Stop Making Sense: Zany Movies for April Fools

From Shaun of the Dead to Burn After Reading, films that let you go crazy

Focus Features 03.30.2018
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April Fool’s Day can be a little scary. With everyone around you scheming to pull a prank, you never know what is real or who to believe. Is that pink slip on your desk a sick gag or should you start clearing out your office? What if that email promising you a million dollars is on the level? And in this day and age, it’s hard to know if any newspaper headline is an April Fool’s joke or the unbelievable truth.

This year, don’t get stressed. Just go with it. Revel in the zany and the preposterous. Laugh in the face of dangerous pranks. To help you get in the mood, here are some of our favorite madcap movies, each with helpful hints about how to stop making sense and start loving April Fool’s Day.

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg go crazy in Shaun of the Dead.

Shaun of the Dead | Making Zombies Great Again

In Edgar Wright’s zom-com classic Shaun of the Dead, Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) are roommates that won’t let anything so trivial as the resurrection of the undead get in their way of having fun. Even after their roommate and Shaun’s mom are turned into brain-eating, grunt-making creatures, the two chums find a way to still get their gang to their favorite bar, the Winchester, for a pint. When SyFy Wire gathered the giants of the genre together to toast Shaun’s ten-year anniversary, Zombie Apocalypse screenwriter Craig Engler summed up perfectly the film’s enduring charm: “Shaun of the Dead is the movie that made zombies fun again while also classing them up a bit.”

Get Shaun of the Dead now on iTunes or at Amazon.

Steve Coogan leads his demented drama troupe in Hamlet 2

Hamlet 2 | Shakespeare for Dummies

Andrew Fleming’s comedy Hamlet 2 is not a sequel to Shakespeare’s great tragedy, but rather, as Entertainment Weekly puts it, a “dementedly hilarious” comedy with the “riotous beyond-shame theatrics of Steve Coogan unhinged.” Coogan plays Dana Marschz, a former actor—whose prior claim to fame was starring in a national herpes ad—who is finding himself a little lost teaching high school drama in Tucson. Wanting to get his career—and life—back on track, Marschz pens an original musical theater vehicle to show off the special talents of his rag-tag troupe. Unfortunately the show doesn’t go off quite as planned. “The more things fall apart, the funnier the film gets but the ultimate hilarity doesn’t ensue until the final act when we get to see just how funny a sequel to Hamlet can be,” explains CinemaBlend.  

Get Hamlet 2 now on iTunes or at Amazon.

Lauren Anne Miller and Ari Graynor dial up the laughs in For a Good Time, Call...

For A Good Time, Call… | Off the Hook

What starts with a Hollywood premise—two characters who don’t like each are forced to share an apartment and in the end find a special connection—is turned into something far kinkier and funnier in Jamie TravisFor A Good Time, Call… Katie Steele (Ari Graynor) and Lauren Powell (Lauren Anne Miller) are college frenemies who discover the joy of entrepreneurship by running a successful phone sex line together out of their apartment. The film is written with “smutty zingers without compromising the story's scrappy innocence,” exclaims Rolling Stone, adding, “In a rare instance of truth in advertising, the movie actually is a good time.”

Get For A Good Time, Call… now on iTunes or at Amazon.

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell are killer cutups on vacation.

In Bruges | Killing It

Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges  is, in Roger Ebert's words, “an endlessly surprising, very dark, human comedy, with a plot that cannot be foreseen but only relished.” When two hitmen—Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson)—hold up in the fabled medieval town waiting for further instruction, comic chaos ensues. Filled with gory violence, politically incorrect insults, and existential dread—with a bit sightseeing thrown in—In Bruges keeps you gasping either with shock or laughter. In The Guardian, editor Peter Beech calls it “My Favourite Film” for the way “McDonagh won't let the film slide fully into either tragedy or comedy, but keeps it switching between, like a cockney villain trying to maintain his balance on icy cobbles.”

Get In Bruges now on iTunes or at Amazon.

George Clooney and Frances McDormand laugh it up in Burn After Reading.

Burn After Reading | Top Secret Buffoonery

When Joel and Ethan Coen make a spy spoof like Burn After Reading with an all-star cast that includes George ClooneyBrad PittFrances McDormand, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton, things are bound to get a little crazy. When the tell-all memoir of an alcoholic ex-CIA analyst (Malkovich) falls into the hands of a pair of bumbling gym workers (Pitt and McDormand), attempts to sell it set off a chain of events that lead to mayhem, murder, and the discovery of insanely engineered homemade sex machine. It’s no wonder that the CIA sums up the story with the line, “Report back to me, I dunno … when it makes sense.” But the chaos is what makes, according to Newsweek, “this parade of folly so much fun: it feels as if everyone involved is having a high old time, and their enthusiasm is contagious.”

Get Burn After Reading now on iTunes or at Amazon.

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