If you think about it, 2004 was a pretty significant year. It was when Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his college dorm room, Friends premiered its emotional series finale, and Kanye West released his very first studio album, The College Dropout. It was also the year that introduced us to iconic TV shows like House, Lost, and Veronica Mars. But aside from giving us a new social platform and epic shows, 2004 also gave us some of the most memorable comedy films. For instance, did you know that Mean Girls, Anchorman and Meet the Fockers were all released in that same year? Check out all the other films that definitely prove 2004 was the best year for comedy.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
It broke away from the typical, likable protagonist and gave us a socially awkward geek with dry humor, which almost every nerd could relate to. And to this day, it remains one of the most unique and quotable films of all time. Movie critic David Sterritt called it a "refreshing new take on the overused teen-comedy genre," and Peter Travers praised the cast for making their "own kind of deadpan hilarity." It's no wonder why the $400,000-budget film went on to make a total worldwide gross of over $46.1 million.
Almost every girl was Jenna Rink when they were 13. Gawky, awkward, and eager to fit in with the cool crowd. But from Jenna and Beaver's adorable romance to her hilarious experiences as a "flirty and thriving" 30-year-old, this coming-of-age classic 2004 comedy is as charming as it is timeless (just ask Ariana Grande). It offers quite a few life lessons, and it's hilarious enough to get you a few genuine laughs — who can forget Alex's striptease to "Ice, Ice Baby"? So yes, we might be guilty of watching this film at least a dozen times.
Buena Vista Pictures
Who didn't want to be a part of this super cool (and slightly dysfunctional) family of superheroes? The Academy-Award-winning film is by far one of Pixar's best movies (along with The Incredibles 2, of course) because it perfectly balances superhero action with humor and family drama. It also features complex, relatable characters with rich backstories, and it has storylines that are engaging for kids and adults alike. It's understandable why it broke so many records and wound up making more than six times its budget at the box office.
Not that many comedies are as laugh-out-loud funny as the legendary Anchorman. It's goofy and over the top at times, and some might argue that it doesn't have the strongest plot. But any fan will argue that this is one of the funniest films ever made. It's among the most quotable comedies and Ron Burgundy is still considered Will Ferrell's most iconic character to this day. The movie made over $90.6 million when it hit theaters in 2004.
We wouldn't say that it's Adam Sandler's best, and most critics weren't too fond of the film. But if you ask us, 50 First Dates is high on the list. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore had such awesome chemistry throughout the film (as they also did in The Wedding Singer!). And for once, it felt like we got to see a much softer side of Adam, compared to his more popular, aggressive roles. What tugged at our heartstrings, though, was Adam's character's patience and persistence with his love interest. Too adorable!
Things are bound to go haywire when you've got two completely different families with contrasting lifestyles and personalities in the same space. And Meet the Fockers managed to illustrate this in the best possible way. Set two years after the events of Meet the Parents, Greg and Pam Byrnes arrange for their parents to meet one another, and it makes for some epic comedy. Although it was met with a lot of negative reviews at the time, it blew up at the box office, bringing in a total of $516.6 million.
New Line Cinema
For twenty-somethings Harold and Kumar, a simple trip to White Castle turns into a bizarre adventure. But guys, this film was so much more than your typical stoner comedy. For one, it featured two minority characters as the leads (who don't come off as stereotypical), and it had some pretty amazing cameos, from Neil Patrick Harris to Ryan Reynolds. It was also this cult favorite that helped put White Castle on the map since it was relatively unknown at the time.
20th Century Fox
Not too many people had high expectations for this film, but it turned out to be a solid hit (see what we did there?). It's hard to not root for Peter LaFleur and his team of misfits, and White Goodman is by far one of the most insane and dim-witted characters we've ever laid eyes on. Though the film is filled with dumb jokes and sexual innuendos, it's balanced pretty well with smart humor and a brilliant cast. Movie critic Karina Montgomery said: "Dodgeball, I am shocked to say, rewards you for paying attention. It also rewards you for having juvenile sensibility, so it's really win-win."
Critics didn't have nice things to say about the film, but that didn't prevent it from becoming one of the highest-grossing comedies of the year. Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans were hilarious as FBI agents Kevin and Marcus Copeland, who decided to disguise themselves as the white Wilson twins to save their jobs. Sure, it was ridiculously far-fetched and silly, but you've got to admit - it's impossible to watch without laughing super hard.
Earlier this year, Terry Crews publicly confirmed that there would be a sequel, but then Marlon said that the deal hasn't been confirmed yet, so it's still too early to tell.
