By Ann Silverthorn
The 1990s formed a great decade for comedy in film, especially fun and downright silly movies. Stories that contain characters placed outside of their elements are especially entertaining, and they open up the plot to all kinds of hilarious situations. Examples are: A kid alone at home or in a big city, businessmen playing cowboys, men in unconventional gender roles, nerdies turning suave, wives becoming exes, and eccentrics residing among the “normal.” Let’s take a look at seven titles from the 1990s that are worth watching if you’re in need of a belly laugh.
Never underestimate the power of a child to confuse adults, especially a couple of dimwitted burglars, either at home or in the Big Apple. You’d think a kid that smart would be better at staying with his group or getting on the right plane. The Home Alone movies are great fun, especially for those of us who remember wanting a bit more independence when we were young.
Who hasn’t daydreamed about getting out from behind their desk and out into some open pastures? Add a mid-life crisis, and you get the three friends in City Slickers who make it happen. In the first movie, they sign up as inept hands on a cattle drive, and in the second, they find a treasure map and head back out of the office to find gold.
The Addams Family, eccentric to say the least, with parental romance in a graveyard and creepy children, finds itself victim to some swindlers who try to steal the family fortune by using the identity of a long-lost uncle. In the sequel, Addams Family Values, the family again falls prey, this time to a gold-digger nanny.
Can a broken-up family be funny? It might be when Robin Williams plays a dad who’s been awarded only weekly custody by the court. The custodial parent (Sally Field) needs some help around the house, so the dad dons an apron and a disguise and becomes Mrs. Doubtfire, the English nanny beloved by both mom and kids. The lengths he takes to keep his identity a secret is where even more comedy comes in.
Twenty years ago, coming out was still rather new, and it was often necessary to stay in the closet, especially where in-laws were concerned. This wild comedy follows two longtime lovers, Armand and Albert, as they try to conceal their true relationship for the sake of Armand’s son.
Nobody was too very aware of body shaming in the 1990s, the obesity epidemic was just beginning, and fitness was foremost, so a movie about an overweight professor trying to better himself was rather appealing to the general audience. Throw in the comedic talent of Eddie Murphy and you have a winner. In addition to being funny and silly, there’s a lesson to be learned in this movie.
When three former college friends get together after the death of a fourth, whose husband left her for younger woman, they realize they are in the same boat. Their interactions with their “replacements” are priceless. Look for Sarah Jessica Parker two years before Sex & the City. Is there anything funnier, or more delicious, than revenge? Or as these three ladies (Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Better Midler) call it, “justice.”