10 Best Female-Led Comedies, Ranked
Female-led comedies aren’t necessarily an overflowing genre of movies, thanks in part to rampant sexism in the film industry and an unfortunate amount of dwindling roles in Hollywood productions. But recently, in the last 10 years, thanks to movies like Bridesmaids, comedies directed by women are beginning to become commonplace. The genre’s history can be revisited with classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s or a number of Katherine Hepburn films from her time as a lead actor.
Female-led comedies have gotten steamier with talented ensembles showing off the extent of their comedic talent. Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish have become mainstays of the genre thanks to their larger-than-life personalities and their ability to take comedic gags to their maximum and heightened level. In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a look at the 10 best female-led comedies, ranked.
ten The devil wears Prada
An indisputable piece of the Meryl Streep canon and also part of Anne Hathaway’s early rise to stardom that required her character to undergo a physical transformation like The Diary of a Princess, The devil wears Prada is a hilarious look at the fashion industry and a thoughtful look at work-life balance. Streep brilliantly plays the matriarch of a historic fashion magazine who coldly destroys people with a low whisper and a few sly, remorseless words. Hathaway plays the eager-to-please new assistant who has no idea the predicament of being a fashion editor’s assistant. The film softens the blow with a happy ending, but is about to end as a soul-selling warning for success.
9 Josie and the Pussycats
If there was a movie that perfectly sums up the Justin Timberlake’s denim suit moment in 2001it would be Josie and the Pussycats. Distilling the vibe of a specific period when boy and girl supergroups reigned supreme, the reimagining of the famous cartoon perfectly satirizes those years in pop culture. With hilarious twists from TV stalwarts like Carson Daly, the film turns record labels into evil geniuses using celebrities to brainwash the average fanatic. The director duo Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont have left an indelible cultural mark.
8 Girls trip
A feeling at the exit, Girls trip turned Tiffany Haddish into a staple of big-screen comedy with her irreverent energy buzzing from frame to frame. Haddish helped transform the film from girls’ hangout to a comedy classic. Girls trip is filled with socially conscious dramatic intrigue and toilet humor raunchy enough to make others laugh. Led by a stacked cast of Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett Smith, the film grossed $140.9 million.
7 Bring it on
Not only a hilarious start with dialogues like “I was flying ignorant” to say they were unaware of the situation, but also a sty that gives insightful insight into race and class as it relates to the cheer squads of the Western coast, Bring it on is a classic high school movie that never loses steam. With its openness, energetic joy dream sequence with a fiery Kirsten Dunst in the lead. While it continues to spawn a slew of sequels that aren’t worth discussing, the original is still a hilarious and fun look at the world of cheerleading.
6 Revenge of a Blonde
Reese Witherspoon, flexing all her bubbly charm, charisma and unyielding eagerness to succeed as pink-clad female icon “Elle Woods” is what makes Revenge of a Blonde move. With a great script that’s as much workplace comedy and on the back half as big courtroom drama turned light fare, Witherspoon must navigate the misogynistic expectations of her male counterparts while battling the patronizing nature other female scholars. It is a large part that has also exercised the “Bend and Break!” rule that became attached to the iconic film for years to come.
Bridesmaids is in the pantheon of female-led studio comedies due to its hilarious ensemble cast of women and gross-out humor. Many successful films with women in lead roles are PG-13, while many male-lead films manage to thrive below the R rating. Bridesmaids broke ground because it showed that women can hilariously hook and gross an audience in equally unhinged ways while keeping their friendships grounded and centered. After the success of Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy branched out into starring roles after that Oscar-nominated turn as a foul-mouthed bridesmaid and would direct other blasphemous comedies after. With an unforgettable dress-up scene that had all the ladies’ innards moving at a speed no one would be comfortable with.
4 nine to five
With three screen icons in mind – Dolly Parton, Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda – nine to five had every right to rise to the forefront of cultural conversation in 1980. Although somewhat overlooked and dismissed by critics upon release, the film’s workplace politics sadly haven’t aged one bit, as the three women are constantly undermined at work by their man. counterparts who are in charge, and Parton’s character must juggle the pressure of his boss’s sexual advances. The film takes a twist to not only deliver a harrowing message about misogyny in the office, but also morphs into a hilarious revenge game that manifests due to harassment and unfair treatment. nine to five is a classic that you can say has influenced countless others.
Not just an incredibly lighthearted satire on teen movies, but a satire that does so with a continued spirit and heart for its characters, clueless is a masterpiece of teen comedy. With an all-time comedic performance from Alicia Silverstone that cuts right to the heart of the absurdity of high school social hierarchy, the film is a delightful adventure at 97 perfect minutes. And also: a perfect vessel for ’90s nostalgia that doesn’t make the film’s set and costumes feel dated while reusing old Jane Austen text.
2 mean girls
One of the best high school comedies of all time, but also the story of finding yourself in the middle of a top secret social terrorism covert operation, mean girls is as infinitely quotable as it is iconic. Starring Lindsay Lohan at the height of her stardom, leading the charge as the new kid on the block “Cady Heron” and an incredible villain turned victim to Rachel McAdams as the leader of a tight social clique, mean girls had all the ingredients to be a hit and has proven to be with a box office of $130 million and a sense of cultural relevance since its release.
1 A single woman
A true depiction of heartache, unfamiliar terrain and the loneliness of becoming yourself, but also a hilarious delirium when new love strikes, A single woman is a delicate and intoxicating look at life after marriage through the eyes of Jill Clayburgh. Innovative for his scenes of therapy sessions where Clayburgh spills his heart but also emblematic for his wandering scenes in New York, A single woman is funny because it’s a tender look at the love life of a recent divorcee.
Elvira heads to Shudder to celebrate her 40th birthday with a movie marathon
About the Author