Monty Python’s Life of Brian - 1979

10 Hilarious Movies That Would Never Pass Today’s Standards

By: Matt

Comedy films are so beloved because they often push the boundaries and reflect the current state of the world. While many comedy flicks are timeless, giving you good laughs no matter how old they get, countless others would never get made today!

That’s the unique thing about humor and what the world finds funny. Culture evolves, and so do the jokes we make every day. What’s humorous today might not get the same laughs a decade into the future. Need more proof about how the audience’s perceptions of what’s funny change over time? Here are ten hilarious movies that would never pass today’s standards. Whether it’s outdated comic observations or offensive humor that no longer reflects today’s culture, these films would cause too much controversy to gain a widespread release today.

1. “White Chicks” (2004)

White Chicks - 2004

The Wayans brothers have been comedy powerhouses since the 1990s, dominating both film and television. This 2004 film features Shawn and Marlon Wayans as two FBI agents who go undercover as white female socialites. It’s a side-splitting film full of over-the-top antics. Even the makeup and costumes alone are hilarious. The makeup artists had to turn two adult black men into two petite white women. The result is like taking a journey through the uncanny valley!

While the film was a huge success, it’s pretty problematic by today’s standards. There are many racial jokes peppered throughout. You also have white characters using racial slurs, harmful stereotypes and just all-around cringy moments that wouldn’t fly today.

2. “Blazing Saddles” (1974)

Blazing Saddles - 1974

This Western comedy stars the incomparable Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little. It’s a classic that many people still enjoy today. At the time of its release, it pushed many buttons and broke countless societal norms. The script is quite clever, but much of the film’s humor relies on shock value. 

As you can imagine, many jokes written over 50 years ago didn’t age well! Some of the worst parts of “Blazing Saddles” include its casual use of racial slurs throughout. The film also trivializes touchy subjects like sexual assault. While it’s still funny, you must watch this film being mindful of how different things were in the 1970s.

3. “Mr. Mom” (1983)

Mr. Mom - 1983

While the biggest issues with the first two films on this list largely revolve around race, the trouble with “Mr. Mom” is its outdated tropes about gender roles. The film is a laugh riot, depicting Michael Keaton’s character going through the ups and downs of raising three young kids.

However, the entire film’s premise revolves around how hopelessly unfit the main character is to be a stay-at-home dad. In the 1980s, the idea that a man would stay home to take care of the kids and handle household chores was unheard of. Most of the jokes are about how utterly clueless the character is.

Today, those gender roles are much less common. While “Mr. Mom” does a great job flipping gender stereotypes, modern audiences would likely struggle to relate to the plot.

4. “Heathers” (1989)

Heathers - 1989

Buckle up! This one’s a doozy! “Heathers” is a cult classic. It’s a widely popular film, regarded as one of the best teen flicks of the 1980s. It even inspired a live musical and a short-lived TV remake. But despite still being a part of modern pop culture, it’s pretty controversial. The TV remake, for example, got the ax before it even aired due to its controversial subject matter.

So, what’s wrong with the “Heathers” movie? The plot focuses on a troubled teen who plots to kill his classmates by bombing the school. Need we say more?

In a world where school shootings and violence are so common, the edgy plot is a little too real for modern audiences.

5. “American Pie” (1999)

American Pie - 1999

Moving on to a more lighthearted romp, we have “American Pie.” The “American Pie” series is a long-running sex-comedy franchise that spawned four official films and four additional spinoffs, the latest of which was released in 2020. The original movie that started it all came out in 1999, and watching it is like stepping into a time machine!

It’s a movie about horny teens and all the stupid mistakes they make! Sure, funny hijinx ensues, and the movie is genuinely hilarious thanks to its now-superstar cast. But many moments will make you pause and reflect on how far we’ve come as a society. 

Some examples? There are scenes of teen boys filming a girl undressing, many moments of sexual harassment and an overall trivialization of the concept of consent. 

6. “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)

Monty Python’s Life of Brian - 1979

Looking back, it’s a surprise that “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” ever got made in the first place. The fact that this film came out in the 1970s and became a cult classic is surprising enough. The Monty Python comedy troupe has a long history of pushing buttons, but this flick continues to be controversial for some.

The movie is about a man born on the same day and next door to Jesus Christ. He’s mistaken for the Messiah, and tons of hilarity ensues. It’s a masterclass in religious satire. But as you can imagine, being so cavalier with religion and making jokes about things that some people find sacred ruffles feathers. Many countries banned the movie, and many still talk about its controversies today.

7. “The Toy” (1982)

The Toy - 1982

“The Toy” is an interesting movie that came out in the early 1980s. Its inspiration was a French film with a similar concept. But in its Hollywood retelling, filmmakers made some head-scratching choices.

The plot revolves around a rich white family who owns a department store. The father tells his young son he can have anything he wants in the toy department. What does he choose? A black janitor! The white store owner then pays the black janitor to spend a week entertaining his young son.

Do you see why this movie would never get greenlit today? The film’s star, Richar Pryor, is hilarious and even mentions the concept of slavery in the movie. While funny, it’s just bad optics today.

8. “Borat” (2006)

Borat - 2006

“Borat” is a mockumentary-style comedy film that stars Sascha Baron Cohen as a journalist from Kazakhstan who visits the United States to make a documentary. The character of Borat is so ridiculous and over the top, but he’s also a caricature of Middle Eastern people. 

The movie is full of awful stereotypes that, even then, offended entire nations! But that’s not all. The movie also pokes fun at feminists, conservatives, liberals, Christians, southerners, and more. No one is safe! 

What makes “Borat” so funny is that the filmmakers took a guerilla-style approach to creating the movie. While many scenes were scripted, people getting interviewed often didn’t realize that they were the subject of a comedy movie.

9. “Scary Movie” (2000)

Scary Movie - 2000

“Scary Movie” started a franchise that parodies iconic films and pop culture. The first movie stars Anna Faris as a parody of Sidney Prescott, Nev Campbell’s character in “Scream.” The movie is a comedic retelling of the “Scream” flick while also spoofing other recognizable films of the 1990s.

A lot is going on in this movie, and it’s full of potty humor. It’s basically 90 minutes of fart jokes and crude humor! While many parts are still hilarious, it won’t take long during a rewatch to spot all the moments that would never fly today. Racial humor, non-subtle homophobia, ableism and more make “Scary Movie” far too outdated for today’s standards.

10. “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (1994)

Ace Ventura Pet Detective - 1994

Last but not least, we have this Jim Carrey-led comedy. You would expect a flick like “Ace Ventura” to be on this list. It launched Jim Carrey into superstardom, and there’s much to love about the actor’s antics. However, looking at the movie through a modern lens reveals some problems.

The movie is rife with transphobia and doesn’t handle concepts of gender identity too well. At the film’s end, the female detective Lois is revealed to be the antagonist, Ray Finkle. Because Ace Ventura kissed Lois earlier in the movie, he reacts with disgust and horror. While far from the only moment of cinematic transphobia, it’s a twist that would cause tons of controversy today.

Viewing Outdated Comedies Through a Modern Lens

There you have it! Comedy is a genre that’s always pushing buttons. Comedic actors and filmmakers lean on shock value and controversial humor to get laughs. While these flicks did well during their respective eras, they would never fly in today’s landscape.

Don’t get us wrong: These movies are still full of laughs today. But it’s important to be mindful of when they were made and how the world’s changed since. They’re like a time capsule of a different time, reminding us of past views and sensibilities.