediatrics (2007, Vol 119)
Two movies recommended for families with children 10 and Under are:
- Mr. Bean
- Monsters, Inc
Mr. Bean Is Stupid, Funny Slapstick
Knowing some movies that are not only appropriate for your kids but also stupid, funny to watch for everyone is helpful when planning your movie nights. And having some reliable favorites is even better! That’s where Mr. Bean comes in!
Mr. Bean is a reliable comedy, full of stupid, fun humor and mostly all Mr. Bean films (and there are many) are appropriate for everyone. The slapstick that the character, Mr. Bean, employs frequently is carefully composed so that it’s funny for both adults and children alike.
For example, in Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Mr. Bean is served some oysters in a fancy restaurant because he wasn’t actually able to understand the French speaking waiter. Parents can relate to his dilemma having probably experienced language barriers in their lifetime, while children understand the problem of eating something you don’t like.
Of course, Rowan Atkinson’s trademark facial expressions and body gyrations go along perfectly with the uncomfortable situation, too, making for a very stupid and funny movie!
Special Note: There are several Mr. Bean films and even a long running tv series appropriate for the whole family, being rated G or PG. However, Bean from 1997 is rated PG-13 for “moments of risque humor” so keep that in mind depending on your children’s ages and your personal convictions.
Monsters, Inc Is Stupid Fun for Kids Young and Old
There are also some excellent animated shows for stupid, funny movie watching for the whole family, but they can get lost amid in the mix. Let’s look at an example of one to watch, and what sets it apart from the cartoon multitude.
Monsters, Inc is an excellent option for a stupid, funny film, particularly in the animated genre. It projects as silly stupid, but in actuality is smartly written with its use of sly humor and references to entertain adults while also providing high energy and a plot connecting directly to kids.
To find similar animated stupid, funny movies worthy for 10 and Unders, here are some tips:
- Consider the comics/actors tied to the piece. I know that anything with Billy Crystal and John Goodman have intelligent humor (Another example: Toy Story for Goodman and Crystal is tied to another stupid, funny recommendation: The Princess Bride)
- Read reviews first. And pay attention to the reasons they are rated high or low.
- Watch trailers on IMDb or YouTube beforehand. The trailers should highlight their best jokes so that way you’ll have an idea what to expect.
- Remember you want the humor (slapstick or otherwise) to be thoughtful not just stupid or silly.
- Because your child is ’10 and under’, be aware of the MPAA rating and utilize resources like Common Sense Media.
Stupid, Funny Movies to Watch With Your Tweens and Teens
Your tweens and teens can certainly enjoy the recommended options for ’10 and Unders’ but there are also a few more stupid, funny movies opened to this demographic, too. What are some stupid, funny movies, then, to watch with your tweens and teens?
Stupid, funny movies for tweens and teens include those for younger children but also movies with satire or irony, pop culture references, and movies with a wider vocabulary or situations. From Napoleon Dynamite to Monty Python, there are several that fit this description to entertain tweens/teens.
So one may wonder why is this important for parents of tweens and teens to know?
One study from 2019 found that tweens and teens spend an average of 9 hours a day on media. From film and tv programming to internet surfing to video games and cell phone chatting, the amount of time spent tuned in is expansive!
Commandeering some of that with family movie night is a soft way for mom and dad to embed quality family time.
Here are two movies to watch with tweens and teens:
- Napoleon Dynamite
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Mom, Dad, Tweens and Teens Will Enjoy Napoleon Dynamite
Let’s consider what makes Napoleon Dynamite a good stupid, funny option for tweens and teens.
Napoleon Dynamite is stupid, fun humor for tweens and tweens because of its fresh and original take on ordinary and awkward situations and people. It’s able to poke fun and find humor in the relatable ‘everyday’ encounters without putting down its silly, socially inept characters.
For instance, Napoleon has a crush on student, Deb, but somehow ends up fixing up his best friend Pedro with her for the prom instead. Just about every tween, teen, and adult can commiserate with Napoleon on this awkward situation, but we also can laugh at his utter (and stupid) open-mouthed expressions along the way.
Monty Python: An Oldy, But Goody…Stupid And Still Funny
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is another excellent option for something stupid, funny to watch with your tweens or teens.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is stupid, fun humor for tweens and tweens, as well as adults. It’s quality of humor is smart, taking on religion, history, and politics, amid seemingly stupid antics like bogus opening credits, actors playing ever-changing roles, and servants creating their own sound effects with coconuts throughout the film.
Watching Monty Python with your tweens and teens is hilarious fun but also provides an opportunity to address medieval times; Marxism; religion; and scientific theories. Now what other stupid, funny movie can say that?
“The quality of the humor – irreverent, smart, and challenging – is one of the things that differentiates Monty Python and the Holy Grail from so many other motion picture comedies.”James Berardinelli for Reel Views
Stupid, Funny Movies to Avoid (Not Family-Friendly)
Of course, there are many comedies targeting families that are not appropriate, unfortunately. Let’s consider what to know about these.