This 2004 comedy movie was the highest-grossing film of 2004 and even made history as the highest-grossing animated film of all time (until Toy Story 3 got released in 2010). In the film, Shrek and Princess Fiona return from their honeymoon to visit the latter's parents, but the king and queen are stunned to learn that Fiona is married to an Ogre, not Prince Charming. when the trouble begins. We're treated to some impressive musical numbers, clever puns, humor, and an even deeper look at the film's main characters. We couldn't have asked for anything better.
Warner Bros. Pictures
It has officially been 15 years since Sam and Austin drove off to Princeton and lived happily ever after (we feel so old). The Rotten Tomatoes consensus calls it an "uninspired, generic updating of the classic fairy tale" and it has a rating of just 12 percent. But all the fans who helped make it a box office success that year would beg to differ. Yes, it's cheesy and predictable at times, but that's part of what makes it so charming. And best of all, Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray were just too cute for words.
When the first installment came out, we were pretty nervous about it living up to the book. But it wound up exceeding our expectations - and the same can be said for the sequel. We saw Mia Thermopolis all grown up, awaiting her reign as queen of Genovia while looking for a future husband. Even with her grand makeover and new living arrangements, we still saw bits of the adorkable teenaged Mia that we fell in love with during part one. And of course, Julie Andrews's Queen Clarisse Renaldi was as charming as ever.
MGM Distribution Co.
It felt terrific to revisit Calvin's barbershop, hearing all the social commentary, witty banter, and sharp clap blacks. It was also a treat to see Queen Latifah appear as Gina, and Calvin's character seemed to mature a lot compared to the first film. Movie critic Mark Palermo said: "The seriousness with which Barbershop 2 treats its political conscience offers an unexpected weight to what's essentially a big-screen sitcom." We couldn't agree more!
Need more evidence that comedy movies already peaked? Check out this 2004 comedy. It's nearly impossible to believe that the spontaneous and laid-back Polly would give a nerdy guy like Reuben the time of day, but seeing these two opposites together was exactly what made this rom-com so intriguing and hilarious. Some viewers have argued that the film doesn't hold a candle to Ben Stiller's more popular films, like Meet the Fockers and Dodgeball. But this movie still delivered tons of laughs with moments like that cringeworthy restaurant scene and the clogged toilet in Polly's bathroom.
Soul Plane follows Nashawn Wade, who's inspired to start his own airline after being humiliated on an airplane. After suing, he receives $100 million, which is enough to help him start his own airline that caters to African Americans. However, multiple things go wrong during the flight, from the pilot's lack of experience to one passenger's creation of a mini strip joint. It's wild, it's raunchy, and it's hilariously silly, though unfortunately most critics were turned off by it.
When Mary Cummings, a senior at a Christian high school, learns that her boyfriend is gay in this 2004 comedy flick, she sets out to try and cure him by arranging for them to ~do the deed~. But when she gets pregnant, she's rejected by her friend group and the rest of her peers. Surprisingly though, the film isn't nearly as depressing as it sounds. Critic Sean Axmaker said: "Dannelly's satire is more clever than cutting. Yet, he has a deft comic touch, and his observation of teenage social dynamics are dead-on. It's like Mean Girls with a holier-than-thou twist and a genuine (if contrived) message of acceptance."
Yes, we know that it's got poor ratings. And yes, viewers have to suspend their disbelief several times throughout the film. However, it was a box office success, and it's the perfect movie to watch if you need an excellent laugh. Bonus points if you're into action/adventure and a huge fan of Queen Latifah, who stole the spotlight in this film.
Movie critic Nathan Rabin described it as "a film that realizes the best children's entertainment doesn't hide from the bleaker side of life but plunges into the void and respects kids enough to assume they can handle it." Still, the Academy-Award-winning dark 2004 comedy wasn't all doom and gloom. The legendary Jim Carrey brought some comic relief throughout the film, and it worked well. It was the perfect balance of sadness, charm and humor.
When Rosalee wins a competition to go on a date with famous actor Tad Hamilton, a love triangle forms between her, Tad, and her best friend (aka soul mate), Pete. It's one of the cheesiest rom-coms you'll ever see, but it still works because the cast is just brilliant and there are so many valuable lessons to take from it. Like the fact that you should love someone for their details, or that a girl can have 4,873 different smiles. It's so unfortunate that it bombed at the box office, but to this day it remains one of our faves.
We honestly don't know where we'd be without this 2004 comedy movie. Like, how else would we know that the color pink is reserved for Wednesdays? Or that October 3rd is practically a historic day? The cult-favorite inspired tons of hilarious memes and even led to an official Mean Girls holiday. Plus, there was a musical adaptation and a sequel that premiered on Freeform in 2011. But of course, none of these measured up to the original classic. It made over $129 million at the box office compared to its $17 million budget.