What is a feminist comedy, you ask? Well, aside from standard measurements like the very-fallible Bechdel Test, it’s arguable that a feminist comedy is any movie that makes you, a feminist, laugh and feel good.
But when most people think of female-led they probably think Beaches, Bridesmaids, and Brave. But there are so many films out there (that start with B or otherwise), dying for your attention as much as they’re genuinely deserving of it.
So if you’re hankering for a lol—and not at the expense of your own gender (shout out to bro comedies since time immemorial)—then read on. While some of these films received plenty of praise and attention upon release, they deserve a re-visit. Make note of any you haven’t seen yet, grab a gal pal, and go watch them. You won’t regret it, promise.
Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion
A commercial flop but a cult darling ever since, this film has one of the best opening scenes ever—two best friends sitting in bed watching Pretty Woman:“You know, even though we’ve watched Pretty Woman, like, 26 times, I never get tired of making fun of it.”
The movie is weird, sweet, laugh-out-loud funny and highly quotable the whole way through. It also has the same costume designer as Clueless (Mona May) and it shows.
Movie roundups like this always include Miss Congeniality (which is a given), but spare a couple of hours for Sandra Bullock’s genius portrayal of a newspaper columnist sent to drug and alcohol rehab after devastating her sister’s wedding.
The film didn’t end up breaking even but it’s as funny as it is weepy, which is very. 10/10 would cry-laugh again.
If you though Reese Witherspoon was good in Legally Blonde, you have another thing coming—a dark, strange, and amazing thing. In Election, RW plays a borderline sociopathic teen who enjoys bringing down teachers and ruthlessly winning her high school election.
Matthew Broderick is brilliantly cast as the only grown up willing to try and stop her.
If you don’t know anything about director John Waters, great. Watching this black comedy about a serial killer suburban mom—with no prior knowledge of the director’s signature campy, crude style—will make it so much more enjoyable.
Watch this on Halloween if you want some murderous plot points, without the all-out scariness of a horror movie proper. Kathleen Turner forever! Also, keep an eye out for her kids—Ricki Lake and Matthew Lillard.
Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit
The first one is funny and everything, but this is one of those rare occasions (look at you, Terminator 2) where the sequel is way better than the original. LOLs, musical numbers, the punniest title, Lauryn Hill; there’s nothing this movie is lacking.
It’s the perfect rainy day movie. And if hearing Ms. Hill’s rendition of “His Eyes Are On The Sparrow” isn’t enough to bring you to tears, than congratulations, you’re an unfeeling robot.
Why this movie didn’t do better at the box office is beyond me. Wait, scratch that—it’s a film about the judgment an evangelical Christian community throws a pregnant teenage girl (Jena Malone) after she slept with her closeted gay boyfriend pre-marriage—middle America wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit.
That said, it’s acerbic humor, ridiculous characters, and smart commentary are well worth acquainting yourself with. Highlights include Mandy Moore throwing a bible at Jena during a fight while screaming “I am filled with Christ’s love!!”
Bring It On
So maybe “underrated” isn’t the best word to describe Bring It On, but “worth watching again” definitely fits. I mean, the movie came out when I was 14 and I’ve only watched it maybe three times since.
Side note: if you’re looking for proof that Gabrielle Union is a literal angel who does not age, or an unintentional analogy for the major flaws of white versus intersectional feminism, look no further.
Don’t think last year’s Girls Trip is underrated? Then let’s gently remind you that Bridesmaids made a total of $174 million more than this equally funny trip movie.
Plus, this movie has Tiffany Haddish (speaking of angels who can do no wrong), and it helps fill a serious gap in Hollywood. More of this now, please.
Sugar And Spice
Speaking of high school comedies that flopped, Sugar And Spice is a dark-meets-super-silly story of a bunch of cheerleader friends who decide to rob a bank wearing Betty Doll masks, when one of them gets pregnant and needs the cash.
Actresses like Mena Suvari and Melissa George feature in the group, the latter with a deep obsession with Conan O’Brien and leather couches. It’s super campy and weird, in a good way.
She’s The Man
Picture it: Amanda Bynes in her glory years immediately following The Amanda Show. In drag. Young Channing Tatum. A retelling of Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night. And of course, a genuinely funny and clever script.
They all make this movie (which did OK when it first came out, but not OK enough!) a classic that deserves your rewatching, like now. Especially if like the sports.
Need a lil’ more? May we also recommend you check out Death Becomes Her, Waiting To Exhale, Heathers, Ghost World, 13 Going On 30, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. You’re welcome.