Photography courtesy of Netflix

FASHION Film Festival: 7 Movies on Netflix Where Comedians Get Serious

Looking for your next Netflix movie binge? Well say hello to FASHION Film Festival, our curated round-ups of the best movies on Netflix Canada. Whether it’s the best holiday flicks, the best throwback comedies, or the best foreign-films-with-strong-elderly-female-roles, we have your cravings covered. 


Sometimes comedic actors switch it up, and your favourite funnyman (or woman) takes a go at turning smiles upside down—and maybe even triggering a tear. Nobody wants to wear red clown shoes forever, right?

Which is why we can assume so many of our favourite comedians take on the occasional dramatic role: they want to be seen as *serious* artists. And more often then not, these funny folks fare well in drama and prove to be far more versatile actors than audiences might have thought.

Here are some of our favourite movies that feature funny guys and gals in dramatic roles. You can watch them all right now on Netflix.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler has made some really, really bad movies. This Netflix original film, directed by Noah Baumbach, isn’t one of them. The Sandler-lead film received a four-minute standing ovation from the picky French film critics at Cannes Film Festival, with some calling Sandler’s performance Oscar-worthy.

So we think it’s safe to say: Sandler as Dustin Hoffman’s failure son is Sandler as his best. The Meyerowitz Stories, which also stars funny guy Ben Stiller in a suit-and-tie role, follows three adult siblings as they try to win favour with their aging father. Sure it’s funny, but at its core this is a grim drama about broken relationships and intra-family dynamics.

The Truman Show – Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey’s drama projects—Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindMan on the Moon, I Love You Phillip Morris, and The Truman Show—have actually been better received than most of his comedic roles. Carrey’s weirdness works best when he can put a little soul, a little emotion, and a whole lot of relatability into the character.

I Smile Back – Sarah Silverman

The stand-up comedian plays Laney Brooks, an upper-class mother of two who appears to have the picture perfect suburban life. Except under this seemingly spotless image is a substance abuser struggling with anxiety and depression. Silverman takes on the challenging role with impressive commitment, taking the troubled character to daring extremes.

Welcome to Me – Kristen Wiig

The SNL vet (and Bridesmaids front woman) has taken on a number of small roles in big dramas, appearing in The Martian, Mother!, and Downsizing. Her most memorable dramatic performance to date is as an Oprah-obsessed lottery winner with Borderline Personality Disorder in Welcome to Me. Wiig portrays a character that is at the same time interesting, humorous, and irritating, but always stops just short of making her the butt of a joke.


Moneyball – Jonah Hill

Known for his Judd Apatow stoner comedies, Jonah Hill took us all by surprise with his performance as brainiac Yale grad in Moneyball. The actor held his own opposite Hollywood royalty Brad Pitt, and earned his first Oscar nomination for the role.

Good Will Hunting – Robin Williams

Robin Williams, who attended Julliard on full scholarship to study theatre, is credited with multiple acclaimed dramatic roles: The Fisher King, Dead Poet’s Society, and Awakenings. But the famously zany actor was only rewarded with one Oscar for his serious work, and it was for his supporting role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting.

Collateral – Jamie Foxx

It’s easy to forget where this R&B singer/Oscar-winner actor got his start: as a stand-up comedian. Jamie Foxx has all kind of talent, as a funnyman, as a radio-host, as a musician, and as a well respected dramatic actor. Two decades ago, we only expected B-level comedies from Foxx. Now, we expect a lot more: whether that’s as Ray Charles in Ray; as a slave in Django Unchained; or a cabbie in Collateral.

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