8. Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007)
TV: Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean’s Holiday was not the first theatrical outing for iconic British TV character Mr. Bean, but it boasts the heart and warmth of the character that seemed somewhat missing from the Bean movie of 10 years prior, which gives this particular list entry a wholesome feel.
The muted Mr. Bean has long suffered a Marmite-like quality, splitting audiences between adoration and absolute contempt, but his second movie offers enough drama and pathos to override what is often the excruciating and off-putting farce that always trails behind our star.
After winning a holiday in a church raffle, Rowan Atkinson’s Bean travels to France in the hope of enjoying the glorious beaches of the Riviera, but instead accidentally kidnaps the son of one of the Cannes Film Festival’s judges. Thus ensues a series of slapstick routines across the gorgeous French countryside.
This is the only family friendly flick on this list (confirming the myth of the dark and twisted sense of humour that the British famously have), but it’s also one of the most charming. Bar a few TV appearances (and a significant role in the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony), this is one of Bean’s last outings, and it really is one of his best with the silliest and sweetest sequences to boot.
Just as in the case of Charlie Chaplin, Britain has given the world a character that can traverse national and linguistic barriers and reach out to all ages with the most flawless execution of the most basic fundamentals of comedy.
7. Brüno (2009)
TV: Da Ali G Show
If you thought Sacha Baron Cohen couldn’t sink to any lower level of depravity than what he achieved in Borat, then oh boy, you’ve got a big storm coming your way.
Brüno, the flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista, is actually one of Cohen’s oldest creations, often specialising in interviewing gay conversion therapists on ‘Da Ali G Show’. His movie follows his attempts to become world famous (after a velcro-suit faux pas at a fashion show) by going to L.A., and in the tradition of most of the films on this list showcases a wide range of puerile and offensive humour.
What sets Brüno apart from Cohen’s other films is the focus on his merciless piss-taking of celebrity culture, satirising the lengths people will go to to become famous (oh, how annoyingly still relevant). Successive set-pieces will have audiences half screaming and half-laughing from unending controversy, whether it be meat-spinning in front of TV network chiefs or a grossly insensitive attempt at Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution.
At the very least, audiences can bask in the glory of Cohen’s massive balls as he quite literally dices with death on several occasions, including nearly taking a tossed metal chair to the head during a homoerotic MMA fight.
This. Is. Art.
Recommended for you: 5 British and Irish Films That Don’t Bury Their Gays
6. The Inbetweeners 2 (2014)
TV: The Inbetweeners
The Inbetweeners 2 is still the freshest movie on this list. The critically acclaimed E4 sitcom was very much the sitcom of the “millennials”, so of course its popularity demanded an immediate transition to the silver screen. It’s the second film that stands out more boldly among the two feature entries, with Will, Simon, Jay and Neil finding themselves “Down Under”.
This is not the only film on the list that showcases a wide spectrum of controversial and vulgar humour, but as modern British TV comedy comes under the most fierce scrutiny regarding offensive content, the more lewd gags of the film only succeed in setting audiences’ teeth on edge. Still, a quick dismissal of The Inbetweeners 2 because of its alleged insensitivity would be totally unjust as it would be overlooking the fact that ‘The Inbetweeners’ has always provided biting social commentary.
The show and movies have always been a hymn to Middle England Adolescence, with its unflattering yet accurate depiction of the mediocrity of often humiliating British teenage life. For any northerner who attended a Russell Group University, The Inbetweeeners 2 gives a perfect representation of the frustration and anger of experiencing elitism for the first time: “They’re not countercultural, they actually scream ‘Oh, I’ve got a trust fund!’ so get a normal haircut, you unbearable prick.”
There’s a scene in which Will gets covered in poo – so it’s definitely worth the watch if you want to laugh and wretch at the same time.