Top 10 Surprisingly R-Rated Comedies

Script Written by Nick Spake. What do you mean parental guidance is required? Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 comedy movies that surprisingly earned an R-rating. For this list, we’re taking a look at big screen comedies you wouldn’t expect to have an R-rating, but contain enough adult material that the Motion Picture Association of America felt it was necessary to restrict moviegoers under 17 years of age. Also note that as movies may be rated differently in other countries, we’re only considering American ratings here.
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Top 10 Surprisingly R-Rated Comedies


What do you mean parental guidance is required? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 comedy movies that surprisingly earned an R-rating.

For this list, we’re taking a look at big screen comedies you wouldn’t expect to have an R-rating, but contain enough adult material that the Motion Picture Association of America felt it was necessary to restrict moviegoers under 17 years of age. Also note that as movies may be rated differently in other countries, we’re only considering American ratings here.

#10: “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006)

The title, “Little Miss Sunshine,” makes the film sound wholesome enough. The fact that an adorable, nine-year-old Abigail Breslin is practically the star may lead some to infer children are the target audience. Yet, the movie merited an R-rating for casual use of the f-word and mild sexual references. In this day and age, though, what child hasn’t grown up around a little inappropriate language? Compared to most R comedies, this Oscar-winning picture offers plenty of heart, morals, and identifiable characters to appease the whole family.

#9: “The Blues Brothers” (1980)

Had it come out today and cut back on the cussing, “The Blues Brothers” might have been able to score a PG-13 rating. Since there was no middle ground in 1980, however, it was considered unsuitable for the PG crowd. But that didn’t stop younger audiences from seeing, quoting, and idolizing this classiccomedy. Any kid who loves music, humor, and Chicago should be required to watch “Blues Brothers,” although it will teach them several four-letter words. When you’re on a mission from God, not even the MPAA can stop you.

#8: “21 Jump Street” (2012)

Inspired by a corny police procedural series that was primarily marketed to teenagers, you wouldn’t expect a picture with the “21 Jump Street” brand name to contain anything especially hardcore. But the 2012 screen adaptation was no after school special. Shifting the tone from drama to parody, the film certainly earned its R-rating with profanity galore, drug references, and severed penises. This never would have gotten past the TV censors back in late ‘80s, but the reboot did meet Jonah Hill’s vision of an “R-rated, insane, Bad Boys-meets-John Hughes-type movie.”

#7: “The Five-Year Engagement” (2012)

Although the ads made “The Five-Year Engagement” look like a fairly innocent date flick, anybody who’s seen Jason Segel’s other comedies knew that this movie was bound to have some risqué material. When stacked up against “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” this edgy romantic comedy is actually pretty tame. The leading man’s big full frontal scene was cut from the final product, but his manly apron more than compensates for that loss. Plus, Jason simply couldn’t resist shedding a bit of his own skin too, helping to secure the film’s R-rating.

#6: “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983)

You’d think “Vacation” would be geared more towards families seeing how it focuses on a family trip. The Griswolds’ journey to Walley World isn’t exactly child-friendly though - with swear words, occasional nudity, and underage drug use. Nevertheless, kids and parents alike can relate to the film’s satirical approach to hellish car trips where a new calamity awaits around every corner. Since the film hit the scene, raunchy road trips have become a staple of many R comedies. Of course, most of them center on horny college students to avoid confusion.

#5: “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004)

Wes Anderson’s movies are so whimsical that most of them almost appear family-oriented. Regardless, all of his pictures are really more for grown ups, including the ones deemed appropriate for all ages. “The Life Aquatic” submerges itself into adults-only territory due to a topless woman and characters that swear like sailors. Most kids probably wouldn’t understand the film’s offbeat sense of humor anyway. If your 12-year-old is as precocious as the kids Anderson typically depicts in his pictures, though, this quirky comedy will be right up their alley.

#4: “Bridesmaids” (2011)

A lot of dudes had the same exact preordained thought about “Bridesmaids” solely based on its poster: “Chick flick!” While the principal cast mainly consisted of those of the female sex, Kristen Wiig and company strived to prove that chicks could be just as dirty, not to mention as funny, as men. They made their point with a hard R comedy full of ball cupping, hot lava extracting, and tree climbing. While their behavior was far from ladylike, the bridesmaids empowered women everywhere to be as crude as they wish.

#3: “Blazing Saddles” (1974)

People today usually assume that modern comedies take more daring risks than the ones from yesteryear. In our new politically correct world, however, a film like “Blazing Saddles” would never get released even with an R-rating. The movie had zero fear in making light of rape, religion, and racial slurs. That includes the notorious N-word. Then again, it’s not like serious westerns back in those days were PC either, which contributes to the comedy. “Blazing Saddles” was shockingly hilarious back in the 1970s and it still is to this day.

#2: “When Harry Met Sally…” (1989)

Yep, that one movie every woman makes her boyfriend watch is actually R-rated. Sitting through “When Harry Met Sally,” though, you’ll likely find yourself questioning its rating. There isn’t any nudity, violence, or drugs. So why is it restricted? Apparently due to some sex-related conversations and a few deployments of the f-word. Still, when a film’s most graphic orgasm is faked and involves two totally clothed individuals in a public setting, is an R-rating truly warranted? Even if the MPAA says otherwise, young lovers should definitely have what Sally’s having.

Before we sneak into our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Jerk” (1979)
- “Caddyshack” (1980)
- “Heathers” (1988)
- “The Heat” (2013)

#1: “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” (1987)

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” has become a perennial classic that numerous families watch every Thanksgiving. What’s interesting is that this holiday favorite is, in fact, rated R. What’s even more interesting is that the film would have been rated PG had director John Hughes cut a single scene in which Steve Martin unleashes a tirade of f-bombs. Of course, then the movie would have been deprived of one of the cinema’s funniest rants ever. While the film didn’t have to suddenly become foulmouthed, it was totally worth it.

Do you agree with our list? What other R-rated comedies seemed more like PG-13 fare? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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