Some comedies touch the heart, while others stimulate the mind. Most aim to amuse, a few to enlighten. But only one features Jeff Daniels unloading into a toilet for two-minutes straight after drinking a bottle of laxative. When “Dumb and Dumber” premiered 20 years ago, the Farrelly brothers’ raunchy blockbuster pushed cinematic bad taste to the limit, and earned a whopping $247 million worldwide. As its spelling-challenged sequel “Dumb and Dumber To” debuts in theaters on Nov. 14, here’s a look at the sickest, funniest and grossest gross-out comedies of all time.
“Pink Flamingos” (1972)
The inspiring tale of an obese Baltimore transvestite’s quest to earn the title the Filthiest Person Alive, John Waters’ landmark comedy is the pinnacle of bad taste moviemaking. In the 42 years since it first shocked audiences, the film has lost none of its transgressive power. Gleefully celebrating egg fetishism, cannibalism and sex with chickens, it’s the final image of genuine coprophilia that makes “Pink Flamingos” the alpha and omega of gross-outs.
“Blazing Saddles” (1974)
A loving sendup of classic Hollywood Westerns, Mel Brooks’ brilliant satire about a black sheriff in an all-white town has much more than just raunchiness on its mind. And yet, it’s the film’s unforgettable bean-fueled campfire scene that most people instantly recall. That symphony of flatulence earned “Blazing Saddles” the honorable distinction of being the first film from a major studio to include a fart joke. Though frequently imitated, it’s never been topped.
“Animal House” (1978)
Three years into his legendary run on “Saturday Night Live,” John Belushi starred as the ultimate fraternity slob in this National Lampoon classic. Whether drunkenly pouring mustard on his chest, eating Jell-O with his fists or spitting out a mouthful of food while imitating a zit, there was seemingly nothing Belushi wouldn’t do in the name of comedy. Director John Landis kept the gross-out laughs rolling with gags involving vomit and chainsawing a horse in half.
“Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” (1983)
The final film to star all six Python members, this outrageous musical comedy is structured as a series of sketches about the various stages of human life. In the first, a bloody newborn is yanked from its mother’s womb and has its umbilical cord cut with a meat cleaver. A later sequence involves live organ transplants, while the movie’s most famous skit features a morbidly obese man who projectile vomits an entire meal before he literally explodes from overeating.
“Nothing But Trouble” (1991)
Dan Aykroyd co-wrote, directed and starred in this memorably revolting horror comedy about a group of tourists held captive in a nightmarish town by a cast of bizarre mutants. Playing a psychotic 106-year-old judge, Aykroyd’s stomach-churning prosthetic makeup includes, for some unknown reason, a penis for a nose. The scene where he slurps down a meal of thick, gray hotdogs and warm Hawaiian Punch redefines the term gross-out.
“Dumb and Dumber” (1994)
An epic of sheer stupidity, the Farrelly brothers’ directorial debut triggers the gag reflex almost as much as it provokes laughter. Like a fever dream in an outhouse, this tale of two dimwits on a road trip continually finds new and hilarious ways to disgust. From the aforementioned laxative scene, to the sight of Jim Carrey having his talon-like toenails trimmed with an electric saw, “Dumb and Dumber” is a film that speaks to the moronic 10-year-old in all of us.
“There’s Something About Mary” (1998)
Few films combine warmth, humor and dollops of bodily fluid as successfully as the Farrelly brothers’ reinvention of the modern romantic comedy. A critical and commercial hit, the movie opens with the graphic depiction of Ben Stiller’s zipper malfunction, a scene which alone would guarantee it immortal status. Factor in Chris Elliott’s dripping facial sores, Lin Shaye’s sagging prosthetic breasts and Cameron Diaz’s organic hair gel and you’ve got a gross-out masterpiece.
“Scary Movie 2” (2001)
Ostensibly a horror spoof, this vile sequel plays more like a live-action Hustler Magazine cartoon at times, thanks to a non-stop collection of gags involving every form of excretion known to man. In one of cinema’s most nauseating performances, Chris Elliott co-stars as a demented butler whose rancid teeth and swollen pimples are matched only by the misshapen baby-hand attached to his wrist. Best watched on an empty stomach.
“Freddy Got Fingered” (2001)
Riding high on the cult popularity of his MTV talk show, Tom Green wrote, directed and starred in this stunningly grotesque comedy, considered by many to be among the worst ever made. It is likely the only film released by 20th Century Fox to feature the lead actor manually manipulating a horse’s penis while shouting “I’m a farmer!” Green’s one-of-a-kind vanity project achieves a kind of Buñuelian brilliance when he delivers a baby on screen and then chews through its umbilical cord.
“Van Wilder” (2002)
Ryan Reynolds starred as the playboy title character in this sleazy college comedy that’s closer in spirit to the dismal “Porky’s Revenge” than it is to “Animal House.” A catalog of crude sex jokes and scatological humor, “Van Wilder” makes up for in raunch what it lacks in laughs. The charming highlights include a group of fraternity pledges eating pastries filled with bulldog semen and a student publicly defecating into a trash can. A sequel was released four years later starring Kal Penn.
“Jackass: The Movie” (2002)
An anarchic collection of pranks and stunts, each more disgusting than the last, this feature version of the MTV series was considered a risky proposition days before it premiered. Would audiences used to watching the same material for free pay to see it in a theater? Would it work as well on the big screen? All questions were answered when the low-budget comedy earned $22 million in its first weekend. Apparently, eating urine-soaked snow cones translates well into any medium.
“American Wedding” (2003)
It’s a testament to those involved in this third entry in the “American Pie” franchise that the film remains as gentle and subversively sweet as it does, despite one of its stars eating a mouthful of dog poop in graphic close-up. Taking gross to the next level, a scene involving a wedding cake covered in freshly-shorn pubic hair is enough to give any bride-to-be nightmares.
Some have called Sacha Baron Cohen the modern inheritor of Peter Sellers’ comedy mantle, but it’s difficult to imagine the star of “The Pink Panther” nude wrestling with a hairy, corpulent man who’d just been caught masturbating to a photo of Pamela Anderson. This reality-based mockumentary delights in shocking viewers at every turn. Those who stay until the end should be on the lookout for a special “Naked Fight Coordinator” credit in the final crawl.
Proving definitively that a female-driven comedy can be just as rude and raunchy as a male-dominated one, “Bridesmaids” contains the most gut-busting scene of mass diarrhea ever captured on film. A smart, funny, emotionally honest tale of female friendship, it’s the expertly staged food poisoning sequence that sent audiences into fits of hysterics. Like the campfire in “Blazing Saddles,” it’s a moment that, once seen, can never be forgotten.
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” (2013)
If the sight of an old man swinging his taffy-like testicles at a strip club or getting his rubbery manhood caught in a vending machine isn’t your idea of humor, you might want to steer clear of this hidden camera comedy co-written by Oscar winner Spike Jonze. As if that wasn’t gross enough, the unrated version features outtakes involving leaking colostomy bags and breast milk sipped directly from a lactating old woman, played by Jonze in latex drag.
This taboo-obliterating coming-of-age tale elicits shocked laughter by plumbing the very depths of disgust. The story of a hygienically-impaired German teenager whose sexual awakening is complicated by an obsession with her own bodily functions, “Wetlands” is a remarkably sincere effort that never loses sight of its compelling main character. Those able to look beyond the anal shaving accident that sets the plot in motion might be surprised at what they find here.