Not all stupid, funny movies are appropriate for families, even if they are funny. Due to the abundance of sexual innuendo and scenes depicting risque behaviors, most Jim Carrey films and those that pair comedians, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, should be avoided by families.
As well, parents will find that the movies to avoid listed here are generally rated PG-13 or R, a good clue that the humor isn’t appropriate for families.
Jim Carrey Movies: Stupid, Sometimes Funny, Rarely for Kids
Now granted there are several child-friendly Jim Carrey movies such as Horton Hears A Who!, A Christmas Carrol, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Yet, these films might unduly influence parents and kids to thinking all Jim Carrey movies are family-friendly. Don’t be fooled!
Jim Carrey movies are often funny. He’s well-known for his over-the-top antics and expressions, attributes appealing to kids. However, parents should use caution regarding Jim Carrey movies because many are rated PG-13 or R and contain a profusion of sexual jokes and mature situations.
From Liar, Liar to Ace Ventura to Me, Myself, and Irene, many Jim Carrey movies aren’t appropriate for kids or families to view. Parents should research his films using Common Sense Media, IMDb, or other resources before selecting any film for family movie night involving Jim Carrey.
Avoid Stupid Movies Pairing Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly
Like Jim Carrey, there’s a certain appeal from kids for Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. But also similar to Jim Carrey, their movies are inappropriate for kids, for the most part. Even though kids, tweens and teens especially, may balk, parents should use reservation with these movies.
The pairing of comedians Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in funny, stupid films is so successful it keeps getting repeated. Although adults can certainly find humor in their comedies, their films are rated PG-13 and R, making them inappropriate for family viewing.
From Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to Anchorman to Stepbrothers, Ferrell and Reilly are responsible for many stupid, funny movies. However, it’s highly recommended to avoid these for family movie night no matter your children’s ages.
Bonus: Stupid, Funny TV Shows for the Whole Family
Even though most of this article has focused on stupid, funny films, there is a wide variety of stupid, funny television programming for families, too.
Stupid, funny TV shows are available for families, just like stupid, funny films. Funny shows that take a slapstick or over-the-top approach, as well as provide witty, relatable banter, are best options for families; yet parents should be aware that not all funny programs are family-friendly.
Let’s briefly look at some of the top ones we’ve found stupid, funny and family-worthy.
Whose Line Is It, Anyway? is Stupid, Family Fun
We like Whose Line Is It, Anyway because it’s random, unscripted, and game show-like, creating a sense of uncertainty that most always leads to laughs. Now granted, this show is probably best of upper tweens or teens because it lacks typical movie/program visuals (no elaborate sets or action, for example), with Common Sense Media even ranking it 14 and up.
However, the reasons for that ranking are less concerning to us. For instance, Common Sense Media says it often includes stereotypes and curse words. We’ve found that curse words are mostly bleeped but when not, aren’t extreme or vulgar. And as for stereotypes, these are approached with humor not seriousness. It’s a great opportunity to address what makes it funny, in our opinion.
So consider this option with these conditions in mind and your own children’s readiness for it.
Tip: Start with short YouTube clips of the show and then judge if whole episodes are appropriate for your family.
The Office: (Mostly)Family-Friendly, Stupid Funny Sitcom
The Office is another show rated TV-14, but one we’d recommend for most families, oddly enough. It does contain some mature references but most are done in ways so subtle kids under 12 wouldn’t get.
As well, there are so many episodes that it’s easy to view ones less ‘mature’ than others. So by selecting episodes purposefully, you can enjoy some well-written comedy that’s tailored to your own family.
Again, just like with Whose Line, The Office is widely available in clips on YouTube, so you might want to start there.
SpongeBob: Stupid, Funny Family-Friendly Animation
SpongeBob SquarePants is probably our family’s most often, go-to family program! Kids have adored it since 1999 when it first appeared and it’s just as beloved by most parents, too.
It’s definitely rare to find animation that appeals to adults and kids alike and SpongeBob certainly does!
It also fits the bill for what makes a great stupid, funny film and TV show because it’s smartly stupid. It includes a multitude of pop culture references and adult relatable humor, but is of course eye-catching and silly enough for even 6 year olds to sit through.
And let’s not forget about the stupid, funny Pineapple Under the Sea theme song we all sing along to!
The Punchline for Stupid, Funny Movies
So there we have it! Who knew there was so much to say about stupid, funny movies and which ones are family-friendly?!
- Stupid, funny movies for families aren’t mean or inappropriate in their aim for laughs.
- Stupid, funny movies for 10 and Under often use slapstick.
- Stupid, funny movies for tweens and teens include pop culture references and witty banter, often connecting to teen issues.
- Parents can utilize online resources like Common Sense Media and IMDb Parents Guide to gauge comedies for appropriateness.
- Some recommended 10 and Under movies are Monsters, Inc. and The Princess Bride.
- Recommended stupid, funny movies for tweens and teens are Napoleon Dynamite and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
I encourage parents to include family movie time as part of their family routine, as research supports it. Hopefully, this article will help parents to feel more confident in selecting movies for their family to enjoy together.
Don’t forget the popcorn!
For more about humor and your kids, I recommend these articles: