Top 10 Side-Splitting, Must-See Spanish Comedy Movies for Adults
What hits the sweet spot for all of us Spanish language learners, including you? Hilarious Spanish movies that put you in a great mood and teach you valuable words and phrases! Oh yes, it’s the best of both worlds, where education and entertainment unite and get as cozy as you are on your couch—let’s dive into some seriously funny “edutainment.” As you know, watching Spanish movies dramatically improves your listening skills, significantly boosts your vocabulary knowledge, and it gives you a taste of different Spanish accents (which is pretty fascinating).
Are you ready for belly laughs so heavy they knock you to the floor? You’re about to enter the realm of Spanish comedies where nobody comes out alive… or at least, without a belly ache or sore cheeks from laughing. We’ve got uproarious, gut-busting movies from Spain, Argentina, and Mexico. Let’s check out our list of the top 10 side-splitting, must-see Spanish comedy movies!
One more thing: make sure you click on the Spanish subtitles for some extra support, or if your wild side is taking over today, turn them off altogether!
Hilarious Spanish Movies
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios) – 1988
Let’s start with a classic from the most recognized Spanish director of our time, Pedro Almodóvar. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown gave Almodóvar his first Oscar nomination, and it single-handedly launched Antonio Banderas’s career. Not bad for a farcical comedy.
The whole movie takes place in a single apartment home. A pregnant actress that plans to overdose on sleeping pills gets frustrated by her best friend, who is a fugitive in need of a place to stay. This Spanish film is hilarious, intense, and fast-paced. You will need to really pay attention, as dialogues sometimes are hard to understand even for native Spanish speakers.
Toc Toc – 2017
A group of patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Trastorno Obsesivo Compulsivo (TOC) in Spanish, get their appointments with a famous doctor mixed-up and set at the same time. They all end up waiting together for the expert therapist, whose flight is delayed. You can just imagine what a mess that waiting room becomes. This was one of the most celebrated Spanish films of the last few years.
Here we have a good example of how literal translations don’t always work:
Disorder ≠ Desorden
Yes “disorder” could be translated as desorden, in both languages the term means a lack of order. But when you use the word “disorder” as a medical term, its translation in Spanish is trastorno. Make sure to check out our post on false cognates to learn more similar words with different meanings.
Disorder = Trastorno
Off Course (Perdiendo el Norte) – 2015
Two overeducated Spaniard professionals decide to try the “German dream” and emigrate to Berlin. It doesn’t take them long to discover that life in Germany isn’t as amazing as described by the TV show that convinced them to go there in the first place.
This Spanish film is a light comedy that explores topics of immigration, youth unemployment, and language barriers a person can find in a different country. A subject we’re very interested in.
Spanish Affair (Ocho Apellidos Vascos) – 2014
Rafa is a boy from the Spanish southern region of Andalucía and falls in love with Amaia, a girl from the Basque Country in the north of Spain. He follows Amaia to her hometown and pretends to be a proper Basque boy with all his 8 Basque surnames (8 Apellidos Vascos) included.
An intelligent and funny Spanish film that digs deep into the cultural differences you can find between the different Spanish regions.
Uproarious Argentinian Movies
Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) – 2014
This Argentinian satire is a complex film that consists of six different shorts with vengeance and violence as the unifying theme. The laughs in this movie come from unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable moments, as in every good dark comedy. The movie was acclaimed by the critics and won several international awards. Produced by the Almodóvar brothers and starring Argentinian legend Ricardo Darín is a must-see Latin American film.
The title of this movie gives us the opportunity to learn a couple of things. First, the word “tale” in English is usually translated as cuento in Spanish. However, cuento has a childish connotation most of the time (as in fairy-tale). For example, this movie could have never been called “Cuentos Salvajes.”
On the other hand, the term relato offers a wider range of possibilities such as tale, story, account, relation, and even short story.
The Distinguished Citizen (El Ciudadano Ilustre) – 2016
This Argentinian/Spanish film also explores the cultural shocks that every emigré confronts sooner or later. An Argentinian writer who has lived in Spain for decades wins the Nobel Prize for Literature and goes back to his hometown in Argentina to be recognized by his own people. Things don’t go as planned, as he re-discovers why he left in the first place.
At one point in the film, the writer tells the people of his hometown:
“Hubo una tribu salvaje en África en cuyo lenguaje no existía la palabra libertad. ¿Saben por qué? Porque eran libres.”
“Once, there was a wild tribe in Africa where the word freedom didn’t exist in their language. Do you know why? Because they were free.”
It is a beautiful quote, but let’s focus on the double meaning of free in Spanish.
“Free” can be translated as libre, as in this case:
This person is free. – Esta persona es libre.
However, “free” can also be translated as gratis (free of charge):
Buy one and get one free. – Compra uno y llévate uno gratis.
Gust-Busting Mexican Films
The Perfect Dictatorship (La Dictadura Perfecta) – 2014
The title refers to a phrase coined by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa who described Mexico as “the perfect dictatorship”. This Nobel Prize winner was referring to the country’s political system that managed to balance a lack of democracy and liberties, without suffering social unrest for several decades.
The movie is a satirical representation of this system and it shows in hilarious ways the absurdity of the whole thing. A television corporation being the “power behind the power”, and the political actors being nothing else but puppets of the all-powerful TV network.
Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mom Too) – 2001
A classic Mexican comedy that launched the Hollywood careers of Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón, as well as Mexican actors Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal. This road movie can be seen as a drama or a comedy, depending on your point of view. But one thing is for sure, it will definitely make you laugh.
If anything else, Y Tu Mamá También is the perfect window into the deep world of Mexican slang. It can be challenging to understand many of the dialogues in this film, as they are filled with terms that you most likely haven’t studied yet, since Slang in Latin America varies greatly from one country to the next. Here are a few slang words you’ll find in this film:
Güey — Dude
Chido(a) — Cool, nice, good
La neta — The truth (in a quasi-mystical sense)
La neta es chida pero inalcanzable.
The truth is cool but unattainable.
Instructions Not Included (No se Aceptan Devoluciones) – 2013
Holy Camp! (La Llamada) – 2017
Spanish film about a catholic camp for teenagers. What could go wrong?
This is our selection of best comedies in Spanish for you. Next time you feel like watching a comedy film, remember that you can improve your Spanish while doing so, and maybe you´ll pick some pieces of new vocabulary as we did here. For example, now that you have learned the two meanings of “free” in Spanish, why don’t you give it a try to our clase gratis (free class) and practice your new vocabulary with us?
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